Word around the press room is that Clemson’s point guard Demontez Stitt is going to start tonight against Georgia Tech. Coach Oliver Purnell said as much in the Clemson pre-game radio show. That sprained left foot that forced Stitt out of the NC State game Saturday has done quite a bit of healing.
Stitt practiced on Monday, in a limited capacity, but looked good during Clemson’s shoot-around this morning, according to some folks from the Clemson sports information office, which prompted ESPN announcer Len Elmore to ask – what foot injury?
So there you have it. Nothing should come easy tonight for the Yellow Jackets and that’s about what you’d expect deep into January and heading into the thick of the ACC schedule. This is Tech’s first home game since the Duke win and the Jackets could use something to prove to themselves they can get a little consistency going.
It’s no secret Derrick Favors has struggled in ACC play and tonight’s matchup inside with both Trevor Booker, the reigning co-ACC player of the week, and Jerai Grant, won’t make it easy on him. Booker scored 21 points in Clemson’s win over Carolina and 20 in their follow-up win over N.C. State.
Then you have Clemson’s press to deal with getting the ball up the court. But if you break it down coming up the court, the entry passes could come easier. Tech looked pretty good against Carolina’s pressure defense, of course Tech looked pretty good a lot of ways in that game on Saturday. The trick now is to bring that into a second consecutive game.
This is Tech’s third nationally ranked opponents in four games. And this is one team that will have some unhappy memories of getting upset by Tech in last year’s ACC tournament 86-81.
Tech would be well-served to get an early lead tonight, for obvious reasons, but here is one more: Clemson has not trailed in a game since the early-going against Boston College. That was three games ago. Not since the Eagles took a 2-0 lead on Clemson in the first minute of that game on Jan. 9 have the Tigers trailed in a game. Rattling them early, especially at home, could go a long way for Tech tonight.