Clemson has had a week to recover from its first loss of the season, and one of its top players has had an extra week to recover from any lingering injury effects.
James Mays and the No. 21 Tigers try to bounce back Saturday when they host Samford.
Clemson (10-1) opened the season 10-0 behind an offense which is averaging 81.9 points and has reached the 90-point mark four times. Eight Tigers are averaging six points per game or more, led by junior swingman K.C. Rivers with 16.1.
Rivers had 19 points and Clemson also exceeded its team average Saturday, but it wasn’t enough as the Tigers fell 85-82 to Mississippi in the finals of the San Juan Shootout. They shot 52.6 percent from the field and made nine 3-pointers, but were outrebounded 40-33 - including 23-12 on the offensive glass.
“Our undoing was the offensive glass,” Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. “They’re a gutsy team, I give them a lot of credit.”
Terrence Oglesby scored 20 points - including a 5-for-7 effort from 3-point range - to lead the Tigers. The freshman is averaging 18.8 points over his last four games and was named the ACC rookie of the week on Monday.
Despite the loss, the Tigers got some good news with the return of Mays, who played 16 second-half minutes after missing the previous five games due to a hip strain. Mays, who started the other five games he played in this season, is averaging 12.3 points to tie him with Oglesby for the second-best scoring mark on the team. He was scoreless, though, on two shot attempts against the Rebels.
Mays looks to have a better game against Samford (5-5), which has been idle since a 65-64 win over Ohio Valley Conference rival Murray State on Dec. 20, when senior center Travis Peterson decided the game by making a 3-pointer with .4 seconds remaining.
Because the referee forgot to start the clock, officials met to discuss the basket for approximately three minutes before allowing the shot.
“In all my years of coaching, I’ve never seen an ending like that,” said Samford head coach Jimmy Tillette, whose club won for the third time in its last four games. “I had no clue what the officials were going to do. They couldn’t put .4 back on the clock and tell us to play it again, so they called it the only way they could call it.”
Peterson finished with 15 points and is averaging 14.0 per game - tied with senior guard Joe Ross Merritt for the team lead. Trey Montgomery’s career-high 23 points led the Bulldogs.
This is the first of four straight road games for Samford, which is 1-2 away from home.
Clemson has won both of the previous matchups in this series, including a 96-56 rout at home in 1990.