Clemson ACC Tournament Notebook

TAMPA, Fla. – Depending on which statistics the 10-member NCAA Tournament committee think are most important will determine whether or not the Clemson will receive an at-large berth in this year's Big Dance.

Odds are the committee will look at the 4-10 record by the Tigers over their last 14 games and the 3-8 record over their last 11. If they do, it will likely end all hopes they have of making the tournament.

However, many still feel that Florida State, which beat Clemson in the first round of the ACC Tournament Thursday afternoon, still has to beat No. 1 seed North Carolina Friday to earn an at-large berth.

But despite the win by the Seminoles, Clemson still has a higher RPI and overall record, as well as owning the season series two games to one.

"You fear (not being invited)," Tigers coach Oliver Purnell said. "We've done enough to be in the NCAA Tournament, but you fear that and you want to win as many games as you can. If we would have won today and lost tomorrow, that would have been a fear, but in my opinion, we've don enough to get in."

An unscientific poll of national media conducted by revealed they believe the Tigers still have about a 15-20 percent chance of still getting to the NCAA Tournament.

Now, all Clemson can do is sweat it out until the bids are made Sunday evening.

"Some people might say we're in and some people might say we're not," forward James Mays said. "We just have to wait and see. Hopefully we'll get in there somewhere. I just hope we get in there somewhere."

Groundhog Day
Like the movie where Billy Murray plays a character that relives Groundhog Day over and over again, the Tigers had a flashback to their scoreless ways in the closing minutes of game.

Against the Seminoles, Clemson went scoreless over the final 4:03 and blew a five-point lead.

It marks the sixth game this season they've hit a major scoring drought to close a game. Moreover, all six of those games have come in the last 10.

Clemson is 1-5 in those six games.

Booker is a beast
Tigers forward Trevor Booker made one heck of a showing in his first-ever ACC Tournament.

The freshman from Whitmire, S.C., had 18 points on 9-of-14 shooting and nine rebounds, five of which were offensive. He also had four blocks and an assist with no turnovers.

And of those nine baskets, six of them were thunderous dunks.

It was all Florida State could do just to make him miss those five shots.

Booker said he was trying to be as aggressive as possible.

"Every time I got the ball, I tried to dunk it," he said. "I knew they would either block the shot or foul me."

Not bad for someone who said he had butterflies all week. He also said it was one of the two best games he's played all season. Booker said his 19-point and eight-rebound game against Wofford was the other.

Bad stats
Clemson is now 13-41 in first round games in the ACC Tournament. Those 41 losses are more than what Duke and North Carolina have for total tournament losses.

The Tigers haven't won two tournament games since 1962, the year they went to the finals and eventually lost to a Wake Forest team led by Billy Packer.

Clemson is now 14-57 all-time in league tournament games.

Pick and pop
James Mays scored his first point of the game with 12:17 left to play after sinking the second of two free throw attempts. He finished with three points. … K.C. Rivers didn't score his first points until 1:28 left in the first half. He finished with nine for the game. …

Rivers had a career-high 10 rebounds. … Junior Cliff Hammonds had a season-high five turnovers. He entered the game with a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. The five turnovers are the most for him since his freshman year. …

Clemson shot 59.3 percent from the field in the first half and still trailed 38-36. … In the first half, the two teams combined to miss 24 shots. However, there were 12 offensive rebounds.

Clemson Player of the Game: Trevor Booker
Booker was nearly unstoppable offensively and did a very good job defensively. He finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and an assist with no turnovers. The true freshman played like a senior and his future looks extremely bright.

Turning Point: With the ball, and up 66-61 with 3:17 left to play, James Mays missed a left-handed layup that was partially guarded. After missing the layup, Toney Douglas pushed the ball against three Clemson defenders. Realizing he didn't have the advantage, he stopped on the left wing, just beyond the three-point line to wait for the rest of his team to arrive. However, when all three Tiger defenders continued toward the basket, which left Douglas unguarded, he promptly drained the 3-point shot to cut the lead to 66-64.

Quote to Note: "You're kind of numb when you leave the court and the disappointment starts to set in when you get into the locker room," Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell on what immediately went through his mind as he was walking off the court. Top Stories