On the Road Again

The 12th-ranked Clemson basketball team has little time to pick up the pieces after Saturday's stunning loss to Florida State.

WHAT: No. 12 Clemson (19-3, 5-3) at Boston College (18-7, 6-4)
WHERE: Conte Forum (8,606) - Chestnut Hill, Mass.
WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 10 (9:00 PM)
SPREAD: Tigers by 3.5
TV: Raycom

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And it all starts with a trip to Conte Forum to face what appears to be another NCAA Tournament bound team in Boston College.

"Same old story," Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell said. "It's an important game against Boston College. Anytime you drop a game in this league and you are fighting for the top spot it puts you in a position where the next game is probably more important.

"That's the situation where we are in."

Clemson has won its previous two meetings with the Boston College, including a blowout 82-48 win in the ACC Tournament a year ago. But the Tigers have never won in Conte Forum, and this year's version of the Eagles seems to be better than either one of their previous two clubs.

Point guard Tyrese Rice, who is considered one of the best guards in the ACC is now a senior, leads the way with 18 points per game, but he has more legitimate scoring options to pass to than ever before, including sophomore forward Joe Trapani who averages almost 14 points per contest.

As a result, the Eagles are off to a tremendous start at 18-7 overall and 6-4 in the ACC, and one of those 18 wins came in Chapel Hill against previously unbeaten and No. 1-ranked North Carolina.

But Rice has been banged around in recent games and could use a few days off according to Boston College head coach Al Skinner.

"He's gotten a couple of good shots here the last few games," Skinner said. "But with a few days rest he should be fine. He's going to have to tough it out against Clemson."

Boston College point guard Tyrese Rice leads the Eagles in scoring once again at over 18 points per game. (Getty Images)
Meanwhile the Tigers are coming off one of the most emotional weeks in Oliver Purnell's six years as head coach at Clemson. Following a sensational 74-47 win over No. 3 Duke last Wednesday, the Tigers blew a 19-point second-half lead in a four-point loss to Florida State on Saturday.

Purnell said he likes the way his club has responded during practice and insists this year's team should be able to overcome such performances.

"I think this team is better equipped to handle adversity," he said. "I like our team. The team that has shown up most of the year for us is a very good basketball team. There's a lot of confidence in us."

In addition, Purnell also said its important to note the Tigers are still playing very good basketball this season and remain in contention to win the ACC.

The pollsters tend to agree as Clemson remains among the top 12 teams in the nation in both the Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches polls this week.

The Tigers are also still No. 3 in the ACC entering tonight's game in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

"You have to let your team know what the reality of the situation is but don't let that take away from our preparation for the next game. The truth is we got a wake-up call," Purnell said. "We got bitten by the upset bug just like every other team in the league has this year.

"To me the key to success is the preparation in looking forward to the next game. That comes after you win or lose. Every team in this league will struggle; it's how you respond that determines your success."

If the Tigers are able to pull off their first ever win at Conte Forum, they'll need improved play from two of their leading scorers in Trevor Booker and Terrence Oglesby.

Booker, who leads Clemson at just under 15 points per game, scored just 11 points and grabbed only five rebounds in Saturday's loss to FSU. Meanwhile Oglesby watched most of the second half on the bench after committing six turnovers and scoring just five points on 2-of-9 shooting.

The Tigers also must do a better job on the boards, where they were outrebounded by the Seminoles 36-28.

"We've got to bounce back," said Purnell. "Now we have to go on the road and use the lessons from what Florida State did and what we've done in the past."

No. 12 Clemson (19-3, 5-3)
G #2 Demontez Stitt (6-2,175) - 8.0 PPG, 3.6 APG
G #22 Terrence Oglesby (6-2,190) - 13.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG
C #12 Raymond Sykes (6-9,220) - 8.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG
F #1 K.C. Rivers (6-5,215) - 14.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG
F #35 Trevor Booker (6-7,240) - 14.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG

Boston College (18-7, 6-4)
G #4 Tyrese Rice (6-1,190) - 18.0 PPG, 5.5 APG
G #15 Rakim Sanders (6-5,225) - 12.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG
C #52 Josh Southern (6-10,242) - 5.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG
F #11 Corey Raji (6-5,214) - 10.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG
F #12 Joe Trapani (6-8,218) - 13.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG

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