Originally created 03/09/06

Tigers' fate rests with Robinson



GREENSBORO, N.C. - Shawan Robinson smiles slyly when asked the limit of his shooting range.

His coach, Clemson's Oliver Purnell, says "it's way out there ... probably 30 feet."

Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt estimates Robinson's bombing range at 10 feet beyond the 3-point line. He wrote the number 29 - as in feet - on the dry-erase board in the Yellow Jackets' locker room before last Saturday's game against the Tigers.

At Clemson, Robinson's comfort zone extends to the large orange Tiger paw centered at midcourt of Littlejohn Coliseum.

"If I get it going, I don't think coach Purnell or my teammates mind where I shoot it from," Robinson said.

Robinson's got it going, and opponents in this week's Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament better care where he's shooting from at Greensboro Coliseum. Robinson has made five 3-pointers in four of Clemson's past five games, a streak corresponding with the Tigers' 4-1 climax to the regular season.

The strong finish has Clemson looking for its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1997-98. The Tigers (18-11 overall, 7-9 ACC) play Miami in the opening round at noon today and with a win would face Duke in the quarterfinals.

Beating Miami and Duke would put Clemson on the NCAA bubble.

"We're going to make some noise," Robinson said. "If we make some noise, good things will happen."

Robinson's looks from 3-point range could be the deciding factor. He hit 22 of 43 3-pointers (51 percent) during the Tigers' late run. In the previous 15 games, which included a five-game Clemson losing streak, he went 18-for-80 (23 percent).

His hot streak is reminiscent of last year's, when the Tigers won three of their last four regular-season games, defeated Maryland in the first round of the ACC tourney and led North Carolina by double figures before losing in the quarterfinals.

Robinson hit three or more 3-pointers in three of those six games.

"We were riding Shawan Robinson's hot hand," said Purnell, whose team got an NIT bid last season.

Clemson is blooming again. Center Akin Akingbala averaged 13 points a game in ACC play and scored 20 or more in three games. His presence inside opens up Robinson and Clemson's other long-range threats - three other players shot more than 60 3-pointers this season - on the perimeter.

Robinson remains the most dangerous, however. Hewitt was conducting his postgame news conference after last Saturday's loss to the Tigers when the lights went out.

"Shawan's still shooting, huh?" Hewitt cracked.

If you go



What: Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, opening round

Who: No. 9 Clemson vs. No. 8 Miami

When: Noon today

Where: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.