Tigers Enter Heart of ACC Schedule

CLEMSON -- Knowing what to do to ensure a win against Wake Forest is rather easy. The problem is actually doing it. And what Clemson has to do isn't exactly a simple task.

WHAT: Wake Forest vs. Clemson
WHEN: 7 p.m., Wednesday
WHERE: Littlejohn Coliseum

The three things Tiger players say they have to accomplish Wednesday night is limit the touches of shooting guard Justin Gray, limit the touches of forward Eric Williams, and rebound on both ends of the court. However, doing any of those things, let alone all three, is going to be very difficult.

Gray, a senior, is fourth in the ACC in scoring, averaging 17.8 points per game and Williams, also a senior, is 11th in the league in scoring at 15.9 points per game. The Demon Deacons even have a third big-time scorer in Trent Strickland, who is averaging 13.2 points. All three average more than any one for Clemson.

"We definitely want to limit Gray from getting hot because we all know he's a shooter," said Tigers forward Sam Perry. "He showed that last year here.

"Williams is a big, strong guy who can obviously score in bunches. Both of the guys can score in bunches, so you've got to contain them."

The other problem Williams and Strickland present for Clemson is their ability to rebound. Strickland is fifth in the ACC averaging 8.0 rebounds per game, while Williams is eighth at 7.8 per game.

And just like there are three good scorers for Wake Forest, there are three good rebounders. Kyle Visser is 19th in the league in crashing the boards with 5.9 per game.

Getting the missed shots on both sides is a must and has to be a total team effort. Just look at Saturday's game against Virginia, where the Tigers were out-rebounded by 18 and lost the game. Against Florida State, Clemson had 14 more and the Tigers won.

"We definitely need to have our guards rebounding," Clemson center Akin Akingbala said. "We have to keep their big guys off the boards and give our guards a chance to get the long rebounds."

Clemson coach Oliver Purnell believes this such a critical part for his team that the Tigers have been doing rebounding drill after rebounding drill.

"After that poor effort on the rebound job we did (against Virginia), we've been stressing it in practice ... to gang rebound and complete the job," Perry said. "You can play good defense, but they can get another chance and a new clock."

And the last thing the Tigers want to do is give Gray, Williams or Strickland another chance to score.

Wake Forest (11-3 overall, 0-1 ACC)
PG 2 Shamaine Dukes (6-1, 175) 1.2 ppg, 0.9 rpg
G 1 Justin Gray (6-2, 194) 17.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg
C 31 Eric Williams (6-9, 280) 15.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg
F 55 Kyle Visser (6-11, 244) 8.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg
F 33 Trent Strickland (6-5, 216) 13.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg

Clemson (12-3 overall, 1-1 ACC)
PG 3 Vernon Hamilton (6-0, 195) 11.9 ppg, 3.6 apg
G 25 Cliff Hammonds (6-3, 197) 9.1 ppg, 3.1 apg
C 33 Akin Akingbala (6-9, 240) 9.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg
F 32 Sam Perry (6-5, 208) 7.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg
G 22 Shawan Robinson (6-2, 180) 11.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg

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