Nov. 28, 2003
Clemson, SC – Tigers Face Wofford Saturday
Clemson will play host to Wofford on Saturday at Littlejohn Coliseum at 2:00 PM. It will be the fifth straight year the two teams have met. Clemson holds a 44-14 lead in the series that dates to the first season in Clemson history. Clemson won last year’s contest 79-72 at the Civic Center of Anderson behind 19 points apiece from Chris Hobbs and Edward Scott. It was the season opener for both teams.
Wofford enters the game with a 1-1 record, an 81-70 loss at Tennessee on November 21, and an 88-42 romp over Emmanuel College on November 24. Adrien Borders is the top score for Mike Young’s team with a 12.0 average, while Justin Stephens is a 10.0 scorer as a reserve.
Both Clemson and Wofford have shown balance in the early season. Wofford averages 79 points per game, but does not have a player with over a 12-point average. But, the Terriers have 10 players averaging five points or more per game. Clemson is scoring 87 points per game and has six players scoring between eight and 16 points per game.
Clemson has a 2-0 record with wins over Gardner-Webb and High Point. The Tigers are shooting 53 percent from the field and has a +15.5 rebounding margin with 41 assists, 17 blocked shots and 21 steals in the two games combined.
Clemson’s top scorer is Chris Hobbs with a 16.0 average and a 8.0 rebound average. Sharrod Ford is averaging a double-double with 12.5 points and 10 rebounds per game. Chey Christie is the second leading scorer with a 14.5 average, up from his 11.5 average of last year.
Last Year vs. Wofford
Clemson opened its 2002-03 season with a 79-72 victory over Wofford. Chris Hobbs both scored 19 points to lead the Tigers. It would be Hobbs’s high scoring game of the year. The 6-7, 260-pounder had seven offensive rebounds and eight total.
Ray Henderson came off the bench to pull down 12 rebounds, as Clemson won the rebound margin 46-35, including 21 offensive rebounds. Clemson had just 11 turnovers for the entire game and forced 16.
Wofford stayed in the game thanks to outstanding three-point shooting. The Terriers hit 10-23 from long range, while Clemson made just 1-9. Over the last two years Wofford has outscored Clemson from three-point land 75-9, but Clemson has won both games. Clemson held a 49-34 lead at intermission as Sharrod Ford and Scott had 11 points apiece. Clemson had a +9 rebound margin and hit 54 percent from teh field. The Tigers had just four turnovers on offense.
Clemson opened the lead to 52-34 in the early going of the second half before Wofford made a strong run. The Terriers connected on four straight three-point goals during a seven-minute period and cut the lead to 56-52 with 13:40 left. The margin moved between four and nine points the rest of the game. Wofford was down just five (74-69) with 1:48 left, but Chris Hobbs scored on a layup off a feed from Ford, and Edward Scott and Chey Christie made 3-4 free throws inside the last 30 seconds to ice the game for the Tigers.
Clemson made just 62.5 percent of its free throws, but did make more free throws than Wofford attempted. The Terriers made 39 percent from the field overall, but 43 percent from three-point range (10-23).
Clemson Downs High Point, 88-81
Clemson won its second straight game to open the season when it defeated High Point, 88-81 on Monday night, November 24 at Littlejohn Coliseum. All five starters scored in double figures for Clemson, who shot at least 55 percent from the field in both halves.
Sharrod Ford scored 17 points, had 11 rebounds and five blocked shots in one of his most efficient games as a Clemson player. He was 8-12 from the field for his 33 minutes of play.
Chris Hobbs had his second consecutive outstanding game on offense with 15 points and six rebounds. Hobbs hit 6-9 field goals was 3-3 from the foul line. Olu Babalola and Vernon Hamilton had 12 points apiece. Hamilton also had eight assists and four steals in his productive 31 minutes.
Clemson shot 34-60 shots from the field, 56.7 percent. Clemson had 17 assists, 10 blocked shots and 11 steals, but did commit 21 turnovers. The Tigers won the rebound margin, 38-34.
The contest was close throughout. High Point had an 18-14 lead in the first seven minutes, then Clemson went on a 16-4 run to take a 30-22 lead on a layup by Chey Christie.
Clemson held a 45-41 lead at intermission.
Clemson moved the lead to 12 points at 61-49 with 15:18 left on a dunk by Olu Babalola, who scored all 12 of his points in the second half. But, High Point would not go away. High Point cut the lead to three points at 67-64 with 8:10 left in the game. But, Clemson moved the lead back to 10 points with 3:52 left on a jumper from Babalola from the right side. High Point cut the lead to five points at 82-77 with 1:20 left on a score by Zione White, who had 26 points on the night for High Point. But Clemson outscored High Point 6-4 the rest of the way and came away with the win.
All Five Starters in Double Figures
One of the characteristics of Oliver Purnell’s first Clemson team has been balance. Clemson had six double figure scorers in the two exhibition games and now has had five double figure scorers in each of the first two regular season games. The Tigers currently have four players averaging between 12.5-16 points per game and two more averaging between 8-9 points per game.
Clemson had as many as five double figure scorers in a game just twice all of last year. Clemson had six double figure scorers in the win at High Point a year ago, and five in a victory over Coastal Carolina. Over the course of the season Clemson had just two double figure scorers, Edward Scott and Chey Christie.
Tigers Blocking Shots
Clemson has shown an ability to make some plays on defense so far this season. The Tigers had 17 blocked shots and 21 steals in the first two games. Leading the way on terms of blocks is Sharrod Ford who has seven. His 3.5 blocks per game leads the ACC in the young season. Vernon Hamilton have six steals apiece. A year ago, Clemson averaged just 2.6 blocked shots and 7.1 steals per game a year ago.
Ford Records Double-Double
Sharrod Ford has averaged a double-double in the early going this season. The junior center has a 12.5 scoring average and 10.0 rebound average after two games. He had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the win over High Point. That was Ford’s sixth career double-double. He had four last year and one as a freshman.
Ford is now shooting 58.2 percent for his career, has 510 points and 319 rebounds for his 60-game career. He has never missed a game during his Clemson career. Ford ranks second in the ACC in rebounding and first in blocked shots per contest.
Akingbala Already Above Freshman Stats
One of the most improved players on the Clemson team so far this year is Akin Akingbala. The sophomore center has 18 points and 16 rebounds in just 34 minutes for the first two games of the season. All of last season he had 14 points and 17 rebounds, so he has already eclipsed his stats of last season. Akingbala is much more agressive on the inside, as his team leading five dunks will attest.
Hobbs Leads Tigers in Opener
Chris Hobbs, the only scholarship senior on the Clemson team, got his final season off to a great start in the win over Gardner-Webb. The native of Chapel Hill, NC had 17 points on 8-12 field goal shooting and pulled in nine rebounds in 22 minutes of play.
That was Hobbs most productive performance since the opener last year when he had 19 points and eight rebounds, including seven offensive, in a win over Wofford.
Hobbs seemed to be much more involved in the offense. His 12 field goal attempts were the most since January 5, 2002 when he had 15 attempts in a 25 point performance at Georgia Tech. He took as many as 10 shots in a game just once all of last year. He is ranked 10th in Clemson history in field goal percentage.
In the second contest of the season against High Point he added 15 points and six rebounds to go with two blocks and a steal in 29 minutes. He shot 6-9 from the field and is now 14-21 for the season.
Hobbs averaged just 6.3 points per game in 2002-03, but he took just 4.6 field goal attempts per game. For his career he now has 777 points and 542 career rebounds. He has 10 career double-doubles, more than any other active ACC player.
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