Tigers 77, Hokies 70: quotes, notes & numbers

Brownell on Jennings: 'He is criticized probably more than he should be. In games like today, he was the difference-maker'

Clemson's Damarcus Harrison, center, dives on a loose ball between Virginia Tech's Robert Brown, right, and Marquis Rankin during their NCAA college basketball game on Sunday. Jan. 27, 2013 in Clemson. S.C. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson's Damarcus Harrison, center, dives on a loose ball between Virginia Tech's Robert Brown, right, and Marquis Rankin during their NCAA college basketball game on Sunday. Jan. 27, 2013 in Clemson. S.C. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

In Brad Brownell's View

Overall thoughts: “This was a great win for our team today. I am very happy for several of our players, especially Milton (Jennings). He played outstanding and hit a lot of clutch free throws. He rebounded the ball and was terrific down the stretch. Obviously K.J.’s (McDaniels) first three outside shots at the beginning of the game got us off to a great start. He got in a little foul trouble, but played solid. Damarcus Harrison played like the guy I saw when I was recruiting him a couple of years ago. He was outstanding and played with so much more confidence. Harrison has had a great year for us defensively; he just hasn’t played as well offensively as we thought he would. He has been working at it, and a lot of it is confidence.

“I was happy to see those guys play as well as they did when (Devin) Booker was feeling under the weather and not himself. It was a good way for our team to win this one.”

On different players stepping up: “Damarcus has shot the ball very well in practice, in fact, just yesterday he made three three-pointers. When he first got here, he was so out of shape and consequently, he was not shooting well. I left him alone, but it wasn’t improving. We decided to work with him on his shooting, and it’s very good to see his hard work pay off. Confidence in games is the most important thing. Positive playing experiences make you grow as a player. For Harrison to play well throughout the course of the game and during crunch time was very good to see.

“I am really happy for Milton because he has worked very hard. I have said many times I think he is criticized probably more than he should be. In games like today, he was the difference-maker. If he misses a couple of those free throws, then the game turns. I was really pleased for him.”

On Virginia Tech playing so much zone: “I knew they would play us in a lot of zone, definitely more than we have seen this year. When they pack it in as much as they do, then shots from the outside are going to open up. Obviously that will also take away some of Booker’s looks, but I was happy to see that we made those rhythm shots that you have to make against a zone.”

Virginia Tech coach James Johnson

On Clemson’s outside shooting: “Nothing went wrong. They made shots. If we’re in man and they make threes, what went wrong in man? If we’re in zone and they make 10 threes, what went wrong in zone? They’re coming in last in the league (in three-point shooting). We’re not in a position where I thought we could guard their post guys inside. We’ve got to try to play some statistics, we’ve got to try to play some zone and take them out and make them do something that they can’t do or they haven’t done, and they made shots tonight.”

On if his team has a problem defending the three: “I just think that guys are knocking shots down. They’re playing with confidence and knocking shots down. When you’re watching tape, they’ve got the same looks against other teams and they haven’t knocked the shots down. It seems like teams get better against the Hokies.”

On his team’s resolve to come back in the game: “All year long, this team has fought. They’ve worked hard, they’ve never quit, and they’ve never given up. I was proud of that. They got down 12-0 and came back and took the lead on the road. Under four minutes, we’re on the free throw line with an opportunity to take another lead, and we miss the free throw. When things are going the way they’re going for this team, and we’ve got a young group on the road, you’ve got to make that free throw and take the lead. Maybe that puts it back on them and they get a little tight at home.”

Noteworthy

• Clemson’s 77 points against Virginia Tech were the most scored by the Tigers against an ACC foe since Feb. 11, 2012 when it had 78 in a win at Wake Forest.

• Clemson made 10-of-21 from three-point range – its second-highest total from behind the arc this season. The Tigers’ season-best was 12 makes against UTEP in the second round of the Old Spice Classic over Thanksgiving.

• The Tigers made 23 free throws on Sunday, their second-highest figure of the season. Clemson’s high total was 27 in a win at South Carolina on Dec. 2.

• Clemson committed just nine turnovers Sunday, the seventh time this season the Tigers have had single-digit turnovers.

• The Tigers blocked nine shots Sunday, the fifth time this season Clemson has blocked at least eight in a single game.

• Clemson is now 8-2 in Littlejohn Coliseum against Virginia Tech.

• Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell was assessed his first technical foul in 336 career games. The Tigers received the bench technical at the 10:14 mark of the second half.

• Milton Jennings established a career-high with 28 points Sunday. He made 6-of-12 field goals and 16-of-18 at the free throw line.

• The 16 free throws were the most made by any Clemson player since the late Butch Zatezalo also made 16 against Wake Forest in the 1968-69 season.

• The 18 free throw attempts were the most by any Tiger since Chris Hobbs attempted 19 against Wake Forest on Feb. 13, 2002 – a game that went into three overtime periods.

• Jennings’ 28 points were the most by any Tiger this season, eclipsing fellow senior Devin Booker’s 27 at NC State. They were the most by a Clemson player since Andre Young had 29 against Georgia Tech last season.

• Jennings tied a career-high with 14 rebounds – the same total he had in a double-double effort in 2011-12 versus Furman.

• Jennings established a career-high with four blocked shots Sunday. His previous high had been three, including as recently as Thursday at Florida State.

• Jennings played all 40 minutes Sunday, the most minutes of his career.

• Booker was held to three points Sunday, a season-low for the Tigers’ leading scorer. It snapped a six-game double-figure scoring streak.

• Booker had 10 rebounds, the third time in seven ACC games he has reached double figures on the boards.

• Damarcus Harrison established a career-high Sunday with 19 points. His previous high was 15 in a win over SC State last December.

• Harrison tied season-highs for both field goals (6) and three-pointers (3) made, both coming against SC State.

• Harrison played a career-high 34 minutes on Sunday.

• K.J. McDaniels tied a career-high with 17 points and set a career-high with five made three-pointers. His previous high was four against UTEP, the same team he also scored 17 against earlier this season for his career-high.

• McDaniels has now had at least one blocked shot in nine consecutive games. He established the Clemson career record for blocks by players 6-foot-6 or shorter with 60. He did it in 79 fewer games than the previous record-holder Sam Perry.

• Rod Hall made his second three-pointer of the season and is now 6-for-9 (.667) in his career behind the arc.

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