If its season opener was any indication, Clemson should be fine without two of its top 3-point threats from 2008-09.
The 22nd-ranked Tigers look to win their 28th straight November game as they visit Liberty on Tuesday morning.
Led by K.C Rivers and Terrence Oglesby, Clemson finished third in the ACC in 3-point shooting last season at 37.4 percent. The Tigers don’t have either player this season, after Rivers graduated and Oglesby bypassed his final two years of eligibility to play overseas.
Without them - and the nearly 63 percent of Clemson’s 3-point production they accounted for last season - the Tigers (1-0) hit 14 shots from beyond the arc - two shy of the school record - in Friday’s 84-41 victory over Presbyterian.
“I don’t know that our guys necessarily have the range of some guys we had last year. But most of our threes are up against that line,” said Tigers coach Oliver Purnell, whose team has won 27 in a row in November since a 79-70 loss at Boston College on Nov. 26, 2004. “And until they move it back, we’ve got some guys that can make that shot.”
Led by freshman guard Noel Johnson’s four 3-pointers, a program record-tying eight players hit at least one from long distance Friday. The last time eight Clemson players made at least one 3-pointer was a 105-87 loss at then-No. 7 Virginia on Jan. 22, 1983, when the line was 17 feet, 9 inches.
“I know that K.C. and Terrence were great shooters, but they have Noel, Milton Jennings, Tanner Smith, David Potter, and Andre Young that can all shoot threes,” Presbyterian coach Gregg Nibert said. “We couldn’t stop everything and we were hoping they would miss some of those threes. Their season is very bright.”
Making his first career start, sophomore guard Tanner Smith hit a 3-pointer and led Clemson with 14 points, while senior forward David Potter hit two shots from beyond the arc and scored eight in his first collegiate start.
Senior Trevor Booker, who led the ACC in rebounding and field goal percentage last season, had 11 points and eight boards as Clemson improved to 109-20-1 all-time against the Big South conference, which includes a 4-0 mark versus Liberty (1-1).
Booker scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Demontez Stitt had five points and a career-best 11 assists and the Tigers rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat the Flames 80-75 last Dec. 7.
Seth Curry led Liberty with 24 points in that matchup, but he has since transferred to Duke. With Curry and Anthony Smith gone, first-year coach Dale Layer is searching for ways to replace his team’s top two scorers from 2008-09.
“We’re counting on several guys to pick up the load … we’ve got some good shooters on this club,” Layer told the Flames’ official Web site last week.
Senior forward Kyle Ohman, tied for 23rd in the nation with 100 3-pointers last season, hit four of them and finished with 23 points in Friday’s 76-72 loss at George Mason before scoring 15 versus Southern Virginia in an 89-53 victory on Saturday.
Ohman hit three shots from beyond the arc and scored 15 points against Clemson last season, while teammate Jesse Sanders added 10 with six assists.
This is the teams’ first-ever meeting at Liberty.