GAME NOTES: The Clemson Tigers try to continue their dominance against The Citadel Bulldogs as the two teams kick off the new calendar year at Littlejohn Coliseum on Tuesday afternoon.
Clemson, which has won 14 straight in this series, has had difficulty putting together consistent efforts over the course of the last month, alternating wins and losses for the last seven contests. On Dec. 23, the team landed back in the win column with a 77-41 thumping of South Carolina State at home, in order to move to 3-2 in their own building.
As for the Bulldogs, they began the campaign with three wins in the first four outings, although two of those victories came against the likes of Montreat and Union. Since then, The Citadel has bowed in six straight decisions, the latest coming against Georgia Tech on the road, 73-41, back on Dec. 22. Needless to say, the Bulldogs are winless in five road dates so far this season.
The Tigers lead the all-time series between the squads by a count of 59-22 thanks to a 73-50 win in the most recent encounter last season. Clemson last bowed to the Bulldogs back in 1979.
The Bulldogs were in way over their head against Georgia Tech the last time out, shooting an abysmal 6-of-31 (.194) from the floor in the first half and 25.4 percent for the game, including 3-of-22 behind the 3-point line in the dreadful showing at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta. The visitors didn't have a single player score in double figures, with Mike Groselle and Austin Dahn coming the closest with nine points apiece, while Cameron Wells responded with eight points and a team-best 10 rebounds. Now through 10 games, Groselle is the team's most reliable performer with his 15.2 ppg and 8.2 rpg, shooting an impressive 54.6 percent from the floor. But for someone who handles the ball as much as he does, Groselle should still have more than seven assists, even if by accident. Matt Van Scyoc accounts for another 10.0 ppg, but between he and Groselle they have just 17 dishes against 49 turnovers.
SC State was no match for Clemson in the team's last game of 2012, as the Tigers held the Bulldogs to just 31.0 percent shooting from the floor and forced them into 18 turnovers, matching their total for made field goals. Damarcus Harrison and Milton Jennings led the way for the Tigers with 15 points apiece, the former adding six assists, four rebounds and three steals off the bench, while Devin Booker responded with 11 points and seven boards and K.J. McDaniels 10 points for the victors. As it was in the last outing, balanced scoring has been the hallmark for this team as Booker (11.6 ppg), McDaniels (11.3 ppg) and Jennings (10.7 ppg) all have their hand in being a primary option on offense. Defensively, this is a unit that has held the competition to just 55.4 ppg on 38.2 percent shooting from the floor.
Because the Tigers have a penchant for limiting scoring opportunities for the opposition, don't think The Citadel can't be held below 50 points in what should be a Clemson win to kick off the new year.
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