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Preview: Clemson to host Boise State as Tigers look to remain undefeated

William Stehn
Clemson forward RJ Godfrey attempts a shot over a defender in Clemson’s opening win against Winthrop on Nov. 6, 2023.

With Clemson football concluding its final home game on Saturday, fans will now shift their focus from the gridiron to the hardwood when the Clemson men’s basketball team (3-0) takes on Boise State (2-0) at Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday.

The Tigers will welcome the Broncos as head coach Brad Brownell looks to continue the team’s current three-game win streak. He has high hopes to come off the court with another win, especially with star center PJ Hall back to full health.

“PJ was not healthy most of November and December (last year). You look back and watch the films, and he doesn’t even look like the same guy. So when you have an All-Conference player who’s 60%, it’s a big difference when he’s 100,” Brownell said.

Hall has been a dominant presence in the paint on both ends and deserves a significant amount of credit for the Tigers’ early success, averaging 21.3 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. He also leads the Tigers defensively in steals and blocks, averaging 1.3 and 2.0, respectively.

“His confidence is probably at an all-time high because he’s putting in the work, and he knows he’s prepared, and he knows he’s a good, talented player, but he’s also not lugging a leg around or questioning himself at all,” Brownell added.

Hall has been complemented well by guards Chase Hunter and Joseph Girard III, the latter of whom shot 5 for 12 from 3-point range against Davidson and was instrumental in the 18-point comeback win. Girard’s addition of being able to drain shots from behind the arc has opened up lanes in the middle, as opposing defenses still have to focus on Hall. Hunter is second on the team in points and has put up 33 points in the first three games to average double-digits in each appearance.

The Tigers have also been utilizing aggressive forward RJ Godfrey, who shot 83.3% from the field last game against Davidson and brought 10 points to the board from the bench.

However, Boise State will be no easy task for the Tigers. The Broncos cruised to two easy victories to start the year and are looking to pull off an upset on the road. Chibuzo Agbo, their dynamic guard, is known for his incredible speed and ball-handling skills, averaging 17 points and six rebounds.

Agbo and Tyson Degenhart have been commanding the charge thus far for Boise State, leading the team with seventeen points apiece. A Texas Tech transfer, Agbo returns for his second season as a starter this year. Last season, he ended with 11.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Degenhart returns for his third season as a starter and will likely be battling with Hall as one of the bigger players on the Boise State squad.

The Tigers are favored in this matchup but will need to stray from the habit they have fallen into of playing down to their competition. Every game, they have allowed their opponent to stay in the game and have not played a complete 40 minutes yet this season; however, they have a chance to change that against the Broncos.

Both teams will look to strip the other from their undefeated season so far. Tipoff is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. in Littlejohn Coliseum.

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About the Contributors
Sarah Pepe
Sarah Pepe, Senior Reporter
Brett Porter
Brett Porter, Senior Reporter
William Stehn
William Stehn, Asst. Photo Editor
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