Experienced Tigers Travel to Duke

CLEMSON – Oliver Purnell doesn't think or worry about the screwy clock situation that occurred at Duke last year.

WHAT: No. 24 Clemson (14-3, 2-1 ACC) at No. 7 Duke
WHERE: Cameron Indoor Stadium
WHEN: 6:00 p.m., Saturday
SPREAD: Duke by 9

He's too focused on this season and exactly what it would mean for the Clemson basketball team to win tonight at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

As matter of fact, the Tiger players are doing their best to not let last year alter their play and mindset for this game. They understand it's a brand new opportunity to get a major and benchmark win in the ACC.

"This is a different ball club and we're a more experienced ball club," said junior guard K.C. Rivers. "Of course it's something that we'll never forget, but we've got to put it behind us and move and look forward to the future and what's at hand now."

For those that need a refresher course, the Tigers trailed by five points with time winding down when point guard Vernon Hamilton converted a two-point basket to trim the lead to three with five seconds left.

On the ensuing inbounds, Duke's Josh McRoberts threw it straight to Hamilton, who was standing just inside the 3-point line near the top of the key. Hamilton caught the ball at his ankles, took a step back behind the line, looked to his left and right just before making a shot from some 20 feet all in the span of six-tenths of a second to tie the game.

At least that's the game clock said. All of that took place in less than a second. The error left 4.4 seconds on the clock, which was just enough time for David McClure to hit the game-winning layup at the buzzer.

"It was my guy who scored the basket," Tigers forward Trevor Booker said. "So I'm looking to get some revenge on that."

But Purnell likes to remind everyone that the error with the clock didn't cost Clemson a win, but rather the chance to get the win.

"The situation with the clock has been talked about a lot and I understand that," he said. "But, it did not cost us the game, it cost us an opportunity to win in overtime. It didn't cost us the game."

This year, the game will under extra scrutiny, which should result in an evenly officiated game. Also add to the fact that Duke has very little in terms of post players, which is where most of the fouls for opposing teams are accumulated.

"We do feel we have an advantage inside," Purnell said. "We're wondering how Duke will counter that. Will they double down or will they play one-on-one or will they sag (from the perimeter)?"

On the surface, it appears that Duke could have a matchup problem, especially if Clemson is hitting its shots from behind the arc. That will be an inside-outside threat that Duke will have a hard time dealing with.

But that's a very big if. "We will have to play at a higher level to beat Duke," Purnell said. "They have shown improvement over the year and did a great job in winning at Florida State. We will have to play one of our better games on Saturday."

No. 24 Clemson (14-3, 2-1 ACC)
G 2 Demontez Stitt (6-2, 170) 8.2 ppg, 3.2 apg
G 25 Cliff Hammonds (6-3, 200) 10.7 ppg, 4.0 apg
C 35 Trevor Booker (6-7, 240) 12.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg
F 1 K.C. Rivers (6-5, 215) 15.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg
F 40 James Mays (6-9, 230) 11.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg

No. 7 Duke (14-1, 2-0 ACC)
G 3 Greg Paulus (6-1, 185) 9.1 ppg, 3.7 apg
G 21 DeMarcus Nelson (6-4, 200) 13.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg
F 12 Kyle Singler (6-8, 220) 12.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg
F 14 David McClure (6-6, 200) 1.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg
F 15 Gerald Henderson (6-4, 210) 12.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg

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