NCAA Hopes on Life Support

So many times this season, the question surrounding the Clemson basketball team is how will it respond following a heartbreaking loss.

WHAT: Clemson vs. No. 17 Boston College
WHEN: 8 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: Conte Forum (8,606)
TV: Jefferson Pilot

So many times this season, the question surrounding the Clemson basketball team is how will it respond following a heartbreaking loss.

More times than not, the answer has been, not too good.

The Tigers responded well following it's shocking home loss to Elon by beating Florida State in the first game of ACC play. However, following last second defeats to Duke and N.C. State, Clemson followed with poor performances and lost each time.

"We got back to practice (Thursday) with some determined energy," Tigers head coach Oliver Purnell said. "We've got to have that again (Friday) to have any opportunity to go up and beat Boston College."

Following Clemson's overtime loss to Virginia Tech Wednesday, Purnell told his team that it can either stay down and wither away down the stretch or that it can come out fighting and keep that drive to win.

But Purnell knows that it's going to be difficult for them to maintain that competitive edge.

"It's tough because we dropped a gut-wrenching game against Virginia Teach the other night, and any time you lose some tight games, or three or four in a row, confidence becomes an issue," he said. "Our message is that you can't fold up, and I hope they're internalizing it. It's an important mindset that if we work at it we can get over the hump here."

Making matters even more difficult is the fact that the Tigers are playing at the No. 17 Boston College.

Oddly enough, the Eagles lost their three games in the ACC this year. However, since then, Boston College has found its winning ways.

"They certainly are hitting their stride and living up to preseason expectations," Purnell said. "What makes them so good is the wealth of experience they have. ...

"They're an outstanding, deep basketball team. (Tyrese) Rice, their freshman point guard, has been doing an outstanding job for them of late. Any time you prepare for B.C., you've got to be concerned with Craig Smith and Jared Dudley."

However, one factor playing into Clemson's favor is that Boston College very rarely blow teams out. Nearly all their games are within 10 points.

That means the Tigers should be within striking distance in the closing minutes.

And who knows, maybe this time things will go their way, which is sorely needed at this point.

"I'd love to see us be in a close game with them on their home court," Purnell said. "And getting a win would be a much-needed boost for us, a great jump-start to finish out the year."

Clemson (14-9 overall, 3-7 ACC)
G 3 Vernon Hamilton (6-0, 195) 12.6 ppg, 3.3 apg
G 25 Cliff Hammonds (6-3, 197) 9.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg
C 33 Akin Akingbala (6-9, 240) 10.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg
F 1 K.C. Rivers (6-5, 210) 7.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg
F 12 Raymond Sykes (6-9, 205) 1.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg

Boston College (18-5 overall, 6-4 ACC)
G 11 Louis Hinnant (6-4, 190) 6.7 ppg, 4.3 apg
G 23 Sean Marshall (6-6, 212) 12.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg
C 32 John Oates (6-10, 255) 3.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg
F 3 Jared Dudley (6-7, 225) 17.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg
F 1 Craig Smith (6-7, 250) 16.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg Top Stories