Tigers looking for buzz kill

CLEMSON – With barely enough time to refuel the tanks, Clemson hosts the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Tuesday night, just two days after knocking off Florida State in Tallahassee.

WHAT: Clemson vs. Georgia Tech
WHERE: Littlejohn Coliseum (10,000) – Clemson, S.C.
WHEN: Tuesday, March 2 (8 p.m.)
SPREAD: Tigers by 7
TV: Raycom

With everything already on the line- including seeding in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments, Tuesday night is also senior night for Trevor Booker and David Potter, the winningest senior class in school history.

The two are 92-38 over their nearly completed four-year careers.

"David has played an integral role in our basketball program improving every year that he's been here," said head coach Oliver Purnell. "As a sophomore, he was always playing an important role for us. The last two years, he's been our best on the ball defender. He's made some big shots for us.

"He's allowed us to move him to the fourth spot and cause some matchup problems with that small lineup, which has been so important for us. He's had some big moments for us this year. Hopefully, he'll have many more here as we wind down his senior year."

Purnell, of course, also considers Booker one of the all-time Clemson greats.

"Some of the numbers that he's put up are incredible. There are some stats that only he and Tim Duncan hold in the ACC. That's pretty important," Purnell said. "He's started every game since he's been here and has just been outstanding.

Trevor Booker will play at Littlejohn Coliseum for the final time Tuesday ngiht against Georgia Tech. (Roy Philpott)
"He's a major reason this group of seniors has won more games than any group. He's been a force for us inside since he's been here. He's gravitated to the perimeter some, where he can be dangerous. Not only is he an excellent scorer, rebounder and defender, but probably his most under-rated traits—his most valuable trait is what kind of passer he is."

As Purnell noted on Monday, it was Booker who assisted Andre Young's go ahead and eventual game winning 3-pointer at Florida State.

Young also hit a crucial halftime buzzer beater from half-court to draw Clemson within one possession.

"Sometimes we fool around after practice (with that kind of shot). I've made it sometimes, but never really in a game--not in a college basketball game," Young said.

Clutch shots aside, Young was focused on just one matter of business.

"All I'm really concerned about is getting a win. That's what we got, so I'm pretty excited about that," he said.

Now, Young's focused on avenging the bitter 66-64 loss to Georgia Tech in January.

"It's hard not to think back and think that we could have won at their place," he said. "They're definitely a good and talented basketball team."

Georgia Tech controlled the glass that night, winning the rebounding battle 52-43. Almost half of the 24 rebounds by Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal were on the offensive end. The front-court duo also combined to score 33 points.

"They present a problem having a big, strong front-line, but that's not all they have," Purnell said. "They have excellent guards as well."

Clemson hasn't lost its final regular season home game since Purnell's first season at Clemson (2003-04). For him, the best way to recognize those being honored on Senior Night is in the way the game's played.

"We're just appealing to our guys to go out and play their best. Play hard and play the way that we've played when we've played best this year…I'm very interested in honoring our seniors by playing well," Purnell said.

Young's very interested too.

"We really want to honor our Trevor and David. We're coming off a road win, it's going to be real emotional out there," he said. "We just want to come out and play with a lot of effort and get a win."

PREDICTION: Clemson 80 Georgia Tech 70

Clemson (20-8, 8-6)
G #2 Demontez Stitt (6-2,175) - 10.6 PPG, 3.2 APG
G #5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 220) - 9.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG
C #45 Jerai Grant (6-8,220) - 6.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG
F #15 David Potter (6-6,205) - 6.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG
F #35 Trevor Booker (6-7,240) - 15.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG

Georgia Tech (19-9, 7-7)
G #1 Imam Shumpert (6-5, 200) - 9.2 PPG, 4 APG
G #41 Glen Rice, Jr. (6-5, 195) - 4.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG
C #14 Derrick Favors (6-10,234) - 11.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG
F #31 Gani Lawal (6-9,233) - 13.9 PPG, 9.3 RPG
F #13 Andre Bell (6-6,220) - 6.2 PPG, 2.4 RPG

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