Feb. 7, 2006
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Virginia Tech at ClemsonFebruary 8, 2006
Clemson is playing the second of four consecutive gamesagainst teams it is playing for the first time this year. In thecase of North Carolina (last Saturday), at Boston College onSaturday and the Maryland game on Feb. 14, it is the only gameClemson will play against those teams this year. Clemson facesVirginia Tech at Blacksburg on March 1. Clemson and Virginia Techsplit a pair of two-point games last year that both came down tothe last possession. Clemson won at Clemson on a dunk by SharrodFord at the buzzer to win 66-64, quite a way for Ford to concludehis “Senior Night.” Clemson has two leaders in ACC stat categories.Shawan Robinson leads the conference in free throw shooting (.933)and Vernon Hamilton leads the league in steals (2.64). Robinson hasmade 15 consecutive free throws and his .933 percentage for theseason is on pace to be the third best single season percentage inACC history, the best in Clemson history. Wednesday’s game willfeature the ACC team that leads the conference and ranks third inthe nation in steals, Clemson at 11.14 per game, against the ACCteam that commits the fewest turnovers per game, Virginia Tech at11.5. Clemson has forced 19.2 turnovers a game, 2nd best in theACC. Clemson has struggled from the foul line as a team this year,but made 20-27 last week, 74.1 percent. Clemson’s defense forced 41turnovers in two games last week, thanks to 24 steals. But theTigers lost both games by double digits. Akin Akingbala had adouble-double in the loss to North Carolina, as the senior fromNigeria had 12 points and 10 rebounds. It was his third careerdouble-double, but his first against an ACC foe. He is now shooting59.89 percent from the field for his career, second best in Clemsonhistory. Akingbala is on pace to reach the “30-30 defensive club”.He has 31 blocks and 25 steals so far this year. He is trying tobecome the first member of the 30-30 club since Andrius Jurkunas in1995-96. Virginia Tech point guard Jamon Gordon leads the ACC inassist/turnover ratio. Clemson point guard Vernon Hamilton leadsthe ACC in steals. This is Clemson’s second home game since January15. The Tigers have four of their last seven games at home. Onlyone (Boston College) of the final seven opponents is ranked in theAP or USA Today top 25. A victory over Virginia Tech would be the15th victory of the season a win that would make Clmson eligiblefor postseason play. Clemson won its 15th game to clinch postseason eligibility vs. Virginia Tech last year.
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