Maryland followed up its biggest win of the season with one of its toughest losses, stunning Duke last Saturday but falling to Boston College on Tuesday.
The Clemson Tigers have more tough losses than they care to count, and would like nothing better than to let the Terrapins share in their misery Saturday.
Clemson (13-12 overall, 5-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) faces Maryland (18-8, 6-7) today at noon in College Park in an ESPN2 game, and it gives the Tigers their first chance to move forward following last Sunday’s 45-43 home setback to No. 2 Miami.
According to guard Rod Hall, getting beyond the heartbreak hasn’t been easy.
“For a few days we were still kinda focusing on the last game,” Hall said. “We had a game in our hands and ended up with a loss. It’s frustrating. It seems like we’re always losing games by one or two possessions.”
For Brad Brownell’s men it was their fifth ACC loss by five points or less.
“That was a hard one to get over,” Brownell said. “We’ve had three or four that are difficult to get over. But by Wednesday I thought we had a good practice and I think the guys are doing pretty good.”
Maryland was riding high following an 83-81 upset of the Blue Devils at the Comcast Center.
But the momentum didn’t follow the Terps to Massachusetts, where they fell to the Eagles 69-58 in a game that saw Maryland go without a field goal for more than seven minutes in the second half.
However Brownell says the Terrapins are extremely hard to beat at their arena.
“They’re a terrific team,” Brownell said. “They’re a lot like us in that they play a lot better at home than on the road. We’ll be in an extremely hostile environment. You really have to overcome a lot of emotion to win a game like this.”
Center Devin Booker continues to set the scoring and defensive pace for the Tigers, averaging 12.3 points and eight rebounds per game. Forward K.J. McDaniels contributes 10.9 points per outing while forward Milton Jennings is just below double figures with 9.9 points per game.
He also grabs an average of 6.3 boards each time out.
Maryland counters with big sophomore Alex Len. The 7-1 center scores 12.4 points per contest with eight rebounds, while forward Dez Wells pops for 11.8 points per game.
The Terps found added scoring punch against BC in senior guard Logan Aronhalt, who had a season-high 26 points versus the Eagles.
“They’re looking at this game like it’s a must-win for the NCAA Tournament,” Brownell said.
Maryland has won the last three meetings between the teams and Clemson hasn’t defeated the Terrapins in College Park since 2008.
Hall said to pull off a road victory Saturday his team has to avoid a sluggish beginning and take care of the little things.
“If we’d pay attention to more details we wouldn’t have the losses we have,” he said. “It’s things like we couldn’t get through a ball screen or didn’t get an offensive rebound.
"And every time we’ve had an early game atmosphere we’ve come out really slow. We can’t do that.”