Round two versus the Terps

CLEMSON - Clemson won round one against Maryland with starting point guard Demontez Stitt sidelined with a foot injury.

WHAT: Clemson at Maryland
WHERE: Comcast Center (17,950) - College Park, Md.
WHEN: Wednesday, February 24 (9 p.m.)
SPREAD: Terps by 5
TV: Raycom

That Sunday afternoon, he sat in street clothes and watched Trevor Booker shoot 2-of-16 from the field.

Even though Stitt appears to be back to regular form--and assuming that Booker's offensive anomaly remains just that--coach Oliver Purnell believes that his team's play of late is the biggest reason for confidence heading into Wednesday night's road game.

"It has more to do with us believing in ourselves," Purnell said. "It has a lot to do with, not just the Maryland game, but a lot of games during the season."

Heading into that Jan. 31 meeting, Clemson limped in at 3-4 in conference while Maryland was 4-1. Since the 62-53 home win, the Tigers have won three of their last four. The Terrapins have continued their steady ACC play as well, winning four of the last five in conference.

As Purnell noted on Tuesday, the only Maryland loss during that five-game stretch was at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"(Maryland is) a very good home team on their court, so it will take a better effort than here at home," he said. "It will take better shooting, certainly a higher shooting percentage."

Clemson made just 11 field goals in each half in that nine-point victory last month, shooting 32 percent from the field on the game.

Maryland's best player and leading scorer Greivis Vasquez nearly matched his turnover output (nine) and points (10) at Littlejohn. Freshman center Jordan Williams led the way with 13 points and had 13 rebounds.

Jerai Grant has been a different player since Clemson's 63-54 win over Maryland on Jan. 31. The junior center returns to his home state tonight against the Terps. (Getty Images)
Opposite of him for Clemson, Jerai Grant was slightly more productive with 18, 12 and blocked four shots.

The seasoned ACC veteran admits that he enjoys matching up against players with less experience.

"I'm not going to lie. I definitely feel that's an advantage that I should take a hold of in more ways than one, whether that's out-working him or going straight at him," he said.

For the first time since his freshman year, his dad Harvey will be watching from the stands. From nearby Bowie, Grant will be playing before plenty of other family and friends who watched him play at the famed DeMatha Catholic.

Combine Clemson's fight to stay off the NCAA Tournament bubble with all Grant's motivating factors, he looks forward to round two against Maryland.

"It's extremely important that we focus on this game. It's one game at a time, like every game in the ACC," Grant said.

"I'm going to enjoy it. But, at the same time, it's all business."

With three of the Tigers' final four games on the road, beating the Terrapins a second time could go a long way in bolstering the NCAA Tournament resume.

PREDICTION: Clemson 69 Maryland 65

Clemson (19-7, 7-5)
G #2 Demontez Stitt (6-2,175) - 10.6 PPG, 3.4 APG
G #5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 220) - 9.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG
C #45 Jerai Grant (6-8,220) - 7.4 PPG, 4.9 RPG
F #15 David Potter (6-6,205) - 6.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG
F #35 Trevor Booker (6-7,240) - 15.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG

Maryland (19-7, 9-3)
G #5 Eric Hayes (6-4, 180) - 10.7 PPG, 3.7 APG
G #21 Greivis Vasquez (6-6, 200) - 18.8 PPG, 6.2 APG
C#20 Jordan Williams (6-10,260) - 8.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG
F #1 Landon Milbourne (6-7,205) - 13.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG
F #14 Sean Mosley (6-4,210) - 10.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG Top Stories