It's both a proud day and a sad day to be a Tiger

As Clemson basketball and track look to a bright future, an era ends for Clemson swimming

Clemson beat N.C. State 72-69 in overtime at Littlejohn Coliseum Saturday when Andre Young hit a three-point basket with 11.8 seconds left.

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson beat N.C. State 72-69 in overtime at Littlejohn Coliseum Saturday when Andre Young hit a three-point basket with 11.8 seconds left.

You knew Andre Young had it in him.

So, seemingly without a thought about doing otherwise, he buried a long overdue game-winner.

It was just the kind of thing Terrell McIntyre might have done.

Clemson’s basketball past and present merged during a magical weekend that shouldn’t have ended any other way. Before a crowd that included McIntyre and many of Clemson’s greats from a wide range of eras, these Tigers won one their way.

And after two seasons of Brad Brownell basketball, we’re beginning to get a real feel for how it works.

It’s all about defense and effort and valuing each possession and playing the game not only the way it used to be played, but in a way that is still relevant today.

The Tigers, young and in some ways undermanned, are not only 7-7 in the ACC, but are very nearly much better than that. It’s almost unfathomable how far this team has come since Christmas weekend in Hawaii.

Clemson has become one of the ACC’s toughest outs, and Littlejohn Coliseum is again a pit of a place for an opponent to play: the Tigers are 5-2 at home this season against ACC competition, and 19-4 over the past three years against conference teams.

They’re not finished yet.

And if anyone other than Brownell or Leonard Hamilton wins ACC coach of the year, there’s really not much to be said…

A Weekend To Remember: While Brownell’s team was putting on its show for a raucous crowd at Littlejohn, some other Tigers were having their own Saturday to remember.

Lawrence Johnson’s women’s track team claimed its third straight ACC indoor title, and it’s fifth straight overall, in a runaway.

Johnson came to Clemson with a reputation as one of the nation’s top young sprints and hurdles coaches, and he’s more than lived up to his billing.

To win her first ACC 60-meter hurdles championship on Saturday, defending NCAA champion Brianna Rollins had to beat her defending ACC champion teammate, Jasmine Edgerson, as well as another teammate, Bridgette Owens, with whom she just happens to share the current No. 1 time in the nation. (The Tigers swept the top five spots in the hurdles on Saturday).

Meanwhile in the short sprints, freshman sensation Dezerea Bryant swept the 60 meters and 200 meters and claimed ACC Indoor Track MVP honors over teammate Stormy Kendrick, who is the reigning ACC Outdoor Track MVP.

For these Tigers, the beat goes on.

For another group of Clemson athletes, it doesn’t.

Except for a handful who will go on to compete at the NCAA meet next month, Clemson’s swimming program closed its final chapter on Saturday in the ACC men’s championship meet at Christiansburg, VA.

Chris Ip’s men and women have made this a season to remember. And somehow not surprisingly, if one looks back on the exemplary manner in which the swimming and diving program has represented the university over a period of decades, the Tigers didn’t let their final moment on stage pass without accomplishment.

Two members of the Clemson men’s team – Eric Bruck and Chris Dart – brought home ACC titles on Saturday. For Ip, his staff and his athletes, it was icing on the cake for a job already well done.

“These guys won’t stop,” said Ip after fans and alumni packed McHugh Natatorium for the Tigers’ final home meet. “They’ve taught us a lot about keeping promises and just wanting to honor a program.

“The alumni were on deck, there were cheers, and the alma mater at the end. It was just a first-class way to honor the program in its final time, and as a coach I just stood back and let it happen. That’s a tribute to our alumni and to our student-athletes, who are very proud of the program here.”

As some look ahead, others look back; and it’s both a proud day and a sad day to be a Tiger.

© 2012 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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