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Men’s Basketball To Host Georgia Tech Saturday On Senior Day

Men’s Basketball To Host Georgia Tech Saturday On Senior Day

Feb. 27, 2004

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Clemson on “Senior Day”

Clemson will have two seniors playing in their final regularseason home game on Saturday afternoon when the Tigers face GeorgiaTech for a Noon tip. It will be the final home game for scholarshipsenior Chris Hobbs and walk-on senior Beau Shay. Here are somenotes on Clemson Senior Days: Overall, Clemson is 64-28 in thefinal regular season home game (Senior Day) over the years, a .703winning percentage. One of Clemson’s greatest upset victories inhistory took place on Senior Day in 1931. On Valentine’s Day of1931 Clemson upset Kentucky and first year head coach Adolph Ruppby a 29-26 score in the final home game of the season. ThatKentucky team finished with a 15-3 record, and the Tigers finishedjust 6-7. Both teams were in the Southern Conference in those days.Clemson has had some other remarkable victories on Senior Days overthe years. On February 28, 1970, 34 years ago to the day ofSaturday’s game, Butch Zatezalo scored 25 points on 11-20 shootingin a 105-94 Clemson victory over Wake Forest. That ended anine-game losing streak for Clemson, including a 12-game losingstreak in ACC games. Clemson also ended a nine-game losing streaktwo years later on Senior Day with a 59-40 victory over Duke. Themost important victory on Senior Day for the Tiger program came in1989-90 when Clemson defeated duke 97-93 to clinch at least a tiefor the ACC Regular Season Championship. That is still the only ACCregular season crown in Clemson history. All-time leading scorerElden Campbell was a senior in his final home game that day.Clemson is 14-7 over the last 31 years in “Senior Day” gamesagainst ACC teams, a 66.7 percent winning percentage. Clemson haswon just 33 percent of its ACC games during that time span, so itdoes appear that “Senior Day” has a positive impact. Clemson hasbeen very successful on “Senior Day” since the 1971-72 season. Inthat time, the Tigers are 25-7 in the final home game of theregular season. That record includes a couple of years when Clemsondid not have a senior, most recently 1995-96. Last year, Clemsonlost to NC State 63-60 on Senior Day. Clemson had five scholarshipseniors last year led by All-ACC guard Edward Scott. Four ofClemson’s seven “Senior Day” losses since 1972 have come to top 10ACC teams. The only unranked teams to beat Clemson on “SeniorNight” since 1972 are Georgia Tech (1993), Florida State (2001),and NC State last year. The Pack was not ranked, but did go on tothe NCAA Tournament last year. That is the only time Clemson hasfaced NC State on Senior Day. Two years ago, Edward Scott had oneof the finest performances in Clemson history on a “Senior Day” ashe scored 36 points and had eight rebounds. However, it was notScott’s “Senior Day”, as he was a junior for that game. JamarMcKnight was the only senior that year.

BASKETBALL FANS CAN DONATE TO CLEMSON STUDENT EMERGENCY FUND Fans attending the Clemson-Georgia Tech basketball game on Saturday, February 28, at 12 noon in Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum, can make a donation to the Clemson University Student Emergency Fund.

This fund will assist the 150 Clemson University students who were displaced by a fire on Wednesday evening at the University Ridge Apartments. Checks should be made payable to the “Clemson University Foundation”, and earmarked for “Student Emergency Fund, will be collected at the Guest Services booth located on the concourse level in Littlejohn Coliseum.

The students do not need any clothing, however, the financial support will help them to replace computers, textbooks, etc… The Clemson Family appreciates everyone’s support during the past three days.

Clemson vs. Georgia Tech on Senior Night

Clemson has an 8-2 record against Georgia Tech on Senior Day.The last time the two teams met on Clemson’s Senior Day was 1998-99season when Clemson won 92-64 over a Bobby Cremins coached GeorgiaTech team. Senior Terrell McIntyre had 22 points and 10 assists,while senior Tony Christie had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Hisbrother Chey is a junior starter on this Clemson team. Clemson’slast loss to Tech on Senior Day took place in 1992-93, a 66-59 Techvictory in Littlejohn Coliseum. Tech held Clemson senior and futureNBA player Chris Whitney to 3-16 shooting, including 1-11 shootingfrom three-point land and posted the victory. Clemson had won theearlier meeting in the season at Tech, behind 20 points by Whitney,one of the few times the visiting team won both games in theseries. The Clemson record for points scored on a “Senior Day” by asenior is 37 by Garry Helms on Feb. 22, 1966 in a 106-90 Clemsonwin over Georgia Tech. That was the first time the two schools meton Clemson’s Senior Day. He scored on 16-20 field goals (best everby a Clemson player given a minimum of 20 attempts) and 5-6 freethrows in his final home game in Fike Fieldhouse. That is still themost points ever in a game by a Clemson forward regardless of thespecial day or site. The only other 30-point game by a Clemsonsenior on “Senior Day” took place in 1987 when Horace Grant had 30points and 20 rebounds in an 88-77 victory over Georgia Tech. GregBuckner came close in his last game, a 29-point performance in1998, also against Georgia Tech.

Chris Hobbs Career Highlights Here are some items of interest on Chris Hobbs, Clemson’s only scholarship season who will be playing his final home game as a Tiger this Saturday:

Captain of the 2003-04 Clemson team. Ranks 12th in Clemsonhistory in career field goal percentage with a 53.4 mark (min. of200 made field goals). *Has shot at least 50 percent from the fieldall four years he has been at Clemson. On pace to become just thesixth player in Clemson history to make at least 50 percent of hisfield goal attempts for four straight years (given a minimum of 100attempts each year). The other Clemson players who have shot atleast 50 percent for four straight years are Colon Abraham(1974-78), Elden Campbell (1986-90), Horace Grant (1983-87), andHarold Jamison (1995-99). Ranked 11th in Clemson history in careerrebounds with 668. He is in a Mahaffey sandwich on that list andprobably will finish his career at #11. He is currently above TommyMahaffey (649) and Donnie Mahaffey (666) and below Randy Mahaffey(706) and Richie Mahaffey (707) on the all-time list. First Clemsonplayer to play in three victories over North Carolina in a careersince 1976-80 era when Bobby Conrad played in three wins over theTar Heels. Had a streak of 41 consecutive games with at least oneoffensive rebound over the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. Has 12career double-doubles, only Scott May of North Carolina has moreamong active ACC players. Only player in Clemson history with aperfect 100 percent three-point shooting percentage. He is 1-1 fromlong range, a made three-pointer at South Carolina last year whenhe was actually attempting a lob pass to a teammate. Wears the #43because it is Shaquille O’Neal’s number backwards. Both his parentsare North Carolina graduates.

Hobbs Has Played Well vs. Tech Chris Hobbs will play his final home game as a Clemson Tiger when he participates against Georgia Tech on Saturday. Hobbs has had some success against the Yellow Jackets in his career.

Two years ago, on January 5, 2002, Hobbs, then a sophomore scored 25 points on 9-15 shooting and added 10 rebounds, including five offensive, in Clemson’s 83-76 victory. That is still tied for the second highest scoring game of his 113-game Clemson career. It is one of his 12 career double-doubles. In fact, he has had just one 20-point scoring game since then, a 24-point effort later that sophomore season in a 118-115 win over Wake Forest.

For his career, Hobbs has averaged 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds against Tech. He has made 21-44 shots from the field and 15-26 free throws. He has played seven games versus Tech, all in a starting role. He has two career double-doubles against Georgia Tech in Alexander. As a freshman in 2000-01 he had 10 points and 10 rebounds on 4-4 shooting in just 18 minutes in a Georgia Tech victory. Earlier this year in Atlanta he had seven points and seven rebounds in a seven-point Georgia Tech victory.

Five Tigers Have Had Big Games vs. Georgia Tech While Chris Hobbs has played well against Georgia Tech over his career, Chey Christie, Olu Babalola, Shawan Robinson and Sharrod Ford have also had landmark games against the Yellow Jackets.

Last year, Christie had 25 points on 9-15 shooting (ironically the same shooting stats Hobbs had at Tech in 2002) to lead Clemson in scoring in a 69-67 win over Tech at Clemson. His nine field goals in that game are also a career high for the junior from Hartford, CT.

Babalola had 17 points on 7-9 shooting at Tech last year in a 10-point Tech win. It is the best field goal shooting game of Babalola’s career. He has reached that point total just three times since then, including a 22-point effort against Wake Forest earlier this year.

Ford had 19 points and 13 rebounds at Georgia Tech earlier this year, one of his six double-doubles in his junior season. He made 9-11 free throws in that game, a career high, and had a career high seven offensive rebounds.

Robinson had 21 points in just 28 minutes at Georgia Tech in the first meeting this year. It is one of his three 20-point scoring games this year.

Thus, Clemson has four different players on its roster for Saturday’s game who have had at least 19 points in a game against Georgia Tech and a fifth who has had his best career shooting night against the Yellow Jackets.

Tigers Looking for Third Win over Top 20 Team Clemson will be looking for its third win over a top 20 team (AP or USA Coach’s) when Georgia Tech comes to Littlejohn Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets are ranked 18th by Associated Press and 20th by the ESPN Coach’s poll this week. Clemson already has beaten a 12th ranked North Carolina team and a 13th ranked NC State team at Littlejohn Coliseum this year.

A third victory at home over a top 20 team would be quite an accomplishment, especially in a program under a first-year head coach. If Clemson defeats Georgia Tech on Saturday, this Clemson team would join just three other Clemson teams with at least three home wins over top 20 teams in the same season. Clemson has not had three home wins over top 20 teams since the 1979-80 season when Clemson had six top 20 wins at home, an all-time record. Clemson had three top 20 wins at home in the same year in 1974-75 and 1978-79.

As said above, Clemson already has two top 20 wins at home this year, the first time that has happened since 2001-02 when Clemson beat a fifth ranked Virginia team and a 17th ranked Wake Forest team that year.

As far as top 20 wins in a season regardless of site, a victory on Saturday would give Clemson three in a season for the first time since the 1996-97 season. Clemson had four top 20 wins that year, two over Maryland (home and away), a victory at a neutral site over third-ranked Kentucky, and a victory at home against Duke. Clemson also defeated a 25th ranked Virginia team in Charlottesville that year.

Saturday’s game will be Clemson’s 10th against a team ranked in the top 25 of the AP poll entering the game. Clemson is 2-7 against Top 25 teams entering the Georgia Tech game. Tech is ranked 18th in AP and 20 in the Coach’s poll. This is the first time since the 2000-01 season that Clemson has played at least 10 top 25 teams in the same season. Clemson played a record 13 top 25 teams that year. Clemson had a 1-12 record that year against top 25 teams. Ironically, the only win was over a #1 ranked North Carolina team.

This will be just the eighth time in history that Clemson has played 10 top 25 teams in the same season.

Clemson Has Three Wins over Top 25 RPI Teams Clemson already has three wins over teams currently ranked in the top 25 of the latest RPI rankings and four over top 50 teams. A victory would give Clemson a fourth win over a current RPI top 25 team. Clemson already has wins over current top 25 RPI teams NC State (11th), North Carolina (16th ) and Boston College (22nd). Clemson also has a victory over top 50 team in Florida State (41st).

A look to the latest RPI rankings shows that Clemson has as many wins over teams currently in the RPI top 25 as 13 of the top 20 teams. That includes Saturday’s opponent, Georgia Tech, who also has three wins over current top 25 teams.

Clemson has more top 25 wins than St. Joseph’s (2), Stanford (2), Mississippi State (1), Gonzaga (0), Oklahoma State (2), Southern Illinois (0), Florida (2), Alabama (1), Memphis (1) and Kansas (0). Clemson joins Texas, UCONN and Georgia Tech with three wins over current top 25 teams.

Ford Goes Over 100 Blocked Shots Clemson junior center Sharrod Ford had four blocked shots at Maryland, giving him 58 for the season and 103 for his career. Ford became just the seventh player in Clemson history to go over the 100-mark in blocked shots with that performance at the ACC school closest to his hometown of Suitland, Maryland.

Ford ranks 23rd in the nation and second in the ACC in blocked shots per game this week with a 2.32 average. He has made a strong improvement in that area this year. As a sophomore he had just 19 blocks all year. He has already tripled the figure this year.

Ford is now seventh in Clemson history in blocked shots with his 103 total. He just recently moved ahead of Larry Nance, who had 98. That is saying something because Nance went on to be the number-one shot blocking forward in NBA history.

Clemson has had a history of outstanding shot blockers, led by Elden Campbell and Sharone Wright join Rollins in the top 10 in ACC history in blocked shots per game.

First Meeting vs. Georgia Tech in 2003-04Georgia Tech 76, Clemson 69 January 27, 2004 at Atlanta, GA Shawan Robinson scored a career high 21 points and Sharrod Ford added a double-double, but it was not enough to counter B.J. Elder’s 36-point performance in Georgia Tech’s 76-69 victory over Clemson at Cremins Court at Alexander Coliseum. Elder’s scoring output is still the highest by an ACC player this year.

Georgia Tech, ranked 14th in the nation in the AP poll entering the game, improved to 16-3 overall, 4-2 in the ACC and 10-0 at home. It was the closest any team has come to beating the Yellow Jackets at home at the time. Clemson fell to 8-10 overall, 1-6 in the ACC.

Clemson shot just 35.5 percent from the field, 29 percent on three-point goals and committed 19 turnovers, yet gave the Yellow Jackets a 40-minute game. Clemson won the battle of the boards, 44-31, and forced 14 turnovers. The game was tied five times and there were four lead chances. Clemson outscored Georgia Tech 18-8 in terms of second chance points.

Clemson held Tech point guards Jarrett Jack and Will Bynum to 3-15 shooting from the field and just 15 total points. Bynum had averaged 20 points per game over his last three games. Isma’il Muhammad, a double digit scorer this season, had just three points.

Elder eclipsed his previous career high of 25 points early in the second half and his 36 points were the most by a Tech player in 10 years. It was just one point off the Tech record for points scored in an ACC game, and it was the most points scored against Clemson since February of 2002 when Craig Dawson of Wake Forest scored 38 against the Tigers in a 118-115 Clemson double overtime victory.

“We allowed him to get on a roll,” said Clemson Head Coach Oliver Purnell. “He is such a good player that once he gets on a roll he is very confident. He hit many big shots and when he went inside we had match-up problems. We played four different players on him over the course of the game. He was outstanding, obviously the best player on the court tonight.”

Robinson’s 21 points included a stretch of 11 consecutive points late in the game, his longest stretch of consecutive points since he has been at Clemson. He also added three rebounds and three assists in his 28 minutes as a starter. Ford’s performance included 19 points, and 13 rebounds, including a career high seven off the offensive boards. He also blocked two shots and made 9-11 free throws. Chey Christie added nine points and five rebounds, while Chris Hobbs had seven points and seven rebounds. He had three offensive rebounds, the 38th consecutive game he has at least one offensive rebound. Clemson had 20 offensive rebounds as a team and all eight players had at least one in the contest. Tech had just nine offensive rebounds.

Clemson withstood a torrid shooting first half by Tech. The Yellow Jackets made 15-26 from the field for 57.7 percent, including 5-9 on three-point shots. Elder had 20 of the 40 Tech points at intermission. Tech held a 40-34 lead at intermission. Clemson had nine points from Ford in the first half, while Robinson and Lamar Rice added six apiece. Clemson held a 21-17 lead in the first half after Robinson hit the first of his three three-point goals. Clemson cut the lead to 40-38 to open the second half on a jumper by Christie. It was still a four-point game at 51-47 on a jumper by Olu Babalola with 12 minutes remaining. But, once again, Elder took the game into his own hands. He had a spurt where he scored 11 straight Tech points during the first half. He then trumped that with a 12-point spurt in a 3:49 time frame to bring Tech to a 65-51 lead with 6:44 left.

Clemson would not give up, however, and cut the margin to 71-65 with 1:48 remaining on an old fashioned three-point play by Sharrod Ford. Clemson cut the lead to six points twice more down the stretch before the contest ended in a seven-point margin. Tech made six free throws inside the last 3:30 to ice the game.

Clemson vs. Georgia Tech Series

Georgia Tech has a 52-50 lead in the series with Clemson.Clemson won the meeting at Clemson last year, 69-67, but Tech wonthe game at Tech by a 66-56 score. Tech won earlier this year byseven points in Atlanta. Tech swept Clemson in Paul Hewitt’s firstyear at Georgia Tech, the first time the Yellow Jackets swept theTigers since 1985-86. Clemson has a 34-13 lead in games played atClemson and a 25-6 margin in games in Littlejohn Coliseum,. Clemsonhas won 14 of the last 17 between the two teams played at Clemson.The two teams played a road-win split series in 2001-02, but thishas been a home-team series, perhaps the most home-team-dominatedseries in the ACC the last 18 years. The home team has won 28 ofthe last 35 meetings. Ironically, twice during this time there hasbeen a road win split, 1992-93 and in 2001-02. Clemson’s only sweepin the series since 1987 took place in 1996-97, Clemson’s Sweet 16NCAA Tournament season. Clemson won 55-53 in Atlanta that year.Clemson has just four wins at Georgia Tech in the last 20 years,including the victory in 2001-02. The 55-53 win in 1996-97, the83-80 win in 1992-93 and the 67-66 win in 1986-87 are the others.Overall, Clemson is 16-37 in games played at Tech. There has been ahome team victory season split 13 times since 1982-83, includinglast year. Clemson won 14 in a row in the series from 1971-72 to1981-82. Tech began play in the ACC in 1979-80, so some of thosegames were non-conference games. The series dates to the 1912-13season, the second year in Clemson basketball history. That year,ironically, Clemson won at Tech, 26-22, but lost at Clemson 29-13.That was the first home loss in Clemson history after four straighthome wins. The two teams played a wild 111-108 game in 2000-01 atClemson, Paul Hewitt’s first year as Tech head coach. Will Solomonscored 41 points for the Tigers, but it was not enough, as Techmade a then record 17 three-point goals in 31 attempts.

Last Year vs. at ClemsonClemson 69, Georgia Tech 67 Feb. 5, 2003 at Clemson, SC Edward Scott added 18, including nine inside the last five minutes, to lead Clemson to a 69-67 victory over Georgia Tech on Feb. 5, 2003. The victory broke a four game losing streak for the Tigers and brought their record to 12-6 for the season.

Scott connected on 3-3 field goals and 2-2 free throws inside the last five minutes as he scored nine of Clemson’s last 13 points. He had six assists and just one turnover in another fine all-around performance. His 12-foot jumper with 21 seconds left proved to be the margin of victory.

Christie hit on 9-15 shots from the field, including 3-6 from three-point range. He also had three steals in playing 36 of the 40 minutes. Those were the only double figure scorers for Clemson. Chris Hobbs added a team best nine rebounds before he fouled out.

Georgia Tech was led by freshman Chris Bosh and Jarrett Jack, who had 15 points apiece. B.J. Elder, who had burned Clemson for 19 points the previous year in a game at Clemson, had just 10.

Clemson shot 44.2 percent from the field, but hit a solid 38.5 on three-point shots. Tech made just 2-15 from long range, but scored on 48.1 percent for the game. Clemson won the rebounding 34-32. The Tigers had just 12 turnovers.

Clemson outscored Tech 24-11 to open the game behind a mixture of shots by Christie. Clemson’s defense also made a difference as the man-to-man alignment forced 13 Tech turnovers for the game off nine Clemson steals. But, Tech battled back behind Bosh and came within three points at intermission, 36-33.

Clemson opened the lead back to seven early in the second half, but Tech eventually tied the game at 53 with 8:10 left on a jumper by Elder. The margin never wavered over four points the rest of the game.

Clemson trailed 65-61 with 3:03 left, but Scott hit a jumper and two free throws to tie the score at 65. It was tied at 67 with 28.4 seconds left when the ball was loose on the floor. Scott called a timeout before he was tied up. Seven seconds later he scored what proved to be the game winner. A three-point attempt by Marvin Lewis missed with one second left and Clemson had the victory.