On short rest, Tigers look to survive and advance in NIT

NIT: Men's Basketball  - A sell-out crowd of 10,000 packed Littlejohn Coliseum for the Tigers' game against Illinois on Sunday morning

Photo by Mark Crammer

NIT: Men's Basketball - A sell-out crowd of 10,000 packed Littlejohn Coliseum for the Tigers' game against Illinois on Sunday morning

CLEMSON, S.C. - With a trip to New York City and the famous Madison Square Garden for the National Invitation Tournament semifinals on the line, Clemson and Belmont square off Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Littlejohn Coliseum. It is the first meeting between the two schools.


CLEMSON (22-12) vs. BELMONT (26-9, 14-2 OVC)

Tipoff: Tuesday, March 25 (7 p.m.)

Tickets: 1-800-CLEMSON or ClemsonTigers.com (http://bit.ly/1hV4IpM)

Radio: CTSN (Pete Yanity-pbp; Tim Bourret-color)

TV: ESPN (Rich Hollenberg-pbp; Jimmy Dykes-color)

• Clemson faces Belmont for the first time Tuesday with the right to advance to New York City for the NIT semifinals on the line.

• Clemson beat Illinois in the second round, 50-49. Rod Hall made the go-ahead layup with 9.3 seconds left. It was the first time since 2009 that Clemson won a game in regulation after trailing heading into the final 10 seconds.

• Sunday’s game was the most attended NIT game this season.


CU Series W-L record: First meeting


• Clemson enters Tuesday’s game ranked atop the NCAA stats in defending the three with a .279 figure. Belmont has made 311 three-pointers, fifth-most in the country. The Bruins shoot it at a .393 rate, 17th-best in the NCAA.

• Belmont made 24-of-25 free throws in their 82-71 home win over Robert Morris to make it here. They made 15 3-pointers to steal a 83-80 win out of North Carolina earlier this season.

• The Bruins rank second nationally in effective field goal percentage (58.4), shooting 50.2 percent in over 70 possessions a game. Clemson is 3-1 against top-50 eFG% teams, including last week's win over Georgia State. They were seconds away from being 4-0 with a second win over Duke.

• Belmont is top-20 in offensive points per possession (1.15) to Clemson's top-20 defense in the stat (0.93). Clemson is 19-1 when holding an opponent below a point per possession. Clemson is 4-4 against top-50 PPP teams, and held their last two opponents to 0.89.

• The Tigers can set a school record Tuesday by winning their sixth game in the month of March. Clemson matched the school record of five, held by the 2006-07 team that advanced to the NIT championship game, with Sunday’s win over Illinois.

• Sunday’s win over Illinois was Clemson’s first this season when trailing with one minute left in regulation.

• The Tigers have blocked nine shots in each of their first two NIT games and are leading the ACC in the category at 6.1 per game.

• K.J. McDaniels became the 21st underclassman and 37th player overall in school history to reach 1,000 career points in Clemson’s most recent game.


• Clemson has never faced Belmont, but Head Coach Brad Brownell is familiar with Rick Byrd’s program. His Wright State program played the Bruins twice, winning both meetings.

• In 2007, Brownell’s Wright State team took down Byrd’s Belmont squad in the Dr. Pepper Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Raiders won in overtime, 78-74.

• The two programs then met in the 2009 AIA Classic in Seattle, and Wright State won 82-73.


• For the fourth time this season, Clemson plays an opponent on one day of preparation. Clemson is 2-1 in the games the Tigers have faced the scenario. Most recently, Clemson beat Miami 58-54 on March 4 two days after a double overtime win over Maryland.


• Playing in the NIT has helped prepare past Clemson teams for an NCAA bid the following year. Five times that Clemson has played in the NIT, the Tigers went to the NCAA the following year.

• After making the final in 2007, Clemson ended a 10-year NCAA drought the following year as a five-seed in the “Big Dance.”

• When Clemson appeared in the 1995 NIT with a young team, it set the foundation for three straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament. The same occurred in 2007, as Clemson made four straight appearances in the national tourney following a march to the championship final of the NIT that season.

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