Tigers Aim For Rivalry Win

CLEMSON – It was Clemson's trip to Columbia two years ago that produced the first road win for coach Oliver Purnell with the Tigers. While that may not seem like a big deal, beating South Carolina there meant a lot more than getting that first win at a small school.

WHAT: Clemson vs. South Carolina
WHEN: 1 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: Colonial Center
TV: FSN South

Game Notes

"Anytime you beat South Carolina on the road, it's significant," Purnell said. "It's just very tough to win on the road with young guys."

Purnell has taken that first win two years ago and over the course of time help mold the Tigers (8-0) into a team that now appears very comfortable playing away from Littlejohn Coliseum.

Already in this young season, half of Clemson's wins have come on the road, with the latest coming Wednesday night at Minnesota.

"I feel very good about this team on the road, off the road and at home," junior forward James Mays said. "When you have games on the road, you know it's going to be a dogfight.

"We've struggled with that in the past."

Getting that right mentality and feeling comfortable outside the confines of Littlejohn Coliseum has taken time, but Purnell said the Tigers have adapted to the road better because they have matured as a team.

Even sophomore K.C. Rivers understands there's a different mindset a player has to enter a game with on the road.

"You have to get yourself equipped for a different atmosphere," he said. "We kind of feel comfortable right now, but we have to be well prepared and understand the severity of the rivalry."

Getting a win at South Carolina (4-1) Saturday isn't going to be easy. Strange things tend to happen in rivalry games.

"There's nothing quite like an instate rivalry with South Carolina," guard Vernon Hamilton said. "A lot of players are going to step up for the game and play better than they usually do."

But even if the Gamecocks have a player or two rise to the occasion, Mays if fully confident he and his teammates can handle it, especially if they continue to play the way have in the past on the road.

"When we come to play, we can play," he said. "When we're on top of our game, our defense is incredible. I just think we've got a hell of a team."

Clemson (8-0)
G 3 Vernon Hamilton (6-0, 195) 11.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg
G 25 Cliff Hammonds (6-3, 197) 10.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg
C 35 Trevor Booker (6-7, 215) 9.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg
F 32 Sam Perry (6-5, 208) 5.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg
F 44 James Mays (6-9, 222) 11.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg

South Carolina (4-1)
G 1 Tre Kelley (6-2, 175) 16.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg
G 5 Brandis Raley-Ross (6-2, 195) 12.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg
C 33 Brandon Wallace (6-9, 203) 11.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg
F 4 Bryce Sheldon (6-4, 196) 8.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg
F 21 Dominique Archie (6-7, 208) 8.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg

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