ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio men's basketball team (1-0) visits Charleston, S.C. this weekend to compete in the 2017 Gildan Charleston Classic, which will be played Thursday (Nov. 16), Friday (Nov. 17) and Sunday (Nov. 19).
The bracket-format tournament features 12 games over three days. The teams compete once per day, advancing with a victory. The two teams that remain undefeated will face off in the championship game on Sunday.
Teams participating include Ohio, Auburn, Clemson, Dayton, Hofstra, Indiana State, Old Dominion and Temple.
The Bobcats will open the Gildan Charleston Classic by taking on Atlantic Coast Conference foe Clemson (2-0) on Thursday at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2, with Doug Sherman and Cory Alexander on the call.The contest will also be broadcast on the Ohio IMG Sports Network, with 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius on the call.
BOBCATS OPEN 2017-18 WITH WIN OVER ALABAMA A&M
Ohio defeated Alabama A&M, 61-53, in the 2017-18 regular season opener last Saturday (Nov. 11) at the Convocation Center. The Bobcats won their won season opener for the 14th year in a row and improved to 8-0 all-time against opponents out of the Southwestern Athletic Conference -- including 6-0 under fourth-year head coach Saul Phillips. Ohio is now 76-35 (.685) all-time in season openers.
OHIO SEASON OPENERS UNDER PHILLIPS
Nov. 11, 2017 vs. Alabama A&M: W, 61-53
Nov. 12, 2016 vs. Southern: W, 77-67
Nov. 14, 2015 vs. Florida Gulf Coast: W, 85-75
Nov. 15, 2014 vs. Appalachian State: W, 73-47
The Bobcats held Alabama A&M to a 33.9 percent (21-of-62) field goal percentage -- including just 21.1 percent (4-of-19) from beyond the arc. Ohio forced Alabama A&M to commit 24 turnovers and blocked six shots.
Ohio's effort on the defensive end was the lowlight of an otherwise strong 2015-16 campaign. The Bobcats ranked second-to-last in the MAC and 249th in the country by giving up 74.8 points per contest.
In 2016-17, however, Ohio ranked first in the MAC and 112th in the nation with 69.9 points allowed per game, first in the league and 50th in the country with a 41.4 percent field goal percentage defense and second in the league and 48th in the country with a 32.2 percent three-point field goal percentage defense.
Ohio beat Alabama A&M behind a game-high 16 points from freshman guard Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.). In his debut for the Bobcats, Kirk also added four rebounds, two assists and a steal over 32 minutes in his first career start.
OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMANCES VS. ALABAMA A&M
Junior guard/forward Gavin Block (Lincoln, Ill.) finished a rebound short of a double-double with 12 points and nine boards to go along with a game-high five assists in 35 mintues. His nine rebounds matched his career high. Graduate forward Kevin Mickle (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored 10 points in 24 minutes off of the bench and also chipped in two rebounds, two steals and a block in his Ohio debut. Junior forward Doug Taylor (Columbus, Ohio) had a game-high 12 rebounds and a game-high four blocks to set new career highs. He also scored six points and had a steal in 24 minutes of work.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS
Clemson is coming off of a 17-win 2016-17 campaign in which it qualified for the National Invitation Tournament. The Tigers are picked to finish 13th of 15 teams in this year's ACC preseason poll.
The Tigers are led by head coach Brad Brownell, who is in his eighth season at Clemson. He guided the Tigers to an NCAA tournament appearance in 2011.
Clemson is off to a 2-0 start to the new year after posting home wins over Western Carolina (Nov. 10, 85-57) and North Carolina A&T (Nov. 12, 87-63).
The Tigers get after it on the glass, ranking 37th in the country with a +15.0 rebounding margin through two games.
Senior forward Donte Grantham is Clemson's top performer thus far this year, averaging a team-high 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds and shooting 80.0 percent (12-of-15) from the field. Junior forward Elijah Thomas is averaging 12.0 points and 7.0 boards. Thomas is shooting 76.9 percent (10-of-13) from the field. Also averaging double digits in points are senior guard Gabe DeVoe (12.0 points per game) and redshirt junior guard Marcquise Reed (11.5 points per game). Redshirt junior guard Shelton Mitchell averages 8.0 points and 6.0 assists per game
Ohio and Clemson are set to meet on the hardwood for the first time ever on Friday.
The Bobcats are 14-31 (.311) against current ACC members. Last season, Ohio stung Georgia Tech, 67-61, on Nov. 18, 2016, in Atlanta, picking up its first victory in an ACC opponent's gym since Dec. 12, 2007 -- an 61-55 Ohio victory over then-ACC member Maryland in College Park, Md. The win improved Ohio to 1-1 against ACC foes under Phillips. The Bobcats fell to Florida State, 90-81, on Nov. 23, 2015, in the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam.
Ohio will play either Dayton or Hofstra on Friday (Nov. 17) at either 7 p.m. ET or 9:30 p.m. ET in its second game of the 2017 Gildan Charleston Classic.