Tigers Will Battle Wofford

The Men's basketball team opens the 2002-2003 regular season this afternoon by battling the Wofford Terriers at The Civic Center of Anderson at 4 PM. Head coach Larry Shyatt begins his fifth year at helm with a nice mix of youth and experience in his starting 5.

Game One: Clemson vs. Wofford
Sunday, November 24, 2003
4:00 PM
Anderson Civic Center

Clemson vs. Wofford Series
Clemson holds a 43-14 advantage in the series with Wofford. The Tigers have won two in a row and eight of the last nine. The two teams have met six times in the last 10 years and Clemson has won five of the six. Wofford's only win in the series since 1948 took place in 1999-00, a 79-74 Terrier victory in Littlejohn Coliseum. This is the fourth consecutive year the two teams have met.

The two teams first met in the 1911-12 season, the first season of basketball in Clemson history. The Tigers won both of those games, 34-23 and 56-13, the third and fourth games in Clemson basketball history, respectively. The two teams played three games the next year, two wins by the Tigers, and one for Wofford. Clemson won a 72-23 game at home that year, then lost to Wofford, 22-21, in the next to the last game of the season.

Clemson won 11 straight games in the series between 1934-39. The two teams played 51 of their 57 games between 1912-49, incuding four times in 1929-30. Clemson has a 28-6 record in games at Clemson, a 15-8 lead in games at Wofford.

Each of the last three games have been decided by five points or less. Wofford won 79-74 in 1999-00, Clemson won in 2000-01 by a 78-74 score and the Tigers won last season 85-82.

Last Year's Game
Clemson overcame a 14-point first-half deficit and an 11-point halftime deficit to defeat Wofford, 85-82 on November 24, 2001. It marked just the second time since 1990 that Clemson had overcome a double-digit deficit at intermission to gain victory. It marked just the fifth time since 1990 that Clemson had overcome a deficit of at least 14 points at any juncture of the game to gain victory.

Clemson made just 2-15 three-point shots in its victory over Wofford last year. The Terriers shot well, hitting 15-32, 47 percent. Wofford's total tied for the third most three-point goals in Clemson history against the Tigers at the time.

A victory for the Tigers with a three-point goal percentage less than 20 percent is a rarity. In fact, the Tigers had lost 12 straight games when failing to hit at least 20 percent from three-point range. The Tigers were 0-11 under Larry Shyatt when failing to hit 20 percent from behind the arc heading into the game.

Clemson center Ray Henderson was one of the leaders for the Tigers. It was the best all-around game of the junior's career. He established career highs for field goals made (10), points scored (23) and tied his career high for rebounds (13) and blocked shots (4). He did all of that in just 28 minutes. His previous career high in scoring was just 15 points, set in the 2000 ACC Tournament win over Florida State. He had never made more than six field goals in a game before recording 10 against Wofford.

Junior captain Edward Scott had 11 points and 11 assists and just one turnover in helping the Tigers to the victory. It was the first double-double for Scott in his career. He went on to record five more last season. He had nine assists and no turnovers over the last 30 minutes of the game.

Scott was one turnover away from tying the Clemson record for the most assists in a game without a turnover. Grayson Marshall, Clemson's career leader in assists, still has that mark. He had 11 assists without a turnover in a game at NC State in 1986-87. Chey Christie also had 13 points in the victory, his high point total in Littlejohn Coliseum last season.

Wofford was led by Lee Nixon with 25 points, Mike Lenzly with 20 and Justin Stephens with 18. Lenzly is slated to start in this Sunday's game for Wofford. All three were wing players for Wofford, who made eight three-point goals in the first half and seven in the second. Clemson won the rebound battle 43-29 to offset Wofford's 45-6 margin in points of three-point goals.

Clemson in Season Openers
Clemson has won all four season openers under Larry Shyatt. That includes last year's victory over Morris Brown in the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. Clemson beat Arkansas Pine Bluff 83-59 in Shyatt's first year. The Tigers opened his second season with a win over East Tennessee State, the downed Hartford 86-67 in the opener in his third season.

The Tigers have now won each of their last 17 season openers dating bac kt o a one-point loss to Tennessee Tech in overtime in the first game of 1984-85, the first game of the Cliff Ellis era. All but three of those previous 17 seasons Clemson was playing at home. Clemson actually opened the 1987-88 season in Taiwan with a 69-54 win over Oregon State. Clemson opened 1989-90 in Puerto Rico with a victory over American University of Puerto Rico.

Clemson's most shocking season opening victory over the last 17 years, and in history for that matter, was a 79-71 overtime win over Kentucky in the Hoosier Dome. Kentucky was the defending NCAA champion, ranked third in the nation, and advanced to the 1997 NCAA Championship game. Clemson advanced to the Sweet 16 that year and was ranked eighth in the nation in the final USA Today poll.

Clemson vs Southern Conference
Clemson has an all-time record of 249-107 against Southern Conference foes. That includes a 155-41 record in games played at home. Clemson is 87-63 against Southern Conference teams on the road and 9-2 at neutral site.

Of course, Clemson was a member of the Southern Conference from 1921-53. Clemson won the Southern Conference Tournament in 1939, Clemson's only postseason tournament victory in history. Banks McFadden, still going strong at 86, was the leader of that Clemson team that won four games to win the event. Clemson won the championship without ever holding a halftime lead in any of the games. Larry Shyatt is 10-2 against Southern Conference teams in his Clemson career.

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