Clemson (4-2) at South Carolina (5-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 2, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) -- Columbia, South Carolina. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Clemson 1-1, USC 3-1. Away Record: Clemson 1-0, USC 0-1. Neutral Record: Clemson 2-1, USC 2-0. Conference Record: Clemson 0-0, USC 0-0. Series Record: South Carolina leads, 88-74.
GAME NOTES: The South Carolina Gamecocks will try to down their intrastate rival Clemson Tigers for the third time in a row as the two sides meet for a non-conference bout at Colonial Life Arena.
Clemson dropped to 4-2 with a 73-61 loss to Purdue in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday. The Tigers trailed by 20 at halftime, their largest deficit at the break under Brad Brownell and largest in any game since trailing Duke at home by 21 in the 2006-07 season. The Tigers' only previous loss came to the nationally-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Old Spice Challenge in Orlando, and all four of their wins have come by double-digit margins. Prior to Wednesday's loss to the Boilermakers, no opponent had scored more than 57 points in a single game versus Clemson this season.
Coach Frank Martin's team is also looking to bounce back in this one after being handed an 89-65 setback at St. John's on Thursday in the Big East/SEC Challenge. The Gamecocks are now 5-2 overall as they also dropped a decision to Elon (65-53). South Carolina is 3-1 in games at Colonial Life Arena this season.
Clemson and South Carolina will meet for the 163rd time on the hardwood on Sunday, with South Carolina holding an 88-74 edge in the series. USC has won two straight after the Tigers won six in a row from 2004-10.
The Tigers did not look like a dominating defense squad versus the Boilermakers their last time out. Purdue came out hot, connecting on 57.1 percent of its field goal attempts, including 7-of-13 from beyond the three- point arc. Clemson forced 14 turnovers, but ended up losing the rebounding battle by a 41-27 margin. The team was hurt by the absence of senior forward Milton Jennings, who was suspended prior to the contest for violation of team rules. He is not expected to play Sunday either. The Tigers will have to rely more heavily on center Devin Booker, who is pacing the team with 11.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest. K.J. McDaniels is second on the squad in scoring with 11.2 ppg.
South Carolina did not do too well in its first true road game under Martin on Thursday. Eight different players posted at least seven shot attempts vs. St. John's. South Carolina hit just 36.9 percent (33-58) of its shots from the field in the contest. Despite suffering a 24-point loss its last time out, the team is still outscoring its opposition by an average margin of 2.6 ppg. Junior guard Brenton Williams, who is the second leading scorer on the team, left the game with a neck injury. Freshman forward Michael Carrera posted his second double-double of the year with 11 points and 11 rebounds. The Gamecocks' leading scorer LaShay Page struggled, making just 1-of-7 field goal attempts to finish with two points. The former Southern Miss guard will need to bounce back in this one to make up for Williams's absence.
Both these teams had uncharacteristically poor performances their last time out. The Gamecocks will not find it any easier to find success on the offensive end versus the stingy Tigers. Clemson will have to find a way to win without Jennings for the time being. His absence means Carrera has a great chance of registering another double-double.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Carolina 66, Clemson 60
12/02 10:37:07 ET