Tigers, Deacons jostling for early-season footing in ACC race

Three games into the conference season, only N.C. State, Miami remain unbeaten

Clemson forward Devin Booker dunks the ball in the second half of the Tigers's game against Wake Forest at Littlejohn Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson forward Devin Booker dunks the ball in the second half of the Tigers's game against Wake Forest at Littlejohn Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

Both Clemson and Wake Forest will be trying to establish early-season footing in the top half of the ACC when they play tonight at 7 p.m. at Littlejohn Coliseum.

A Clemson victory would even both teams' conference record at 2-2. The Deacons would improve to 3-1 with a win, while the Tigers would slip to 1-3.

Heading into this week's games, N.C. State and Miami share the top spot in the ACC at 3-0. Duke, Florida State and Wake Forest are 2-1 while Clemson, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Boston College are 1-2. Georgia Tech is winless in three ACC games.

On Wednesday, N.C. State plays at Maryland and Boston College is at home against Miami. On Thursday, Georgia Tech visits Duke.

Tonight's Game

Site: Littlejohn Coliseum (10,000)

Tipoff Time: 7:02 PM

Radio: Clemson Tiger Sports Network (Pete Yanity - play-by-play; Tim Bourret - color)

TV: ESPNU (Tom Hart - play-by-play, Cory Alexander - color)

The Series

Overall: Wake Forest leads 98-55

at Clemson: Clemson leads 37-36

at Littlejohn: Clemson leads 23-19

at Wake Forest: Wake Forest leads 52-13

at Neutral: Wake Forest leads 10-5

First Meeting: Wake won, 40-34, in 1925-26

Last Meeting: Clemson won, 78-58, in 2011-12

Streak: Clemson has won three straight

Noteworthy

• Clemson and Wake Forest will meet for the 154th time in the series on Tuesday. The Demon Deacons hold a 98-55 lead in the series, but the Tigers are 23-19 over the years against Wake Forest in Littlejohn Coliseum.

• Clemson swept Wake Forest last season, which included the program’s first win at Lawrence Joel Coliseum since winning in the facility’s first season of existence, 1989-90. This will be the only meeting between the two teams this season.

• The Tigers are coming off their first ACC win of the 2012-13 season, a 59-44 triumph over Virginia on Saturday. Clemson shot 77 percent in the second half and rode the play of seniors Devin Booker (15 points, 9 rebounds) and Milton Jennings (21 points, 11 rebounds) to the win.

• Wake Forest is 2-1 in the ACC, with its only loss at No. 1 ranked Duke on Jan. 5. The Deacons are coming off a pair of home wins over Virginia and Boston College.

• Clemson is bidding for its fourth straight win over Wake Forest. The Tigers have not defeated the Demon Deacons four straight times since Cliff Ellis’ teams won five straight from 1988-90.

• The Tigers shot 77 percent in the second half against Virginia, the highest percentage for a half since Clemson made 85 percent of its attempts at home in 2010-11 against Georgia Tech in Brad Brownell’s first season.

• Milton Jennings recorded his highest career point total against an ACC team with 21 in the Tigers’ last outing against Virginia. He added 11 rebounds and made a career-best 5-of-8 from three-point range. The 21 points tied for a single-game high by a Clemson player this season.

• Devin Booker was one rebound shy of a third straight double-double to open ACC play. He has scored at least 12 in each ACC game, with a high of 19 versus Florida State on Jan. 5.

• Starting point guard Rod Hall committed no turnovers in 36 minutes against Virginia, and now owns a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio this season (55-to-22). His figure would be sixth-best in school history if the season ended today.

• K.J. McDaniels had three blocks against Virginia, and is bidding to become the first Tiger to lead the team in both blocks and steals since Greg Buckner in 1994-95.

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