CLEMSON - Tuesday marks the last home game of the year for the Clemson men’s basketball team, which means it’s the last time senior forwards Devin Booker and Milton Jennings will suit up at Littlejohn Coliseum as college players.
But aside from the trappings of Senior Night is the stark reality that the 2012-13 season is now low on games and low on chances for the Tigers to end on a high note.
“None of us are happy with the way this year has finished,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “I think we’ve come out every night and given good effort but sometimes our deficiencies come out and hurt us.”
Clemson (13-15, 5-11 ACC) and Boston College (13-16, 5-11) are two of four teams tied for eighth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings, and they square off here at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
By the end of the weekend one of those teams could very well be in last place in the league - and get the worst possible seed heading into the ACC tourney in Greensboro, N.C.
Neither Jennings nor Booker wants any part of the worst-case scenario.
“It’s super important to go out of here with a win,” Jennings said. “I want everybody to be on board because this is a big game for us. I’ve been in three other Senior Night games and we’ve never lost, and I don’t want to know what losing that game feels like.”
Booker says the emotions of his last game at Littlejohn probably won’t kick in until the game begins.
“I guess it really hasn’t hit me yet,” Booker said on Monday. “It’s just like any other game. I want to go out there and leave everything on the court. But I know it’ll be an emotional day and a crazy experience.”
The Tigers are coming off Saturday’s 69-61 road loss to Virginia Tech, which currently occupies the cellar in the ACC with a 4-12 conference mark.
The Eagles – who defeated Clemson in Chestnut Hill 75-68 on Feb.2 - upset Virginia at home on Sunday, 53-52.
Freshman guard Joe Rahon scored 15 points to pace the winners and hit what proved to be the game-winning 3-pointer with eight seconds remaining in the game.
Rahon is the third leading scorer on the team with 10 points per game.
Sophomore forward Ryan Anderson and freshman guard Olivier Hanlan are the top scorers on average for BC with 15 and 14.3 points per game.
Booker leads Clemson in scoring with 13 points per game and also contributes 7.8 rebounds each night.
K.J. McDaniels scores 10.7 points per outing, although he missed the last two games due to a sprained ankle. He isn’t expected to play Tuesday, either.
“He still hasn’t practiced,” Brownell said. “His recovery hasn’t gone as well as we’d have liked.”
Jennings chips in 10.1 points per game as well as 6.6 boards.
Brownell hopes his two seniors can go out in style in front of the home fans.
“Devin has a chance to be an All-ACC performer and has been a fixture at our low post for a long time,” Brownell said. “And Milton has played pretty well and is a better shooter than he’s shown. He plays the game smartly. I have good thoughts about these guys. They really care about this program.”
The game will be televised on FSCR.