Clemson turned in its most impressive performance of the season by shutting down a team with numerous offensive options. Now it has to try to defeat an opponent with virtually only one.
The 10th-ranked Tigers look to make it four straight wins Saturday when they try to extend their home winning streak to eight games over Florida State, which features high-scoring guard Toney Douglas.
Clemson (19-2, 5-2 ACC) enjoyed one of the best performances in college basketball this season by any team Wednesday with its 74-47 rout of No. 4 Duke. The Blue Devils had not been held below 66 points all season before managing 16 baskets and being outrebounded 41-30 by the Tigers.
“I know a lot of people saw this game and know we’re for real now,” Clemson forward Trevor Booker said.
The Tigers should be confident about their chances against Florida State (17-5, 4-3), which ranks last in the ACC with 68.2 points per game. Douglas is the only Seminole who averages in double figures with 20.2 points per game, and he leads the ACC with a 24.0 scoring average in conference games.
“We are not a great offensive team - call it like it is,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We’re a team with Toney and a lot of guys who can score six, seven, nine, 10 points a game.”
Douglas averaged 19.5 points as Florida State split its two meetings with Clemson last season, including its seventh straight loss at Littlejohn Coliseum, 97-85 in double overtime. The Seminoles haven’t won there since March 3, 2001.
The Tigers seem to be a much-improved team over last season’s club that won 24 games and earned the program’s first NCAA tournament berth in 10 years. Clemson is in the rare position of being a contender for the ACC title, sitting one-half game behind Duke and No. 3 North Carolina.
“We’re starting to consider ourselves at the top of the conference,” Tigers guard Terrence Oglesby said.
Clemson’s defense has been outstanding, leading the ACC with 9.7 steals per game. K.C. Rivers had a career-high seven steals in Wednesday’s win.
Although the Tigers use a balanced attack on offense, Booker has come on strong over the last three games, averaging 17.7 points and 10.7 boards.
While Booker does his damage inside, Rivers and Oglesby provide the perimeter scoring. Oglesby is second in the ACC with 60 3-pointers while Rivers is ninth with 43.
Florida State, meanwhile, relies almost exclusively on Douglas. The senior guard shook off a difficult first half and scored 16 of his 21 points after the break to lead the Seminoles to a 62-58 win over Georgia Tech on Thursday.
“I could be 0-for-10, but I know my shot will be coming along,” Douglas said. “That’s what I do every day in the gym.”
Last season, Clemson’s 3-point shooting was a major factor against Florida State. The Tigers made 13 3-pointers, including six by Oglesby, in their home win over the Seminoles, but were 3-of-27 from beyond the arc in a 64-55 loss in Tallahassee on Feb. 19.