Clemson - Mississippi State Game Notes

Oliver Purnell earned his 50th win as Clemson head coach with the 79-49 victory over Appalachian State last Friday. He is in his fourth season as Clemson head coach.

• Tuesday evening's game will be the first of three regular season games against SEC teams. This is the first time since 1968-69 that Clemson has played three SEC teams in the regular season against teams that were in the SEC at the time of the game. Clemson opened that season against Auburn, Alabama and LSU.

• Oliver Purnell is 3-3 against SEC teams since he became Clemson head coach in 2003-04 and is 7- 7 in his 19-year head coaching career.

• Clemson has jumped out to a 5-0 start for just the third time in the last 10 years. Clemson opened 11- 0 last year to tie for its second best start in school history, and was 9-0 to open the 2002-03 season.

• Clemson is coming off a 30-point victory against Appalachian State last Friday evening. K.C. Rivers came off the bench to score a career high 24 points, including a career high six three-point goals to lead Clemson to the victory.

• Rivers has not started a game, but has been in double figures in all five games so far this season, the only Clemson player who can make that claim.

• This is the second all-time meeting between Clemson and Mississippi State on the basketball court. The Tigers won the first meeting 59-32 in Houston, TX in December of 1981. That game was played at Hofheinz Pavilion in the consolation game of the Christmas Kettle Classic.

• Freshman Trevor Booker had his best offensive game of his young career in the win over Appalachian State. The native of Union, SC scored 15 points in just 21 minutes thanks to 7-9 field goal shooting. He also had four dunks, four rebounds and three blocked shots. Booker leads the Clemson and is eighth in the ACC in FG% at .676.

• Vernon Hamilton has 15 assists this season and needs just six to reach 300 for his career. He just went over the 300 mark in career rebounds last week and now has 304 for his career.

• Clemson starting forward Sam Perry missed the second half against Appalachian State with a mild concussion, but he is expected to return for the Mississippi State game on Tuesday evening.

• Mississippi State enters Tuesday's game with a 2-1 record. All three of the contests have been at home, victories over Nicholls and Loyola Marymount, and a 74-63 loss to Winthrop.

• Mississippi State won 15 games last year, but had won at least 20 games in each of the four previous years.

Clemson 5-0 for Second Straight Year
Clemson has jumped out to a 5-0 start for the second consecutive year, but just the third time in the last 10 years. Clemson was 11-0 to open last season and was 9-0 to start the 2002-03 campaign, but those are the only starts of at least 5-0 since 1996-97. Clemson starting power forward James Mays has a streak of his own going.

The junior forward has played in 16 consecutive Clemson victories. He was a common denominator in all 11 wins to open last season, then had to sit out the rest of the season for academic years. He has started all five wins so far this year.

Clemson vs. Mississippi State Series
This will be the second meeting between Clemson and Mississippi State on the hardcourt. The Tigers won the previous meeting 59-32 in December of 1981 in the consolation round of the Christmas Kettle Classic in Houston, TX. The Tigers lost to Iowa in the first round of that tournament and Mississippi State lost to host school Houston and a young freshman center named Akeem Olajuwon.

Clemson held just a 20-15 lead at halftime in the game that was played without a three-point line and without a shot clock. Clemson then won the second half by a 39-17 margin. Vincent Hamilton, no relation to current Clemson guard Vernon Hamilton, led the Tigers with 12 points and seven rebounds, while senior center Horace Wyatt added 11 on 5-8 shooting. Freshman Joe Ward was the only other Tiger in double figures with 10. No Mississippi State player scored in double figures in the game. Jeff Malone, a future NBA player, was held to four points on 2-9 shooting for Coach Bob Boyd's tearm.

Clemson held Mississippi State to just 32 points in the game, the second fewest points by a Tiger opponent in the last 26 years. The only scoring defense by a Clemson team that is better since the 1980-81 season is the 28 points scored by Wofford in a 77-28 Clemson win in 1995-96.

Clemson and Mississippi State both competed in the 2005 San Juan Shootout, but did not play each other so there is some familiarity on the part of the two coaching staffs with the opposing team.

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