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January 15, 2008The North Carolina State men's basketball team knows it can't let the same team defeat them two straight games.
No, NC State isn't playing North Carolina again. However, if the Wolfpack allow the negative spirit of last Saturday's 93-62 drubbing continue to hover over them, the result will be the same.
NC State hopes to wipe the slate clean tonight at No. 24-ranked Clemson at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net South.
"We know it's going to be a big battle too [playing Clemson], and we have to come back and rebound from this loss," NC State freshman center J.J. Hickson said. "I know they will press a lot. We just have to hit shots."
The players insist the UNC game is not a reflection on what kind of team they have.
"It was just a bad day and bad performance by the team," Hickson said. "We had our wakeup call way back when we lost to Michigan State. We just have to play harder."
The Tigers are anchored inside by emerging sophomore Trevor Booker and senior James Mays. Junior small forward K.C. Rivers, senior shooting guard Cliff Hammonds and backup freshman shooting guard Terrence Oglesby supply the long-range shooting.
Similar to NC State, Clemson is starting a newcomer at point guard in freshman Demontez Stitt, who was Mr. Basketball at Matthews (N.C.) Butler High last year.
"We know they are going to play great interior defense," NC State shooting guard Courtney Fells said. "We have to be ready on the perimeter to knock shots down."
NC State coach Sidney Lowe said win or lose you have to learn from every game.
"We have to learn and understand the environment, intensity, toughness, and mental toughness and things that you have to do to win," Lowe said.
NC State 2007-2008 roster
ACC - North Carolina State (11-4, 0-1 ACC) at No. 24 Clemson (13-3, 1-1 ACC)
Game time: Tuesday, Jan. 15, 7 p.m. - Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, S.C.
Television: Fox Sports Net
PG - 10 Javi Gonzalez (6-0, Fr., 1.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.0 apg)
SG - 4 Courtney Fells (6-5, Jr., 9.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.1 apg)
SF - 11 Gavin Grant (6-8, Sr., 13.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.1 apg)
PF - 33 Brandon Costner (6-9, Soph., 10.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.5 apg)
C - 1 J.J. Hickson (6-9, Fr., 16.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.7 bpg)
PG - 2 Demontez Stitt (6-2, Fr., 8.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 3.2 apg)
SG - 25 Cliff Hammonds (6-3, Sr., 10.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.9 apg)
SF - 1 K.C. Rivers (6-5, Jr., 15.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.9 apg)
PF - 40 James Mays (6-9, Sr., 11.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.9 apg, 2.5 spg)
C - 35 Trevor Booker (6-7, Soph., 12.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.9 apg, 2.3 bpg)
Location: Clemson, S.C.
2006-2007 record: 25-11 overall, 7-9 ACC
2007 postseason: NIT Final
Coach: Oliver Purnell, 83-61 in five years at Clemson and 339-252 in 21 years overall
The all-time series with NC State: NC State leads 95-42
Last meeting: Clemson won 87-76 on Jan. 9, 2007 in Clemson, S.C.
Clemson: The Tigers have lost eight out of the last 10 meetings against the Wolfpack ... After Clemson plays Wake Forest on Jan. 22, the Tigers will have played seven different colleges from North Carolina - Gardner-Webb, East Carolina, UNC, Charlotte, NC State, Duke and Wake Forest ... Three starters are from North Carolina, with Rivers from Charlotte, Mays from Garner and Stitt from Matthews.
NC State: NC State shot 54.7 percent (23 of 53) from the field and committed 17 turnovers in the Wolfpack's only meeting with Clemson last year. Gavin Grant had a game-high 22 points and Dennis Horner scored a career-high 14 ... Clemson, which has hosted NC State four out of the last five games, plays at the RBC Center on Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. ... The last time NC State played two straight road games to open the ACC schedule was 1995-96. Four of the first six ACC games are on the road.