Pat Kelsey’s Winthrop Eagles got a big season-opener win against Pfeiffer on Homecoming, but now the team will get its first true test of the season when they travel to Clemson to take on the Tigers.
Time: 7 p.m., EST
Place: Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, SC
TV: Fox Sports South, ESPN3 (subject to blackout)
Radio: 104.1 The Bridge
A Rivalry Renewed?
Believe it or not, the Tigers and Eagles have only met 10 times, having last played in 2011. Clemson is 9-1 in the series, with the only Winthrop win coming in 2001 under former coach Gregg Marshall at Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Tigers had a solid 2013-14 campaign, winning 23 games and placing 6th in the deep Atlantic Coast Conference. Falling just short of the NCAA Tournament, Clemson made a deep run through the NIT, making it to that tournament’s final four.
Rod Hall will be a player to watch, as he’ll be directing traffic as a senior point guard while bigs Landry Nnoko’s and Sidy Djitte dominate the boards.
Clemson got off to a 1-0 start on Friday with a 86-41 win over Florida A&M. The Tigers didn’t allow a single three-point field goal, and shot 43 percent from the field overall.
Keys for Winthrop
Tell Me Moore
Senior Keon Moore was on fire in Saturday’s win of Pfeiffer. Scoring a near-career high 25 points, he was everywhere on the floor. In contrast, the Tigers had one of the best three-point shooting defenses in the country last season. It will be interesting to see how Clemson’s top-notch perimeter defense reacts to a shooter like Moore, who shot 70 percent from beyond the arc last Saturday.
Hitting the Big Time
One of the biggest questions surrounding Winthrop before Saturday was how well the young frontcourt would adapt. With veteran guys like James Bourne and Larry Brown out, several freshman made their Eagle debuts early in the rout.
Redshirt freshman Dube Okeke one of the biggest impacts, scoring in double-digits. Xavier Cooks and Joseph Lopez also provided help off the bench, and will have to limit rookie mistakes when they step on the floor in Clemson.
Luckily, Winthrop also has some depth with their bigs as well. Sophomore Jarad Scott had 10 rebounds last week. He and junior Tevin Prescott will have to set the pace inside early if the Eagles want a chance to upset.
Like Father, Like Son?
Winthrop assistant coach Marty McGillan’s son Riley actually plays for Clemson as a walk-on. The elder McGillan was also an assistant for Clemson head coach Brad Brownell during his tenures at UNC Wilmington and Wright State.