For the first time in five years, a Clemson team will try to bounce back from a loss in November.
The 19th-ranked Tigers look to get back on track when they face Long Beach State on Friday in a consolation game of the 76 Classic at Anaheim, Calif.
After a perfect run through its first four games, Clemson (4-1) had its 30-game November winning streak snapped with a 69-60 loss to Texas A&M in Thursday’s opening round. The defeat came five years to the day the Tigers last lost in the month, 79-70 at Boston College on Nov. 26, 2004.
Shooting 49.6 percent coming into the contest, Clemson shot 33.9 for the game - including 7 for 29 in the first 20 minutes - and trailed by as many as 17 early in the second half before using a 13-4 run to get back in the game.
The Aggies also held a 41-12 advantage over the Tigers in bench scoring.
“We came out in the first half and missed shots. We quit,” said forward Trevor Booker, who had a game-high 18 points and six rebounds. “We tried to come back in the second half but we just couldn’t.”
Despite the poor start, Clemson coach Oliver Purnell was satisfied with his squad’s perseverance by outscoring the Aggies 40-36 in the second half. He hopes that can carry over to this contest and the rest of the tournament.
“I was pleased with our approach and effort in the second half,” Purnell said. “If we come out with that kind of approach and discipline for the rest of the season, then we’ll learn from that.”
Averaging 14.6 points and 9.2 boards, the 6-foot-7 Booker could be in for another big night as Clemson faces Long Beach State (3-2) for the first time.
Greg Plater and Stephan Gilling each had 14 points as the 49ers shot 41.9 percent and committed 22 turnovers in an 85-62 loss to No. 8 West Virginia on Thursday.
Despite being considered a favorite to win the Big West title, Long Beach State has lost 14 in a row against Top 25 opponents since beating No. 25 New Mexico State 84-83 on Feb. 24, 1994.
While coach Dan Monson - in his third season at Long Beach State after more high-profiled stops at Gonzaga and Minnesota - knows his team faces a huge challenge in this contest, he hopes the competition he faces this weekend will pay off down the road.
“We need to understand that these games are for us to get better, and I don’t think you can get better with a steady diet of playing teams that you’re already better than,” Monson told the 76 Classic’s official Web site. “You’ve got to challenge yourself.”
In order to have a chance Friday, the 49ers will likely need sophomore guard Larry Anderson to bounce back from a rough first-round contest.
Averaging a team-leading 18.8 points heading into Thursday’s game, Anderson missed all three shots he took and finished with five points against West Virginia.