Tigers face non-conference showdown with Arizona

Two teams that could use a quality non-conference victory clash when Clemson travels to Arizona for a matchup in the 27th annual Fiesta Bowl Classic at the McKale Center.

The Wildcats (6-3) are 45-2 all-time in the Fiesta Bowl Classic, including a 4-1 mark since the event changed to a one-game format in 2006. It’s just the programs’ second meeting — Arizona earned a 94-68 triumph over Clemson in the second round of the 1989 NCAA Tournament in Boise, Idaho.

The Tigers’ (4-3) losses have been by a combined seven points, and all three have come against in-state opponents. The last one – a 58-55 home defeat to rival South Carolina – was especially stinging.

The problems haven’t come at the defensive end — the Tigers rank second in the ACC in scoring defense at 55.4 points per game, but they’ve been held below 60 points three times (two losses).

However, Clemson’s top two scoring outputs have come in their only road games, a 73-50 win at The Citadel and a 71-55 victory at Iowa.

The Wildcats began the season in the Top 25 but have slipped out of the rankings while squandering opportunities against Mississippi State, San Diego State and Florida. They pushed the No. 12 Gators to overtime Wednesday – and led by as many as seven in the second half – before falling 78-72 on the road.

Jesse Perry had a career-high 23 points against the Gators. Perry and Kyle Fogg each average 11.9 points to lead four players who contribute double figures. Solomon Hill (11.6) and Nick Johnson (10.2) are the others. Perry also leads the team with 8.9 rebounds.

Clemson’s Andre Young has made at least one 3-pointer in 41 of his past 42 games and needs to make only 11 more to become the sixth player in school history with 200.

Arizona has faced at least one ACC opponent in the regular season in six of the past seven seasons and is 3-6 in that span. The Wildcats are 21-16 all-time against current ACC teams.

Clemson last played at the McKale Center in 1980, when the Tigers advanced to the Elite Eight by beating Lamar.

TV: 4 p.m. ET; Fox Sports Net.

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