What happened a year ago when the College of Charleston traveled to Clemson should have no bearing on tonight's televised game at Carolina First Arena. But it is clear that the Cougars have not forgotten the 94-55 whipping laid on them last December at Littlejohn Coliseum.
"They beat us by 40 last year so we've got something to prove to them," said Cougars forward Jeremy Simmons, who Tuesday was named the Southern Conference player of the week for his 26-point, 12-rebound performance against Charleston Southern on Dec. 15. "It's going to be a good game. Clemson is going to come out ready to play. We can't really think about what went wrong because it was last year.
But it was embarrassing. We don't want that to happen again."
"I was very embarrassed," College of Charleston guard Andrew Goudelock said. "We've got that in the back of our minds, but we have to go out and play our game."
Charleston coach Bobby Cremins said today's 7 p.m. matchup between the 8-3 Cougars and 7-4 Tigers is "another game."
"It's a big out-of-conference game," he added. "Any time Clemson or South Carolina comes to Charleston, the game is a sellout. It's an honor to play them here. Hopefully, we play better than last year."
First-year Clemson coach Brad Brownell, who came to the Tigers after Oliver Purnell bolted for DePaul, said the Tigers are expecting a hostile crowd.
"Our guys like to play in front of big crowds, and hopefully there will be some orange and white amongst the fans at the arena. It will be a great environment for us to play in and try to get a road win," said Brownell, who was coaching Wright State a year ago.
"Charleston is a very good team. This will be a tremendous challenge. Andrew Goudelock is as good an offensive player as we have seen at this point in our season ... He'll be a focal point for us defensively.
"But he's not the only player they have. They have a solid lineup. Simmons is a versatile inside guy. He scores in a variety of ways and has good moves in the post. ... They have several guys that can play, and that's what will make this a great test for our team."
The Cougars, who have wins over South Carolina and North Carolina at Carolina First Arena the last two seasons, are not in awe of ACC opponents. Charleston lost by one point at Maryland in its season opener and fell by five to the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, N.C., in November.
"We're not starstruck," Goudelock said. "It's just Clemson to us. Anybody that comes in, we're just going to play. It's going to be fun and an exciting atmosphere. Hopefully, it will be a good outcome."
--Brownell said guard Demontez Stitt (13.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg), the Tigers' leading scorer, could see action against the College of Charleston. Stitt underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Dec. 13.
"He practiced about halfway for us today," Brownell said Tuesday. "He is moving around pretty well. We just have to see how his knee responds after putting some stress on it today. We will see how much swelling he had, and then we will have a better feel on whether or not he'll be able to go at all for us tomorrow. But he's progressing very well since the surgery."
--Former Pinewood Prep star Milton Jennings is a starter for the Tigers. Jennings, a 6-9 sophomore guard, is averaging 8.3 points and 5.5 rebounds.