After Auburn, Brownell sending Tigers home for extended Christmas break

'It’s been a long time since August, and there’s a fear of mind that we’re going to run out of gas a little bit'

Men's Basketball - Brad Brownell

Photo by Mark Crammer

Men's Basketball - Brad Brownell

The Clemson men's basketball team is due some down time.

But before breaking for the Christmas holiday, the Tigers have some business left to attend to.

Clemson will play at Auburn on Thursday night, looking for a ninth victory in 11 games against a 4-3 team that has struggled against quality opposition.

The Tigers, who are coming off a stifling defensive performance in a 71-35 victory over Furman, will try to shut down Auburn guards Chris Denson and K.T. Harrell, who together are averaging 38.3 points per game. Harrell is a transfer from Virginia, where he was a national top-100 recruit and earned ACC rookie of the week honors.

As a team, Clemson ranks No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 51.7 points per game.

After the Auburn game, coach Brad Brownell will send his players home for an extended Christmas break.

“We’re giving them a bunch of days off, I think five and a half or six days off for Christmas," Brownell said after the Tigers' victory over Furman on Saturday. "I think important for this team with our trip to Italy. It’s been a long time since August, and there’s a fear of mind that we’re going to run out of gas a little bit.

"This schedule is set up in mind that we would have a longer Christmas break than the two or three days we would normally get. The guys can go home and decompress a little."

Brownell said he'll ask the players to "go the gym and get a couple shots up and do something physical once or twice," but that the main emphasis will be on getting some rest.

"We knew that we weren’t going to play quite as much in December as opposed to November and that’s kind of just the way it worked out," Brownell said. "When we get back we’ll just have to try to get our mind right and get ready for VMI.”

After playing VMI at home on Dec. 30, the Tigers will open their 18-game ACC schedule with a trip to Boston College on Saturday, Jan. 4. Clemson will then play Florida State and Duke in consecutive home games.

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