Will the Season be Lost?

With six games in the books, the Tigers find themselves looking up at the rest of Atlantic Coast Conference with just 1 win, and it doesn't get any easier. Clemson will travel to Raleigh Sunday afternoon to face an N.C. State team that looks to be on the upswing headed into the heart of February.

N.C. State will enter Sunday's contest winners of two of their last three games, including impressive victories over Duke and North Carolina.

The Tigers come into Sunday's contest having lost 5 of their last 7 games after opening the season 11-0.

Following last Tuesday's crushing loss to Wake Forest, hopes of a postseason tournament berth and talks of a program on the rise have given way to more doubts about Larry Shyatt and more questions about the team in general.

Headlining that list is none other than starting point guard Ed Scott, who has been suffering from a flu like virus for the last two weeks.

"I can only tell you that we're going to try and get everything out him that we possibly can," said head coach Larry Shyatt. "But there is a period of time that we need to give him to medicate and recover."

Scott enters Sunday's game as the 7th leading scorer in the conference at just under 17 points per game.

The Tigers' overall health as a team doesn't seem to be getting any better either. Forward Olu Babalola, guard Chey Christie, and reserve guard Julian Betko are all suffering from minor ailments, but are scheduled to play in Raliegh.

N.C. State might also be without one of their key players Sunday afternoon. Wolfpack head coach Herb Sendek said Friday that Powell suffered a hip pointer and may have to be held out of the Clemson game.

"I'm sure he's quite sore, but I'd say his status is questionable at this point," said Hendek. Powell is the third leading scorer on the team and a key defensive presence. He suffered a hip pointer in Thursday's loss at Maryland.

N.C. State is led in scoring by forward Julius Hodge, who comes into Sunday's game averaging 19.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest.

For Clemson, the schedule doesn't get an easier after making the quick trip to Raleigh. The Tigers will battle Georgia Tech at Littlejohn Coliseum before heading to Duke, then on to South Carolina.

"We've got to stick together," said Ed Scott following Tuesday's 21-point loss to Wake Forest. "We know we are better than what our record indicates, we just have to prove it. We've got to put something together."

Probable Starters
Clemson (11-5, 1-5 ACC)
G 14 Chey Christie   (6-4, 178)
G 10 Ed Scott        (6-0, 175)
C 05 Sharrod Ford    (6-9, 220)
F 12 Olu Babalola    (6-6, 255)
F 21 Ray Henderson   (6-7, 255)

N.C. State (11-5, 4-2)
G 20 Clifford Crawford (6-3, 190)
G 23 Scooter Sherrill  (6-3, 185)
C 54 Marcus Melvin     (6-8, 235)
F 33 Josh Powell       (6-9, 223) 
F 24 Julius Hodge      (6-6, 184)
Other Notes
* Clemson is on a three-game losing streak after winning 11 of its first 13 games to open the season. The Tigers have not won since defeating Virgnia, 78-77 on January 18. The losing streak started at Florida State on January 21 when Anthony Richardson made two free throws with 0.4 seconds left for a 60-59 victory.

* Larry Shyatt and Herb Sendek both coached on the same staff at Providence under Rick Barnes in 1988- 89. Shyatt and Sendek have split eight previous head-to-head head coaching meetings since. This will be Sendek's 300th game as a Division I head coach. Sendek is 6-6 vs. Clemson.

* 9 of the last 16 meetings between these two clubs have been decided by 5 points or less, including N.C. State's 80-79 win at Littlejohn Coliseum last year. Tony Stockman hit a drifting shot in the lane to put the Tigers ahead by one in the closing seconds, but Josh Powell tipped in a miss with just 2 ticks left on the clock to give N.C. State the victory.

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