Third-seeded Clemson must take down sixth-seeded North Carolina State for the third time this season to advance in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals on Thursday night in Greensboro, N.C.
The Tigers (22-9) are rested after receiving a double-bye following their 87-64 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday in the season finale. Clemson finished tied with Pitt and Duke in the conference standings, and it won the tiebreaker by virtue of defeating both clubs in their lone meetings this season.
“We’ve had a lot of success this season, but at the end of the day we have much bigger goals than what we’ve accomplished thus far,” said Hunter Tyson, who boasts team-best averages in points (15.7) and rebounds (9.5).
“I feel like we’re clicking on all levels, so I’m feeling really good about our chances this week. Our program doesn’t get the respect it deserves in many cases. That’s definitely a little extra motivation.”
Tyson recorded his 15th double-double of the season after collecting 16 points and 13 rebounds versus the Fighting Irish.
The All-ACC first-team member collected a career-high 31 points to go along with 15 rebounds in Clemson’s 78-64 victory over North Carolina State (23-9) on Dec. 30. He added 12 and 11, respectively, in the Tigers’ 96-71 romp over the Wolfpack on Feb. 25.
North Carolina State’s Terquavion Smith scored 21 points in the first encounter versus Clemson before being limited to just 10 in the rematch on 3-of-15 shooting from the floor.
Smith put forth a better performance on Wednesday in a second-round clash in the conference tournament. He made 11 of 13 shots — including 5 of 7 from 3-point range — to finish with 30 points in the Wolfpack’s 97-77 victory over 11th-seeded Virginia Tech.
Fellow All-ACC second-team selection Jarkel Joiner added 20 points and 10 assists for North Carolina State on Wednesday.
“It’s motivation,” Joiner said of facing Clemson on Thursday. “… We have a chip on our shoulder and we’re going to come out and play hard.”
–Field Level Media