Clemson - Minnesota Game Notes

Clemson has a 5-2 record in the ACC vs. Big Ten Challenge. Only Duke (7-0) and Wake Forest (6-1) have a better record.

• Wednesday evening's game against Minnesota will be the 100th for Oliver Purnell as the head coach at Clemson.

• This will be the second time Minnesota coach Dan Monson has coached against Clemson. He guided Gonzaga to a victory over a fifth ranked Clemson team in November of 1998 in the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska.

• Clemson has won its first seven games for the second straight year. The Tigers won their first 11 games last year. This is the third time in the last 10 years Clemson has won its first seven of the season.

• K.C. Rivers is the only Clemson player to score in double figures in every game so far this season. He has done it without starting a single game.

• Clemson senior point guard Vernon Hamilton now has 214 steals in his career and just 199 fouls. He has 13 steals and just six fouls this year. Hamilton has a 15/5 assist/turnover ratio for the last 4 games.

• Clemson has won a record seven games in the month of November. The previous record was six November wins in 1998.

• Cliff Hammonds scored 20 points to lead Clemson in scoring in the 69-66 win over Mississippi State. It was his first 20-point scoring game since he had 21 against Wake Forest on January 11, 2006. It was the fifth 20-point scoring game of his career.

• Through games of November 26, Clemson was ranked 14th in the Sagarin computer poll. Clemson, Maryland, Illinois, Oklahoma State and Michigan were the only schools in the nation with 7 wins.

• Clemson has a 5-2 record in the ACC vs. Big Ten Challenge. Only Duke (7-0) and Wake Forest (6-1) have a better record.

• Clemson has a 1-4 record against Minnesota. This is the first meeting between the two schools since the 1997 NCAA Tournament when Minnesota won in double overtime, 90-84, in a third round game in San Antonio.

• Clemson 6-9 forward James Mays is second in the ACC in assists with 20 in seven games. He leads the Tiger team in that category. He has had at least two steals in every game this year.

• Clemson has had a positive turnover margin in six of the first seven games this year.

• K.C. Rivers, Clemson's leading scorer with a 13.1 average, has made 18 of his last 30 shots from the field, including 9 of his last 18 from long range.

• Trevor Booker has blocked at least one shot in every game this year, including 10 over the last three games combined. He is second among freshmen in the ACC in reounding.

• Point guard Vernon Hamilton has a 15/5 assist/turnover ratio over his last four games.

Clemson vs. Minnesota Series
This will be the sixth meeting between Minnesota and Clemson. The Golden Gophers have a 4-1 lead in the series that dates to the 1974-75 season. Minnesota won the first meeting by a 66-52 score on December 28, 1974 in the finals of the Pillsbury Holiday Classic at the Met Center in Bloomington, MN. So, this will be Clemson's third trip to play Minnesota in Minnesota, but just the second time Clemson has been to Williams Arena.

The first meeting between the two teams featured three future first-round NBA draft choices at the center or power forward position. Clemson had sophomore center Tree Rollins, who would be a first-round pick of the Atlanta Hawks in 1977, while Minnesota featured Mychal Thompson and Mark Olberding. Thompson was a freshman that year who went on to be the number-one pick of the Portland Trailblazers in 1978, while Olberding was the first pick of the San Antonio Spurs in 1975.

Minnesota's frontline got the best of Clemson's as the Gophers out-rebounded Clemson 29-19 in the low scoring game. Clemson made 52 percent from the field, but attempted just three free throws. Minnesota made 20-21 from the line, still the best free throw percentage against Clemson in history, given a minimum of 15 attempts. Rollins led the Tigers with 12, while Van Gregg had 10. Clemson played the game without first-team All- ACC guard Skip Wise, who had a sprained ankle.

Nearly 20 years later Clemson had another first-round draft pick at center. Sharone Wright was a junior in 1993-94 and he went on to be the number-six pick of the NBA draft at the end of that season the highest drafted player in Clemson history. Wright had 15 points and eight rebounds to lead Clemson, but the Tigers made just 1-22 three-point shots, the worst single game three-point shooting percentage in Clemson history given a minimum of 15 attempts. Voshon Leonard led Minnesota with 19 points.

Clemson's only win in the series took place during the 1995-96 season at Clemson. It was Clemson's first win over a Big Ten team in 15 years. The Tigers had five players in double figures, including three freshmen in a 79-66 win over Minnesota. Terrell McIntyre led the way with 14 points. Clemson had just seven turnovers and forced 17. Current NBA player Greg Buckner had 10 points to help the Tiger freshmen, who accounted for 52 of Clemson's 79 points.

The two teams played twice the following year, 1996-97. Both games were played on neutral sites. The Gophers won in the finals of the San Juan Shootout by a 75-65 score. That was a battle of top 25 teams as Clemson was 10 th and Minnesota 24th entering the game. That was Clemson's only loss over the first 17 games that year. McIntrye led Clemson with 23 points.

The two teams then met in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in San Antonio. Minnesota won 90-84 in double overtime behind 36 points by Bobby Jackson and 29 by Sam Jacobson. Minnesota was a number-one seed and ranked third in the nation overall entering that 1997 NCAA Tournament.

Greg Buckner led Clemson with 22 points, while McIntyre had 17. Clemson's Tony Christie hit a shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime tied at 72. The Tigers had a six-point lead in the first overtime but could not hold on. Clemson has not been to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament since then.

Clemson Travels to Historic Williams Arena
Clemson will travel to historic Williams Arena for the second time in its history when the Tigers face Minnesota on Wednesday night. Clemson is 0-1 lifetime in the facility, which first opened in 1928. Clemson's only previous appearance came in the 1993-94 season, Sharone Wright's junior (and final) year, when Minnesota came away with a 73-54 victory. That game was played on December 15, 1993.

Williams Arena holds 14,625 fans and is named in honor of Dr. Henry Williams, the Minnesota football coach from 1900 to 1921. It used to hold 18,025 fans for basketball and was the largest capacity in college basketball between 1950-71. It was the site of the 1951 Final Four. It was reduced to 14,625 during a renovation. The entire complex houses the basketball and hockey programs at Minnesota. Top Stories