Clemson Comes As First Major Test

GamecockAnthem.com featured basketball writer Duane Everett previews Saturday's hardwood clash between South Carolina and Clemson.



The Clemson Tigers come to town on Saturday afternoon undefeated and fresh off a 90-68 road victory over Minnesota. Considered the first major test for Dave Odom's Gamecocks, the Tigers are solid at all positions with Vernon Hamilton and Cliff Hammonds providing a great backcourt match-up for Tre' Kelly, Brandis Raley-Ross, and Bryce Sheldon. Dwayne Day will have his hands full with the Tigers frequently used reserve guard, K.C. Rivers, a 6-5, 210 pound sophomore swingman, who is leading the Tigers in scoring at 13 ppg.

Dominique Archie returns home having had his first successful complete game, contributing in both halves with solid output on both ends of the floor. Archie will find himself matched up with Trevor Booker, a 6-7 210 pound freshman, who appears to like scoring down in the paint and creating foul challenges for opponents. The final post battle will be seen between USC's Brandon Wallace and Clemson's James Mays. These 6-9 titans will provide total opposite approaches to post play, but should showcase an interesting cat and mouse battle. Mays will attempt to find scoring success from ten feet and in, while Wallace will start his offensive sets from the perimeter. Wallace's perimeter game is an area that will not please Mays, as he will have to vacate his comfort zone in the post to defend him.

Expect to see aggressive match-up zones and "in your face" man sets from both Clemson Head Coach Oliver Pernell and USC's Odom. Ousmane Konate has been gradually finding post moves and appears more comfortable of late. He may get a chance to bang around with Mays and Raymond Sykes, a reserve 6-9 sophomore forward who has been playing at a clip of about 10 minutes per game.

Clemson, going into this week, has been extremely physical. As a result, they often get to the foul line, but that has not always been a good thing, as they are only shooting 57% from the charity stripe as a team. The only Tiger playing significant minutes shooting at least 70% from the foul line is Sam Perry, a 6-5 high flying junior reserve forward, who is also shooting a respectable 54% from the field.

Clemson's style of play should resemble the characteristics of Florida without the Gators precision, but much of the Tigers athleticism and transition to half court sets will mirror that of Florida. Physical play and precision shooting will be necessary for the Gamecocks to emerge victorious in Saturday's hardwood clash with the Tigers.


South Carolina and Clemson will tip off at 1 p.m. at the Colonial Center on Saturday afternoon, and the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net.

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