Tigers Ready to Tame the Terps

After a suffering through a controversial heart breaking loss to Florida State this past Tuesday, the Clemson Tigers will battle the 12th ranked Maryland Terrapins this afternoon in a game that could go a long way in deterimining the post season hopes of the team.

Saturday afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum, the Clemson Tigers will have their work cut out for them. Not only will Larry Shyatt and company be trying to shutout painful memories of a one-point loss to FSU just 4 days ago, but they'll also be facing the 12th ranked team in the country, and the defending national champions from a year ago.

Clemson has defeated the defending NCAA champion five times in history. The last time the Tigers accomplished that feat was in 1996-97, a season opening victory over Kentucky in Indianapolis.

"They still have a great team," said Chey Christie. "They've already beaten North Carolina and Duke this year, so being able to get win Saturday would be big for us right now."

The Tigers are now entering the stretch run of conference play, and they'll have 3 of the next 4 games in friendly confines of Littlejohn Coliseum. After today's game against the 12th ranked Terps, Clemson will host Wake Forest before traveling to Raleigh to battle N.C. State, and then return home against Georgia Tech.

Clemson will enter today's game against the Terrapins with a 1-3 record in the ACC. An upset win would likely go a long way in helping restore the confidence that was lost after Tuesday's crushing to gut-wrenching loss to FSU.

"The thing with us is that we've got to get out on the court as soon as we can. We've got to continue to try and improve and we've got to get another win as soon as possible," said Christie.

Ed Scott continues to lead the way in scoring for the Tigers at 17.2 points per game, but has become painfully obvious that Clemson will need a second and a third player to consistently provide some offense if this team is going to have a chance to be successful.

Olu Babalola has provided a much needed spark since nailing two free throws at the end of the Virginia game to give the Tigers a one point lead, however it's been the lack of production in the big games from Chey Christie that seems to hurt Clemson the most.

Maryland is led in scoring by 6-3 shooting guard Drew Nicholas, a reserve behind current Washington Wizard Juan Dixon last year. Nicholas has already started drawing comparisons to the former All-ACC performer, and shutting him down will be critical this afternoon if the Tigers are going to have a chance for the upset.

A limited amount of reserved seat tickets are available for Saturday's game with Maryland at Littlejohn Coliseum. They are available at the ticket office prior the game at $15. There will also be a $5 high school ticket for students high school age and under. A crowd of 10,000 is expected for the 4:00 PM tipoff.

Probable Starters
6-3 G Steve Blake (11.6 ppg, 7.0 apg)
6-3 G Drew Nicholas (18.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
6-3 F Calvin McCall (5.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
6-10 F Tahj Holden (7.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg)
6-8 C Ryan Randle (14.1 ppg, 8.4 rpg)

6-0 G Edward Scott (17.2 ppg, 6.5 apg)
6-4 G Chey Christie (11.0 ppg, 2.9 apg)
6-6 F Olu Babalola (8.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg)
6-8 F Ray Henderson (8.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
6-9 C Sharrod Ford (10.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg)

Other Notes
This is the first time since the 1980-81 season that Clemson has played back-to-back games decided by a point. That season Clemson actually had three straight decided by one point, a loss to Marquette and consecutive wins at the Rainbow Classic over Louisiana Tech and Bobby Knight's Indiana team.

Heading into this week's play, Clemson had a #53 RPI rating according to collegerpi.com. That was an improvement of over 100 positions over the end of last season when Clemson was ranked #154.

Clemson will be playing the defending NCAA Champion when it plays host to Maryland on Saturday. Clemson has defeated the defending NCAA champion five times in history. The last time the Tigers accomplished that feat was in 1996-97, a season opening victory over Kentucky in Indianapolis.

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