Brownell keeping 'focus on what's inside the lines' at Cameron tonight

Clemson's Devin Booker traps Duke's Nolan Smith in front of the Clemson bench in the first half of their basketball game at Cameron Indoor Coliseum in Durham Wednesday night.

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson's Devin Booker traps Duke's Nolan Smith in front of the Clemson bench in the first half of their basketball game at Cameron Indoor Coliseum in Durham Wednesday night.

Milton Jennings played 29 minutes and Devin Booker, 18, the last time Clemson made the trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The other eight players Brad Brownell has on scholarship? Zero.

And of the sophomores back, combined they averaged six minutes in last year’s tangle with the Blue Devils in Littlejohn, where Coach K’s crew kept the Tigers at arms-length all second half in a 73-66 win.

The mindset Brownell, coaching a rotation with six underclassmen averaging 10-plus minutes headed to the Cameron-Crazies-led raucous atmosphere, is built on focus and confidence.

“You just try to tell guys to focus on what’s inside the lines,” Brownell said. “The guys on your team and our bench – that’s all you need to look at. Look around during shootaround, but when the game comes, don’t worry about their crowd. Don’t be sitting around watching their fans.

“Lock into our guys and focus on what we’re trying to do and lock into our people that are there to help you win.”

Clemson trailed by two at the half and by the same as late as 11 minutes left in the 2010 matchup in Durham, where Duke eventually pulled away to a 70-59 win.

Jennings posted a double-double, with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Booker added eight points.

“Two years ago when we played there, we played very well,” said Brownell. “…Two years later it’s a different team. Duke’s as good or better – probably better, and we’re probably not as good right now.”

But he has a plan for a young team that’s scuffling, hitting the ACC road for the first time this season.

“We’ve got to find a way to make our guys feel comfortable and confident when they’re playing,” Brownell said. “And setup a plan that’s going to give them success so that they gain confidence within the game – because that’s the only thing that can happen that can help your guys.

“You can talk about this, that or the other, but until they have success in that kind of environment, they’re always going to question a little bit.”

Duke/Clemson By the Numbers

Categories Clemson Duke
PPG 66.1 80.1
PPG Allowed 56.2 61.8
FG% 45.4 48.1
3PT% 32.7 42.1
Off. Reb. % 32.7 29
eFG% 50.4 54.9
Turnover % (Amount per 100 plays) 17.7 15.7
Free throw rate (FT attempts/FG attempts) 35.9 41.8

Clemson plagued by slow starts

None

* The stats show Duke as every bit as good as their 14-0 record, with nine top-100 RPI wins already this season. They rank sixth nationally in 3-point percentage and 25th in effective field goal percentage defense (42.6) and 28th in defensive points per possession (0.88).

* Brownell identified slow starts as “a problem” Monday – the Tigers have scored 25 or less points in the first half in six games this season, trailing in four and eventually losing five of the six. Duke averages 36.9 points per in the first half to Clemson’s 29.5.

* Misc. stats: Clemson is shooting free throws better on the road, hitting 69 percent, and have really struggled at home, 62 percent (88-of-142). Adonis Filer is the prime example – he’s shot 15 more free throws than the next Tiger (55), hitting 69.2 percent on the road (9-of-13) and 63.9 at home (23-of-36). Booker has 25 dunks and K.J. McDaniels 20, with the next nearest being Jordan Roper and Jennings (4). Filer has the team’s only 20-point game (21 against The Citadel).

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