Brad Brownell on blowout loss to Coastal Carolina: 'I didn't see this coming'

Chanticleers coach Cliff Ellis calls it the biggest win Coastal has ever had in the regular season

Coastal Carolina's El Hadji Ndieguene, right, drives past Clemson's, Devin Booker, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Wednesday night, Dec. 19, 2012, in Conway, S.C. Coastal won 69-46. (AP Photo/The Sun News, )

Coastal Carolina's El Hadji Ndieguene, right, drives past Clemson's, Devin Booker, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Wednesday night, Dec. 19, 2012, in Conway, S.C. Coastal won 69-46. (AP Photo/The Sun News, )

CONWAY, S.C. — Coastal Carolina might have been taking on a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference on Wednesday night, but Anthony Raffa wanted to approach it like any other home game.

He scored 25 points as the Chanticleers beat Clemson 69-46 Wednesday night, stunning the Tigers for a second straight year. Coastal Carolina (4-5) came in with just one win this season over a Division I team. But the Chanticleers showed no fear against the Tigers (6-4), leading for the final 27 minutes of the game.

Raffa soaked it in, and tried to sound a little humble after the game.

"We're in our home gym, and we took care of business," Raffa said.

Raffa might have made it sound like just another win, but it wasn't for the Chanticleers. It was just their third victory win in 31 games against Atlantic Coast Conference teams. Coastal Carolina held Clemson to its lowest scoring total and worst loss (23-point margin) in coach Brad Brownell's three seasons.

"I didn't see this coming," Brownell said.

Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis called it the biggest win Coastal Carolina has ever had in the regular season, surpassing last year's 60-59 win over the Tigers on a tip-in at the buzzer. It was a sweet victory for a team that has two regular-season Big South Conference titles in the past three years but lost in the tournament title game on its home floor each time.

"It's just a huge moment. I am elated," Ellis said. "Kierre Greenwood will go out of here and Anthony Raffa will go out of here with two wins against Clemson. That's sweet."

The Chanticleers played a zone and dared Clemson to beat them with outside shots. It worked. The Tigers shot 32.1 percent (17 of 53), and that was with Devin Booker scoring 16 points and making seven of his 11 shots. Clemson made just four of its 21 3-point attempts.

"As the game wears on, Coastal just keeps backing in and backing in," Brownell said. "There's no driving lanes. It's very hard to get it into Devin, and when you do get it into Devin, he's got three people around him. You've got to make some perimeter shots, and we didn't make any."

Raffa, who came into the game as the Big South Conference's leading scorer at 20.4 points a game, didn't hesitate to take it right to the Tigers. He had two fearless drives right at Booker as the Chanticleers finished the first half on a 13-2 run to lead 27-19 at the break.

Raffa didn't stop during the decisive second-half run. He airballed a 3 from the left corner, but didn't stop, running to the right corner, calling for the ball and burying the shot from behind the arc to put Coastal Carolina up 58-42 with just under five minutes to go.

By the time Raffa hit his fifth driving layup of the game, drawing a foul and hitting the free throw to put the Chanticleers up 67-42, the sellout crowd of 3,286 at Coastal Carolina's new HTC Center was roaring. And Ellis, who came to Coastal Carolina to wrap up a career of nearly four decades that includes being the winningest coach in Clemson history, was beaming.

"He's an Energizer Bunny," Ellis said of his senior guard. "That's the way he plays. He's a New Jersey kid who just comes at you. Most of the time it's good, but sometimes it doesn't work out."

It worked out perfectly on Wednesday. When Clemson was able to stop Raffa, other players stepped up. Warren Gills scored 12 points, Kierre Greenwood had 10 points and Uros Ljeskovic added four points and 10 rebounds for Coastal Carolina, whose other wins this season have been against Akron, Johnson & Wales and Toccoa Falls.

The 46 points was the Tigers' lowest output since losing to Miami 62-38 in January 2006.

Jordan Roped scored 12 points for the Tigers. Milton Jennings scored just five points on 2-of-12 shooting.

Clemson appeared like it might get back into the game on a monster jam by Booker that cut Coastal Carolina's lead to 41-36 with 11:55 to go in the game. But a Greenwood 3-pointer started a 25-6 run, erasing any confidence a young Clemson team might have had.

"The pressure on our team is a hundred times more than on Coastal in tonight's game," Brownell said. "That's why most people don't play these games when you're at our level. You don't come here to do this because there isn't a lot to gain."

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Comments » 13

Bigboots writes:

Maybe we should practice.
Does the basketball team practice?
Evidently not. I would suggest Coach have practice several times per week.

aikentiger writes:

Might want to correct the spelling of Brownell's name in the headline.

KerryCapps writes:

in response to aikentiger:

Might want to correct the spelling of Brownell's name in the headline.

Thanks!

BigBud52 writes:

Brownell needs to go! This team is awful and the style of basketball they play is just hard to watch. Please don't tell me it is because they are young. If they were good enough to get recruited to a division 1 college program they should at least know how to shoot a basketball. Jennings is a senior and he was 2 of 12, the team shot 32% and this is the story every game.

lhaselden writes:

in response to BigBud52:

Brownell needs to go! This team is awful and the style of basketball they play is just hard to watch. Please don't tell me it is because they are young. If they were good enough to get recruited to a division 1 college program they should at least know how to shoot a basketball. Jennings is a senior and he was 2 of 12, the team shot 32% and this is the story every game.

Brownell does an excellent job of coaching. What I have seen the last 2 years is a team that steadily improves over the course of the season. That means the coaching is effective. We have 2 seniors and no juniors so the team is young and young teams tend to play poorly on the road but in general will be inconsistent.
Jennings however is still inconsistent after 4 years... not sure why but he is unreliable in many areas of his life including on the basketball court.

TRUETIGER1 writes:

OMG! CCU 2 years running. Our athletics are a joke. TDP has done a wonderful job. Whats next? I was thinking we should give up sports and concentrate on being a top "20" school, oh, wait, we've done that.

richardcd writes:

When I asked Coach Brownell on his radio show about Clemson's poor shooting he said they were an average shooting team. Average where? I guess he just doesn't want to admit in public that he has a very poor shooting team. When are we going to get some basketball players that can shoot the ball (it's been years)? Against the College of Charleston: 4 of 21 on 3s, 32% from the floor and 57% from the foul line. Good grief!

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

Love how Brownell complains about the pressure on his kids and how playing there is nothing to gain. How about revenge from beating you last year! I don't care if they play the game on the moon. An ACC team that loses by 23 to Coastal Carolina needs to promptly lose its coach.

Lynx26 writes:

Very small gym vs a zone defense with poor shooting = Smart move CCU and "C'mon man!" to Clemson.

I really hoped we'd run them out of the gym. We're young and can't shoot. BUuuuut, we can defend and we're athletic. HMMMMM.... LETS RUN and PICK UP THE TEMPO!!
We have to score easy buckets in order to have a chance to win = common sense.

Press and run... sounds like OPP a lil bit huh? Brownell has to TWEAK his philosophy in order to finish in the middle of the pack(conf.)

PS... Stop waiting and blaming Milton - He's an avg player that had a good HS career. Booker is average too, athletic enough to block shots. The two seniors are not "Good basketball" players. It's just that simple. We cannot lean on them - common sense. Let's ride the Freshman Roper and the athleticism of McDaniels.

michtiger writes:

Until Booker and Jennings get off the court we are not going to develop. My granddaughter has better and stronger hands than Jennings. Why hasn't some one taught Booker to pass, that silly little one hand pass or lazy shuttle has cost a lot of TO. There is absolutely nothing available for big men next year. We have Roper and McDaniels. Surprisingly Hall has slipped backwards. You can not begin to explain this game other than saying they played with no energy and simply did not care. Lets face it, we will get good players only by accident. If lucky a player develops after a couple of years, not like the big boys who start them on day one. What a sad state we will be in when the ACC basketball brings in 3 more heavy weights!

jtpanther writes:

Brownell: "I didn't see this coming"

Clemson fans: "We all saw this coming"

They beat us last year at home!!!

Tiger4Life61 (Inactive) writes:

I can't remember a more embarrasing loss, except for last year's early losses at Littlejohn. I think the loss to Elon in 2005 was pretty bad. I've been waiting to see the benefits of Brownell's "motion offense". It might have worked at Wilmington and Wright State, but not at Clemson. Until they make a hire ( like at NC State ), it will just reinforce what Purnell figured out - that no elite player will come to Clemson. Only an elite coach can bring in elite players. Go get Seth Greenburg for goodness sake. Otherwise, Clemson will always be rebuilding and towards the bottom of the ACC. I remember the good old days of Tree Rollins and Elden Campbell and the Grants. And even Devin Booker. All of the progress made by OP is gone. It wasn't that long ago when the Tigers played for the ACC championship. Remember when they spanked Duke one year, then spanked NC, both at Littlejohn? Where did all of that go?

Lynx26 writes:

in response to michtiger:

Until Booker and Jennings get off the court we are not going to develop. My granddaughter has better and stronger hands than Jennings. Why hasn't some one taught Booker to pass, that silly little one hand pass or lazy shuttle has cost a lot of TO. There is absolutely nothing available for big men next year. We have Roper and McDaniels. Surprisingly Hall has slipped backwards. You can not begin to explain this game other than saying they played with no energy and simply did not care. Lets face it, we will get good players only by accident. If lucky a player develops after a couple of years, not like the big boys who start them on day one. What a sad state we will be in when the ACC basketball brings in 3 more heavy weights!

LOL @ the granddaughter quote.
I agree completely, don't get me wrong- I like Brownell's tough demeanor. I would just like to see him tweak the system a bit. We do not have a roster such as BYU, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State,Wisconsin etc. along with the rest of the "slow tempo-solid basketball playing teams".
In other words, we have to stretch the floor by running and jumping. Occasionally slowing tempo down- if we have a cushion or taking bad shots. Other than that we have to use the talent we got.

My ideal line up: Hall-Roper-Harrison-Mcdaniels-Booker (Jennings and Filer coming in as instant offense FOR Booker and Hall). Pick up your man 3/4 court defensively... Defend, rebound and run-run-run! If It's not there, pull it out and set up the offense- looking for Roper off screens and Cutters in Mcdaniels and Harrison.

A menu for success!

Roper reminds me of a (Providence/NJ Net Marshon Brooks).
While McDaniels reminds me of a(healthy primed) Darius Miles.

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