Previewing Clemson

With Ty Lawson still sidelined and the sting of the loss to Duke still fresh, the Tar Heels face a Clemson team Sunday that pushed them to the brink last month. And, of course, there's The Streak - with Clemson's record in Chapel Hill now at 0-52. Tip-off at the Smith Center is set for 6:30 p.m. on FSN

North Carolina (21-2, 6-2) vs. Clemson (17-5, 5-3)
Chapel Hill, N.C. - Dean E. Smith Center
6:30 p.m., FSN


"We've got a tough North Carolina team sitting at home waiting on us. They're ready to take it to somebody after a tough loss they had [on Wednesday]." – Clemson guard K.C. Rivers

"(His teammates) nicknamed him ‘Sizzle.' He can score from a lot of different places, obviously. When he's knocking down the deep-range shots, it kind of sets things up, but he got them within the offense. He got them off the break, he got them off flare screens, he got them off late-clock plays." – Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell on Rivers' performance against Virginia on Thursday


Season to Date: Clemson enters its second game against North Carolina on Sunday with a 17-5 (5-3 ACC) record. Head coach Oliver Purnell's squad has won its last two outings by more than 20 points in victories against Boston College (78-56) and Virginia (82-51) after losing two of its previous three conference battles. The Tigers finished the first half of the ACC schedule above .500 in the league, which marked the first time they had accomplished that feat since the 1996-97 season when Clemson was 6-2 to open the ACC slate.

Points All Around: Junior wing K.C. Rivers (15.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game) and sophomore forward Trevor Booker (11.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg) lead five Tigers in double-digit scoring this season. Senior guard Cliff Hammonds (10.8 ppg, 4.2 assists per game), senior forward James Mays (10.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and reserve freshman guard Terrance Oglesby (11.4 ppg, 41.4 percent from three-point range) round out a balanced offensive attack for Clemson.

Defensive Pressure: The Tigers' relentless pressing defense has created 10.3 steals (1st in the ACC) and forced 17.8 turnovers (3rd ACC) per game. Clemson also ranks third in the league with 5.82 blocks per contest. But while Purnell's squad is second in 3-point field goal defense (30.5 percent), the Tigers sit near the league cellar's doorstep in overall field goal percentage (43.0 percent – tied for 10th).

Hammonds Amongst ACC Elite: Cliff Hammonds' strong performance (16 points, 11 assists, four rebounds and four steals) against Virginia on Thursday night provided a glimpse into the all-around player that the Cairo, Ga. native has developed into during his four seasons at Clemson. His first points of the night catapulted the senior into rare territory in ACC history, becoming just the fifth player to record at least 1,300 points, 400 rebounds, 400 assists and 200 steals in a career.

Stitt Out: Starting point guard Demontez Stitt will miss his third consecutive game after having arthroscopic surgery on Jan. 31 to repair torn cartilage in his knee. The injury occurred as he was trying to make a cut in practice. The Matthews, N.C. native had started the first 20 games this season, averaging 8.9 points and 3.1 assists. Hammonds has moved over from his shooting guard position to handle the point duties.

Deadly From Deep: Clemson leads the conference in 3-point field goal percentage at 39.3 percent, connecting on 8.2-of-20.9 attempts per contest. Rivers (43.8 percent on 53-of-121), Oglesby (41.4 percent on 58-of-140) and Hammonds (39.6 percent on 42-of-106) form one of the deadliest triumvirates from long range in the league. The Tigers made 16 of their 26 attempted 3-point shots against Virginia in their last outing, led by Rivers' 8-of-11 shooting from downtown.

Last Meeting: Wayne Ellington hit a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds remaining in overtime to give North Carolina a 90-88 win at then-No. 19 Clemson to open ACC play for both teams on Jan. 6, 2008. Ellington set career highs in points (36), field goals made (11), free throws made (nine) and 3-pointers (five). The 36 points are the most scored by a UNC guard since Joseph Forte had 38 against Tulsa on Nov. 11, 2000.

Series History: North Carolina holds a 119-19 all-time edge over Clemson, dating back to the 1925-26 season. The Tar Heels are 52-0 all-time at home against The Tigers, tied for the longest home winning streak over an opponent in NCAA history. Heading into Sunday, North Carolina has won the last seven meetings between the two programs.

Projected Starters:
25 Cliff Hammonds (6-3, 200, Sr.) - 10.8 ppg, 4.2 apg
 1 KC Rivers (6-5, 215, Jr.) – 15.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg
32 Sam Perry (6-5, 215, Sr.) – 2.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
40 James Mays (6-9, 230, Sr.) - 10.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg
35 Trevor Booker (6-7, 240, So.) – 11.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg

Key Reserves:
22 Terrence Oglesby (6-2, 185, Fr.) – 11.4 ppg
15 David Potter (6-6, 205, So.) – 5.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg
12 Raymond Sykes (6-9, 220, Jr.) – 5.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg
45 Jerai Grant (6-8, 215, Fr.) – 2.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg

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