The game, which will serve as a rematch from the 2008 event, will be nationally televised by ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU. Time and network designations will be determined at a later date. The three-day event will feature 11 games at various ACC and Big Ten school sites. The ACC has won each of the 10 challenges to date.
This will serve as the fourth meeting between the two schools, and second
consecutive matchup in the event. Last season, Clemson overcame a 40-32
halftime deficit to rally for a 76-74 win in Champaign. Demontez Stitt
scored a team-high 18 points to ignite the come-from-behind win for the
Tigers. Four players scored in double figures for Clemson, including Trevor
Booker with 16, and K.C. Rivers and Raymond Sykes with 14 apiece.
Behind 56 percent shooting in the opening half, Illinois opened up its
largest lead at eight points, as Mike Davis knocked down a jumper in the
final seconds. However, the Tigers quickly answered with seven straight
points out of the halftime break to cut the deficit to just one point after
a layup by Stitt. Clemson took the lead with just over 11 minutes left on a
layup by Sykes.
Illinois led by three with just under six minutes remaining after a pair of
baskets by Chester Frazier. But once again Clemson found an answer, as
Rivers hit a pair of layups to give the Tigers a lead. Clemson extended its
lead to five as David Potter drove the lane for a pullup jumper. Demetri
McCamey hit a pair of free throws to cut Clemson¹s lead to 76-74 in the
final minute. After Stitt missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity
at the free throw line, the Illini failed to get a shot off against
Clemson¹s defense as the game clock expired.
Illinois won the first two games in the series in back-to-back seasons
(1997-98, 1998-99). The two teams first played on December 13, 1997. The
Fighting Illini won 71-61 over the 17th-ranked Tigers, coached at the time
by Rick Barnes. The second meeting between the two came at the Bi-Lo Center
in Greenville, SC on December 29, 1998. Illinois won by a score of 67-50,
holding the Tigers to 29 percent shooting.
Under the watch of Bruce Weber, Illinois has competed in five of the last
six NCAA Tournaments. Last season, Weber¹s club compiled a record of 24-10
and earned a #5 seed in the South Region. The Illini lost to #12 Western
Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Illinois will return
three starters in 2009-10, including Davis, who scored a season-high 28
against Clemson as a sophomore.
Clemson will return three starters next season, including leading scorer and
rebounder Trevor Booker. He was a second-team All-ACC selection, and
All-ACC Defensive Team member as well. The Tigers finished the 2008-09
season with a #24 final ranking by the Associated Press and advanced to the
NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Clemson was 23-9 overall and
improved its winning percentage for the fifth straight season under Head
Coach Oliver Purnell.
Clemson has an 8-2 record in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Only Duke (10-0)
and Wake Forest (8-1) have a better record than Clemson in the history of
the event. The Tigers have won five straight in the event and boast a 4-2
record on the road in the event, having won its last three away challenge
games (at Penn State, at Minnesota, and at Illinois).
2009 Big Ten/ACC Challenge Schedule
Monday, November 30
Penn State at Virginia
Tuesday, December 1
Maryland at Indiana
Michigan State at North Carolina
Northwestern at NC State
Virginia Tech at Iowa
Wake Forest at Purdue
Wednesday, December 2
Boston College at Michigan
Duke at Wisconsin
Florida State at Ohio State
Illinois at Clemson
Minnesota at Miami
Clemson to face Illinois
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