Catching up with Clemson
Clemson (19-7, 7-5 ACC) will enter Comcast Center on Wednesday night riding a three-game winning streak. The Tigers are 3-1 since defeating Maryland, 62-53, on Jan. 31 and now are playing with a healthy Demontez Stitt.
Stitt (6 feet 2, 175 pounds), the team's junior point guard, sat out the last game against Maryland with a sprained left foot. But Stitt is back in the starting lineup now and is working his way back into form.
"I think he's very important," Maryland Coach Gary Williams said of Stitt Monday on the ACC coaches' teleconference. "I've always liked the way he's played because he can advance the ball quickly down the court. I think anytime you can put pressure on a defense, whether it's after you get a rebound or after the other team scores, it's to your advantage because it's harder to set up your drop-back defense. I think he gives them that initially, and then he has the ability to score. Plus he's a savvy defensive player. He knows how to play defense in terms of helping Clemson's pressure, but also their drop-back situation."
In conference play, the Tigers are ranked No. 2 in the ACC in scoring defense (64.2 ppg allowed), No. 1 in three-point percentage defense (23.8 percent allowed) and No. 1 in steals (7.8 spg). They are one of three teams in the ACC (Maryland and Georgia Tech being the other two) that still use full-court pressure defense as a consistent weapon.
Forward Trevor Booker (6-7, 240 pounds) remains Clemson's top offensive asset. He is averaging 15.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. He also is leading the ACC in field goal percentage (50 percent) in conference play.
Forward Jerai Grant (6-8, 220 pounds) is leading the conference in blocks (2.3 per game) in ACC play. Grant had a huge game against Maryland in late January, tallying 18 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Clemson could use a quality road win to boost its NCAA tournament resume, and snatching one at Comcast Center certainly would qualify as such. The Tigers are 1-4 thus far on the road in ACC play.
February 23, 2010; 10:34 AM ET
Categories: Men's basketball
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