Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - The Clemson Tigers tangle with the 17th-ranked
Gonzaga Bulldogs on Thanksgiving night in the opening round of the 2012 Old
The winner with play either Texas-El Paso or Oklahoma in the semifinals on
Friday. The losers will face off in the consolation bracket.
It's been nearly a full week since Clemson has played last, when it went on
the road to take down intrastate rival Furman, 72-55, on Nov. 16. The win
brought the Tigers to 2-0 after they won their opener at home over
Gonzaga has risen to No. 17 in the AP poll thanks to a 3-0 start. It made easy
work of Southern Utah in its opener (103-65), then it continued on to two more
blowouts over West Virginia (84-50) and South Dakota (96-58). The Bulldogs won
this tournament in their first appearance back in 2008.
Gonzaga won the only other meeting between the two programs during the 1997-98
The Tigers have gotten off to a great start to the season, as they are
draining better than 51 percent of their field goal attempts, and their
performance at the defensive end has been even better as their opponents
average just 49.5 ppg. The trend continued against Furman, as Clemson shot 28-
of-57 from the floor and forced 16 turnovers. Devin Booker scored 15 points in
the win, and he was followed closely by K.J. McDaniels (11 points) and
Damarcus Harrison (10 points). Through two games, only Booker (13.0 ppg) and
Milton Jennings (10.5 ppg) average double figures in scoring, but six
different players average between 5.5 and 9.5 ppg. Rod Hall (7.5 ppg) has
impressed with his ball-handling skills by dishing out 11 assists and
committing zero turnovers.
Gonzaga has dominated its first three opponents, as it's shooting a lofty 54.3
percent from the floor while laying claim to an eye-popping +36.6 scoring
margin. It was the same old story against South Dakota the last time out, as
the Bulldogs shot 42-of-76 from the floor (.553) while forcing the Coyotes
into nearly as many turnovers (20) as they had field goals (21). Elias Harris
had a big night in the paint with 16 points and 18 rebounds, and he now
averages a double-double on the season (13.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg). Przemek Karnowski
was nearly perfect on the night, making 9-of-10 field goal attempts en route
to a team-high 20 points. Amazingly, Gonzaga has six players averaging double
figures in points, led by Karnowski (16.0 ppg), Harris, and Gary Bell, Jr.
(13.0). Sam Dower (11.7), Guy Landry Edi (11.3) and Kevin Pangos (11.0, 5.0
apg) round out an incredibly deep squad.
The Sports Network