March 12, 2006
Clemson, SC- Clemson will play host to Louisiana Tech on Wednesday evening, March 15 at 7:00 PM at Littlejohn Coliseum in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. Tickets will be available at the Clemson Ticket Office starting on Monday. All seats are general admission and will be priced at $10. Clemson students can purchase a $4 ticket to gain general admission. Tickets are available for purchase online or by calling 1-800-CLEMSON
This is the second consecutive year Clemson has been invited to the NIT, the first time Clemson has made back to back postseason appearances since 1997-98 and 1998-99. Last year Clemson traveled to Texas A&M for the NIT and was defeated, 82-74. This will be Clemson’s first NIT home game since March 18, 1999 when Clemson defeated Butler 89-69 in the quarterfinals. Clemson lost in the finals that year to California 61-60, the furthest Clemson has advanced in the event.
Overall, this is Clemson’s 13th appearance in the NIT and the Tigers have a 10-12 overall record. Clemson first appeared in the NIT in 1975 when all 16 teams played in New York at Madison Square Garden. Clemson lost to Providence 91-86 in that game. Clemson has a 5-3 record at home in NIT games, including victories in each of the last five games played at Littlejohn Coliseum.
This will be the second time Clemson has played Louisiana Tech on the hard court. Clemson won a 50-49 contest in overtime in the 1980 Rainbow Classic in Honolulu. That was the first of three victories for the Tigers on the way to the Rainbow Classic Championship.
The two schools have met in postseason play beforeÂŠon the gridiron. Clemson defeated Louisiana Tech in the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl and the two schools will meet again in football this fall on September 30 at Clemson.
Louisiana Tech enters the game with a 20-12 record overall and an 11-5 record in the Western Athletic Conference The Bulldogs have played non-conference games against Nebraska, Alabama, Texas Tech, Memphis, Wisconsin and Southern Illinois. They defeated a Southern Illinois team that is in the NCAA Tournament, 54-51.
Like Clemson, Louisiana Tech won four of its last five conference games to end the season. They defeated Boise State, 75-64 in the first round of the WAC Tournament before losing to Utah State in the second round, 68-64.
Paul Millsap, a 6-8 forward from Grambling, LA, is the top player on the Louisiana Tech roster with a 19.7 scoring average and a 13.4 rebound average. He has been among the top five rebounders in the nation all season and paces the club in blocked shots with 75. Corey Dean, a 6-4 guard from Rushton, LA, is second in scoring on the team with a 7.8 average.
Shawan Robinson is Clemson’s top scorer with a 12.2 average. Vernon Hamilton is second on the club with a 12.2 average and Akin Akingbala is third in scoring at 11.7 per game and first in rebounding with an 8.0 figure. Clemson enters the tournament with an 18-12 record, Clemson’s high victory total of a season since 1998-99 when the Tigers won 20 after winning four games in the NIT.
“We are very excited to be selected for the NIT and to have a game at Clemson,” said Head Coach Oliver Purnell. “I am pleased for our entire team, but certainly for the seniors, who will be able to play in Littlejohn Coliseum at least one more time.
“Louisiana Tech is an outstanding team. They have played a very tough schedule and were certainly in the mix to be selected for the NCAA Tournament. Paul Millsap is among the top big men in the nation.”
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