Tigers back on the road

CLEMSON - Oliver Purnell knows the dangers that come with playing a non-conference opponent on the road.

WHAT: No. 24 Clemson at East Carolina
WHERE: Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum(8,000)- Greenville, N.C.
WHEN: Wednesday, December 16 (7PM)
SPREAD: Clemson by 14
TV: Comecast/Charter Sports Southeast

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Oliver Purnell knows the dangers that come with playing a non-conference opponent on the road - especially against a team like East Carolina.

The Pirates rarely see an ACC team travel to Minges Coliseum and generally speaking, their fans are going to be as hyped as any Clemson will see all season.

Complicating matters if the fact that Purnell expects to see multiple defenses thrown his way Wednesday night.

"[ECU head coach] Mack McCarthy likes to mix it up (defensively)," Purnell said. "They've got a point guard that's a Devan Downey-type, two big physical post guys and athletic wings. All of that spells a capable team on their home court--a dangerous team on their home court."

The Tigers are 3-0 all-time against the Pirates. Jerai Grant scored a career-high 14 points in last season's 79-66 win at Minges Coliseum.

At 4-5 this season, two of East Carolina's losses were to Wake Forest and Tennessee.

Sophomore guard Andre Young told CUTigers he expects to play in front of another hostile environment in Greenville.

"They'll have a packed house, probably," he said. "They're going to come out with energy. They have pretty good players--a good point guard and a lot of good shooters."

Point guard Brock Young leads the Pirates in scoring at 15.7 a game. He had a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists in the loss against Clemson last season.

Two other players average double figures: guard Jontae Sherrod averages 12.4 points/game, while forward Darrius Morrow averages 11.7. East Carolina hasn't played since beating Coker College 69-63 on Dec. 5.

Shooting less than 50 percent from the free-throw line and missing every 3-point attempt would appear to be a recipe for disaster in Clemson's last outing. However that wasn't the case Sunday night in the Tigers' first game back after a week-long hiatus.

Purnell the 83-52 win over Furman was the most effort he's gotten in the first game back from exams.

"On the defensive end of the floor, we turned it over 27 times and forced them into a poor shooting night," he said. "We were able to win handily when we didn't make shots. We say that all the time. There are going to be nights when you don't make shots.

"That's when your defense has got to sustain you."

On a night when he made just one of four field goal attempts and missed all three 3-point shots, Andre Young said it also helped getting quality post play inside.

"We can throw it in there to Book and just let him operate. He makes good decisions when he gets the ball down there," he said. "Our shots weren't going down. That's not always going to happen. I think, for the most part, we'll step up and make those shots."

With an 11-game winning streak on the road, is a school record and is the longest current streak by any team in the ACC.

East Carolina averages 71 points/game and gives up an average of 75. The Pirates also average a rebounding margin of 4.4 a game. Turnovers have been a problem with a -5.7 turnover margin.

And with Purnell's philosophy on defense, East Carolina's turnover margin could increase Wednesday night.

"If you play good defense on any given night, you're going to give yourself a chance to win," he said.

Young also speaks with the same mindset.

"It's important we shut these guys down, defensively," he said. "That will lead to offense."

No. 24 Clemson (8-2)
G #2 Demontez Stitt (6-2,175) - 10.4 PPG, 4 APG
G #5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 220) - 10.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG
C #45 Jerai Grant (6-8,220) - 5.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG
F #15 David Potter (6-6,215) - 9.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG
F #35 Trevor Booker (6-7,240) - 14.1 PPG, 9.2 RPG

East Carolina (4-5)
G #10 Brock Young (5-11,175) - 15.7 PPG, 5.6 APG
G #24 Jontae Sherrod (6-2,195) - 12.4 PPG, 3 RPG
C #33 Chad Wynne (6-10,255) - 9.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG
F #21 Jamar Abrams (6-6,205) - 8.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG
F #1 Darrius Morrow (6-8,250) - 12.4 PPG, 3 RPG

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