Showcase game for Clemson

CLEMSON - Almost three weeks to the day that Duke handed Clemson an embarrassing 74-53 at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the No. 16 Tigers host the No.7 Blue Devils for the rematch Saturday night at 9 p.m.

WHAT: No. 16 Clemson vs No. 7 Duke
WHERE: Littlejohn Coliseum (10,000) - Clemson, S.C.
WHEN: Saturday, January 22 (9 PM)

"It's real fresh on our minds, what we didn't accomplish last time," said Tanner Smith. "We've got to come out with a focus and really concentrate offensively.

"We've seen that film a lot of times. We know what we did wrong and we're ready to get another shot."

Before Clemson's shot at redemption, Littlejohn Coliseum will be the host site of ESPN's College GameDay, which starts at 11 a.m.

Clemson is the 16th school to host to ESPN GameDay for football and basketball. The football version of the show was in town for the 2006 Georgia Tech game.

With much of the attention from the college basketball world focused on Tigertown this weekend, Trevor Booker spoke of the events in a manner that's to be expected of a veteran.

"Everyone knows that we can't distracted from all of this hype that's going on right now," he said.

Coach Oliver Purnell said the show is an opportunity to "showcase" the program and the university.

"We want to take every advantage of that," he said. "The most important thing come 9 o'clock is, of course the game."

Both teams were beaten on the road in their previous outings. Clemson lost for the second time in the ACC play to Georgia Tech Tuesday night and Duke lost its second conference game to N.C. State on Wednesday. The Yellow Jackets handed the Blue Devils their first loss two weeks ago.

In the first game between the two teams this season, Clemson was held to just 12 points on 17 percent shooting from the field in the first half. The Tigers were not only beat on the boards, but also committed more turnovers that night. Duke's field goal shooting improved from 39 percent in the first half to 60 in the second.

Trailing 30-12 at halftime, the Tigers scored 11-straight points to open the second half, but weren't able to bring the second half margin any lower than seven.

"Duke presents the same problems they did before to us," Purnell said. "They've got a big, strong front-line. Those guys know their role. They know their role is to be big, strong, and physical, to play good post defense, block shots and rebound."

Having beaten North Carolina and its tall front line players, Booker is confident the second-time around against Duke. He also believes there are two keys for Saturday's game to have a better result for the Tigers.

"We try to keep them all from scoring and go inside and out on offense," he said. "If we do those two things, we'll be straight."

That's easier said than done, of course.

Duke brings the ACC's second and third best scorers per game in Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith and the conference's eighth best scorer in Kyle Singler.

It was the big three that did the bulk of the damage in Cameron, scoring 60 of the 74 points against Clemson. They accounted for 81 percent of the offense the Blue Devils put on the board. Per game this season, they average 64 percent of the team's points.

The biggest key, according to Purnell, is limiting the trio's shooting percentage.

"I'm not sure any three in our league do it any better than Smith, Scheyer and Singler," Purnell said.

Even if Clemson's able to minimize the big three's scoring from the field, they can still beat opposing teams from the free-throw line. Singler shoots 77 percent, Smith 81 percent and Scheyer is 90 percent from the charity stripe.

Purnell has 47 ACC wins at Clemson. One more moves him into second place in Clemson history. He is currently tied with Bill Foster while Cliff Ellis sits alone a top the list with 59.

Clemson is 13-1 this year when scoring more points off turnovers and 14-0 when it wins points in the paint. When the Tigers shoot at least 40 percent from the field, they're 15-0.

Scheyer is fourth in the ACC with 5.8 assists per game. Duke is out-rebounding its opponents by almost seven boards per game while Clemson's advantage is three. Opposing teams are shooting 40 percent from the field against the Blue Devils.

Demontez Stitt is expected to play after injuring his ankle against N.C. State. In 36 minutes against Georgia Tech, he scored 10 points.

PREDICTION: Duke 70 Clemson 68

No. 16 Clemson (15-4)
G #2 Demontez Stitt (6-2,175) - 11.2 PPG, 3.7 APG
G #5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 220) - 10.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG
C #45 Jerai Grant (6-8,220) - 6.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG
F #15 David Potter (6-6,205) - 6.7 PPG, 2.98 RPG
F #35 Trevor Booker (6-7,240) - 15.6 PPG, 8.4 RPG

No. 7 Duke (15-3)
G #2 Nolan Smith (6-2, 185) - 18.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG
G #30 Jon Scheyer (6-5,190) - 19.1 PPG, 5.8 APG
F #42 Lance Thomas (6-8,225) - 5.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG
F #12 Kyle Singler (6-8,230) - 16.1 PPG, 7.6 RPG
F #21 Miles Plumlee (6-10,240) - 7.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG Top Stories