Tigers try to halt skid

CLEMSON - Looking to pump the breaks on a two-game losing skid, Clemson is on the road against Boston College Tuesday night.

WHAT: Clemson vs. Boston College
WHERE: Conte Forum (8,606) - Chestnut Hill, Mass.
WHEN: Tuesday, January 26 (7 PM)
SPREAD: Clemson by 3

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Making matters more difficult is the fact the team's leader in assists and second highest scorer, Demontez Stitt, will be sitting out because of the foot injury he suffered against N.C. State.

"We made a decision to hold him out (Tuesday) with hopes of getting him as close as possible to 100 percent on Sunday and moving forward through the rest of the league," said head coach Oliver Purnell.

Purnell approached the team's trainer Sunday, and it was recommended to him that Stitt take a night off.

Sophomore Andre Young will make his start of the season in Stitt's place at the point guard spot.

"It's probably the best thing right now for me as a player and for us as a team," Stitt said.

Behind Young, the options are limited.

"He's got to be prepared to go wire to wire," Purnell said. "We'll kind of adjust from there. We'll play without a point guard, if we've got to use (Zavier Anderson) for a couple of minutes around a TV time-out, we'll do what we need to do."

The 11.2 points per game missing with Stitt on the bench will have to be found elsewhere.

"It could be Trevor (Booker) getting a few more points. It could be (Tanner Smith, Young), David (Potter), it could be a Noel Johnson," Purnell said. "Everybody has got to hitch it up and do what it takes to win, starting on the defensive end of the floor."

Clemson handed Boston College a 72-56 loss at Littlejohn less than three weeks ago. Purnell doesn't mind playing a team for the second time in such a "short turnaround".

"I think both teams' preparation and their memories from the last game will help them get ready for each other," he said.

Purnell's not looking at any of the remaining games on schedule as a guarantee. Almost half-way through the ACC schedule, the standings have a log-jam of four teams tied for first-place and four more a game out of first.

"Things are wide-open. There's balance. I've said this year in and year out. We don't get enough credit for beating up on each other," Purnell said.

He knowingly dipped into his bag of clichés.

"It's a marathon, not a sprint," Purnell said.

In order to keep up with the pack, Clemson must go on the road and pick up a fourth conference win.

"We've just got to be determined to move forward with our team, get better and try to get some wins along the way," Purnell said.

In Clemson's losses last week, the Tigers didn't shoot better than 38 percent from the field in either game.

"What I have said since from the beginning, offensively, we probably won't be as good a shooting team (as last year)," Purnell said. "We have a chance to be a better defensive team. We've got to play even better defense than we have thus far."

Opponents are scoring 63 points per game this season while shooting 41 percent from the field and 30 percent from behind the 3-point line. Earlier this season, Boston College shot 37 percent from the field and 13 percent from behind the arc.

Clemson has scored below 70 points in a game just three times this season. Two of those three were last week. As a team, the Tigers are shooting 47 percent from the field.

Boston College's opponents are scoring 65 points per game this season. The Eagles are forcing 11.6 turnovers per game while getting 4.6 steals. Opponents are shooting 42.4 percent from the field.

Boston College played in a pair of tight road games last week. The Eagles went on the road to beat Miami 79-75 and before losing 63-62 in Blacksburg to Virginia Tech.

Against Miami, Boston College had just five turnovers. The Hurricanes were also out-rebounded 46-21. This season, the Eagles have out-rebounded opponents in 15 of their 20 games. Clemson won the battle on the boards in the prior meeting.

Prediction: Clemson 64 Boston College 61

Clemson (15-5, 3-3)
G #11 Andre Young (5-9,170) - 10.6 PPG, 3.8 APG
G #5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 220) - 8 PPG, 2.1 RPG
C #45 Jerai Grant (6-8,220) - 5.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG
F #15 David Potter (6-6,205) - 6.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG
F #35 Trevor Booker (6-7,240) - 15.9 PPG, 8.3 RPG

Boston College (11-9, 2-4)
G #5 Biko Paris (6-1, 200) - 6.3 PPG, 5 APG
G #0 Reggie Jackson (6-3, 200) - 10.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG
C#32 Josh Southern (6-10,252) - 6 PPG, 4.2 RPG
F #12 Joe Trapani (6-8,228) - 14.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG
F #11 Corey Raji (6-6,218) - 11.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG

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