CLEMSON – Jordan Roper and Adonis Filer, both freshmen guards, broke into the starting lineup on Sunday in Clemson’s 58-57 loss to North Carolina State. Roper finished with a career-high 17 points while Filer had three rebounds.
The first-year players got the call over sophomores Damarcus Harrison and Rod Hall.
“Damarcus and Rod hadn’t played very well and (Roper and Filer) practiced hard the past two days and I thought those two guys outplayed them and we were coming off a very disappointing performance,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “I don’t think (Harrison and Hall) merited a start for any reason and then in practice for the past two guys (Roper and Filer) were better.”
BIG GAME FOR ROPER
Roper couldn’t enjoy his breakout game, although he admitted it was one of his best of the year.
“It means a lot any time I can come into the game and help my team, whether I’m starting or coming off the bench,” said Roper, who was held scoreless over the game’s final 15 minutes. “But I would still much rather win the game.
“We had several mistakes in the game that let them get in a position to win.”
He was more proud of his defensive showing than his point production.
“At the beginning of the year I couldn’t keep anybody in front of me, and I still have a hard time doing that,” he said. “But I’m getting better. When I’m out there, I’m just trying to make plays.”
Before every game the public address announcer encourages fans to make Littlejohn Coliseum “the toughest place in the nation” for the opposition, and most of the 9,455 fans did for much of the afternoon.
N.C. State Mark Gottfried said the atmosphere made life tough on his players.
“I was talking with (ACC Network analyst) Mike Gminski before the game,” Gottfried said. “He said even back when he played at Duke it’s always been one of those tough places. It’s hard to play here. They play awfully well at home, a lot better than they’ve played on the road at times.
“They had a great crowd today. They did a lot of things well and we were fortunate at the end.”
ONE SMART GUY
North Carolina State associate head coach Bobby Lutz spent two seasons on the Clemson basketball staff during the Cliff Ellis era, joining the program as a graduate assistant in 1984.
He also has a college degree from Clemson – one of five, in fact.
He earned bachelor’s degrees in both psychology and economics from UNC Charlotte in 1980, then came back and got a bachelor’s in secondary education from Lenoir-Rhyne in 1981.
In 1985 he earned a master’s degree in teaching for secondary social studies from Winthrop and picked up a master’s in administration and supervision from Clemson in 1986.
Nothing like having something to fall back on just in case that basketball thing doesn’t work out.