WHAT: Clemson at Virginia Tech
WHERE: Cassell Coliseum (9,847) - Blacksburg, V.A.
WHEN: Saturday, February 5 (4 PM)
SPREAD: Virginia Tech by 1.5
TV: Raycom Sports
"That kind of game comes down to the last two or three minutes, and certainly we won't be surprised if that's the same situation here," said head coach Oliver Purnell.
A sixth win will be tough to come by on Saturday when Clemson faces Virginia Tech, who is undefeated from the confines of Cassell Coliseum this season. The Hokies are a perfect 11-0 and coming off a win over North Carolina on Thursday night.
Originally scheduled to leave Friday afternoon, Purnell and the Tigers left for Blacksburg Thursday night with a snow storm threatening to hit the area.
"We're fortunate we did. It's coming down like cats and dogs here today," Purnell said during a teleconference on Friday.
With almost a week between Sunday's win over Maryland and Saturday's matchup against Virginia Tech, Demontez Stitt has been afforded more time to rest his mid-foot sprain.
Purnell is unsure how much, Stitt will play, if at all.
"He went through (Wednesday in practice), probably a half to three-quarters. We're going to work him out again (Friday) and see if he can get through without too much pain," Purnell said. "We hope he's going to be available."
Whether Stitt plays or not depends on how he feels Saturday morning.
"If I could get 15-20 minutes out of him, I'd be ecstatic," Purnell said.
During the layover between games, Clemson has also been able to prepare more for Hokie junior point guard Malcolm Delaney, who's averaging 19.7 points per game.
"He is a handful, the leading scorer in the league," Purnell said.
"He's got the green light. They do a lot of things to get him some shots. He's terrific in transition, either ball ahead to him, or him taking it himself…he can get points up in bunches, very quickly."
Virginia Tech has two others who score in double figures. Dorenzo Hudson averages 13.7 and Jeff Allen scores 11.3.
"Hudson has proven that he is a very capable scorer," Purnell said. "When Delaney was out, he had a 40-point game. He's probably their second guy with the good, inside-out player that Allen is."
Trevor Booker needs just one rebound Saturday to move past Horace Grant (Jerai's uncle) into third place on Clemson's career rebounding list. Entering Saturday, Booker and Grant both have 981. Booker has played 124 games and Grant played 122 between 1983-87.
Booker also needs just 16 points to reach 1600 for his career. He enters Saturday's game eighth in scoring, sixth in field goal percentage and fourth in blocked shots. Saturday will be his 125th consecutive start.
Both teams are nearly equal in rebounding, pulling in 38 per game as a team. Virginia Tech out-rebounds opponents by a margin of four per game and Clemson's is three. The Tigers 324 assists this season, compared to the Hokies, who have 271 in one less game.
Opponents have blocked 91 Virginia Tech shots this season. The Hokies have 98 as a team and Clemson has 111. Grant leads the Tigers and is fourth in the ACC with 1.8 per game while Booker averages 1.4.
Prediction: Clemson 71 Virginia Tech 68
Clemson (16-6, 4-4)
G #11 Andre Young (5-9,170) - 8.1 PPG, 2.3 APG
G #5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 220) - 10 PPG, 4.3 RPG
C #45 Jerai Grant (6-8,220) - 6.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG
F #15 David Potter (6-6,205) - 6.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG
F #35 Trevor Booker (6-7,240) - 15.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG
Virginia Tech (17-4, 4-3)
G #23 Malcolm Delaney (6-3, 170) - 19.8 PPG, 4.2 APG
G #5 Dorenzo Hudson (6-5, 220) - 13.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG
C #14 Victor Davilia (6-8,245) - 6.3 PPG, 5 RPG
F #00 Jeff Allen (6-7,230) - 11.3 PPG, 7.6 RPG
G #1 Terrell Bell (6-6,205) - 5.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG
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