Can the Wolfpack Bounce Back Against Clemson?

NC State (9-3) hosts Clemson (8-6) in ACC action. Game time is set for 8:00 and will be televised on your local Raycom station... <P> Premium Subscribers can chat Live in the <a href=> Premium Chat Room</a> via the "Join Live Chat" Link.

New Clemson Coach, Oliver Purnell

NC State (9-3) vs. Clemson (8-6)
8:00 pm Raycom
RBC Center
Raleigh, NC
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Clemson's Sharrod Ford
The Match-Up: Clemson brings a mix of the old and the new to Raleigh on Saturday. New Coach Oliver Purnell is trying to change the Clemson basketball tradition that often finds it bottom feeding in the ACC. He recruited and is playing an ACC freshman of the year candidate Vincent Hamilton alongside veterans like Chris Hobbs and Sherrod Ford. While Clemson is not a big team, they are a quick team that is holding teams scoring averages down. The Tigers find themselves ranked in the bottom three of 11 categories of the 19 team statistics kept by the ACC.

Head Coach Oliver Purnell: Oliver Purnell, who led Dayton to a 24-6 record and a top four seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2002-03, became Clemson's 21st head basketball coach on April 5, 2003. Purnell succeeds Larry Shyatt, who resigned March 17. Purnell comes to Clemson with 15 years of Division I head coaching experience at Radford (1988-89 through 1990-91), Old Dominion (1991-92 through 1993-94), and Dayton (1994-95 through 2002-03). He has a career record of 256-191, including an 88-39 ledger in his most recent four years at Dayton. The 256 victories rank third in Dayton history. He led the Flyers to at least 21 wins in each of the last four years, the first time since the late 1960s that Dayton has had four straight 20-win seasons.

Early Season: New coach, new system and new point guard has led to a slow start for the Clemson Tigers who enter the game against the Pack with an 8-6 overall record. However, Clemson showed signs of putting their season together when it won its first ACC game of the year last Tuesday, a 53-48 victory over a Florida State.

Probable Starting 5: G – #14 Chey Christie (Jr 6-4 183), 11.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.1 spg... F – #5 Sharrod Ford (Jr 6-9 223), 11.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg 2.5 bpg... F – #43 Chris Hobbs (SR 6-7 260), 9.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg... G – #22 Shawan Robinson (So 6-2 183), 9.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.9 apg... G – #3 Vernon Hamilton (FR 6-0 192), 8.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.1 apg, 2.4 spg.

Clemson's Top Gun: Sherrod Ford is a career 58 percent shooter. He is second for Clemson in scoring (11.1 ppg) and leads in rebounding (7.7 rpg), block shots (35) and minutes played (29.0 mpg).

Gameplan: Opposing coaches have given testimony to Purnell's abilities, especially when it comes to pre-game preparation and strategy against a more talented opponent. He is a coach that has a history of adapting his style to his personnel, but he does have some basic tenets for success that has been impressed upon his first Clemson team. Oliver Purnell - "We will be a team that will depend on defense and rebounding. We are going to look to run every time we get the numbers. We want to be a team that makes a good decision on when to run and when not to run.

Here… Take the Ball!: Clemson had a positive turnover margin in the win over Florida State, forcing 20 Seminole miscues against 18 committed by the Tigers. It broke a 9- game streak in which Clemson had committed more turnovers than the opposition. Clemson is last in turnover margin with a -5.29 margin.

Fast Break Points

The Wolfpack owns a 91-40 advantage in the all-time series against Clemson.
Clemson will be making its fifth appearace at the RBC Center. The Tigers won in their first appearance there, 66-63 in the 1999-00 season.
Clemson has lost three straight at the RBC by 85 points.
Clemson's field goal percentage defense of .410 is on pace to be the second best by a Tiger team since the 1989-90 ACC Championship team.
Freshman of Influence: Vernon Hamilton leads the Tigers in assists (57), steals (33), and is second in minutes played (28.4mpg). Hamilton earned the starting point guard position after the graduation of Edward Scott. He is an outstanding ball handler who comes to Clemson with outstanding credentials as an all-around athlete. NC State recruited Hamilton for a brief time last year, before he eventually committed to the Tigers.

< 50: Clemson still has not allowed a team to shoot 50 percent from the field this year. Only three teams have exceeded 46 percent from the field against Clemson this year and all three of those teams (Cincinnati, Duke and Wake Forest) are ranked in the top 10 in the nation.

< 50 Part 2: Clemson is shooting .459 from the field so far this year. If the season ended today that would be Clemson's best field goal percentage over a season since the 1998-99 team also shot .459 from the field.

Key Match-Up:Scooter Sherrill vs. Clemson: NC State's Scooter Sherrill is in a major funk, but the one thing that has always lit up his eyes has been seeing Clemson on the schedule. Last year, Scooter set a career high with 24 points in the win at Clemson, knocking down 6-10 from the field, including five three-pointers. In his sophomore year, he had his break-out game of the season at Clemson, when he reached what were then career-highs with 19 points, five assists, six field goals made, five three-pointers made, and in 28 minutes of action. During his freshman year, Scooter had his best all-around game at Clemson, when he scored 10 points, played 23 minutes and pulled down seven rebounds. The Pack's game against Clemson is Scooter's best chance to get back on track.

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Clemson's Vernon Hamilton, right, dives to steal the ball from Florida State's Nate Johnson (10) in the second half Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2004, in Clemson, S.C. Clemson won, 53-48. Hamilton leads his team with 33 thefts for the season. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

No Name Pos Ht Wt Yr City (High School)
00 Ovarus Williams G 6-4 175   JR Snow Hill, NC
1 Julian Betco F 6-5 25   SO Ruzomberok, Slovakia
2 Lamar Rice F 6-7 210   JR Flint, MI
3 Vernon Hamilton G 6-0 192   FR Richmond, VA
4 Steve Allen C 6-10 230   SO Ft. Lauderdale, FL
5 Sharrod Ford F 6-9 223   JR Suitland, MD
11 Beau Shay G 5-9 180   SR Galesburg, IL
12 Olu Babalola F 6-6 242   JR London, England
14 Chey Christie G 6-4 183   JR Hartford, CT
20 Reed Long F 6-5 210   FR Piedmont, SC
21 Jimmy Hudson G 6-4 190 FR Eustis, FL
22 Shawan Robinson G 6-2 183   SO Raleigh, NC
33 Akin Akingbala F 6-9 230   SO Lagos, Nigeria
43 Chris Hobbs F 6-7 260   SR Chapel Hill, N.C.

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