McDaniels stars in Clemson road win at FSU

Clemson snaps two-game skid and five-game losing streak to FSU

Clemson's K.J. McDaniels shoots over Florida State's Aaron Thomas in the first half.

Clemson's K.J. McDaniels shoots over Florida State's Aaron Thomas in the first half.

K.J. McDaniels has been a star for the Tigers and among ACC peers all season.

But playing in front of family down from his Birmingham hometown, McDaniels went off with a spectacular 26-point, 7-rebound performance, leading Clemson to its third ACC road win of the season at Florida State, 53-49.

At the half, the junior swingman had nine of the Tigers’ 17 points, as Clemson trailed by 3.

In the second half, McDaniels took over.

Shooting woes plagued Clemson (14-6, 5-3 ACC) last time out at UNC, and Saturday afternoon at the Tucker Center appeared no different.

From the 6:08 mark in the first until almost two minutes into the second half, Clemson couldn’t muster a field goal…until McDaniels hit a 3-pointer. It wouldn’t be his last long-distance make, and stemming the tide of each attempted FSU run, he had an answer on his way to 26 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks.

"Offensively in the second half we figured some things out and did a better job of driving the ball and making better reads," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. "Obviously, K.J. was fantastic and another level guy today. Certainly was a huge difference for our team.

"His play in the first half gave the rest of our guys some confidence."

Redshirt freshman forward Jaron Blossomgame posted his second-best conference performance, adding 10 points and 6 rebounds – including a dagger from the perimeter to essentially put the Seminoles away with under two to go. Clemson hit its most 3-point attempts in 11 games (7), out of 19 attempts (5-10 in the second half).

From mid-first half on, Florida State (13-8, 4-5) was without its leading scorer, guard Ian Miller, with an ankle injury. But the Seminoles couldn’t muster any offensive flow all game. Sophomore guard Aaron Thomas was the only FSU player to reach double-digits (13). The Seminoles were held 34 percent shooting and became the seventh team to be held to 50 or less points by the Tigers this season.

"We felt like we could guard them again," Brownell said, recalling the 56-41 loss at home back in January. "Basically when we lost at our place, they scored 40 percent of their points off from turnovers. We had a lot of turnovers and looked bad in the first half today, but the best thing about it is they weren’t live-ball turnovers."

The Tigers snapped a two-game losing streak, where they were outscored 156-104 at Pittsburgh and UNC last week. It also snapped a five-game losing run to the ‘Noles. It was the first time in Clemson history that the Tigers won on the road after losing by four or more points at home to the same team in the same season (0-74 previously).

"I’m just really proud of our players," said Brownell. "We had three really great days of practice. Guys came in with great life and energy and we practiced hard. We had a little extra time and put in a little more fundamental stuff in. That helped us.

"We tried to build them back and get them confident. Let them know that we can play some good basketball and we’re going to have a bad week every once in a while in this league. Those weeks are out there."

After three-straight on the road, Clemson returns home on Tuesday to host Georgia Tech (8 p.m., ACC Network).

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Comments » 6

waran writes:

It was a good win but Clemson is still an inconsistent team. Brownell is not capable of motivating the team to perform at a high level on a consistent basis. We have a few talented players but not a good team or a good coach.

SoCalTiger writes:

McDaniels is the only player in the country in Division-1 basketball to lead their team in every category. Where is the help? Filer and Hall look lost and sloppy with the ball. Thank goodness for McDaniels, free throws and defense.

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

in response to waran:

It was a good win but Clemson is still an inconsistent team. Brownell is not capable of motivating the team to perform at a high level on a consistent basis. We have a few talented players but not a good team or a good coach.

We may not be any good but we beat Duke and they played a great game on the road against the number 2 team in the nation yesterday and if not for a lousy no call they may have won. Everybody has an opinion on everything but, I say we must be doing something right because we did beat Duke and we have won 3 ACC road games I believe. After last year, I thought our young players would be much better this year but, it just doesn’t seem like that has proven true thus far. Maybe by the end of the season they will all be playing better. They play like they have their own head stuck up their own hinnies at times. They just can’t see things clearly when their anatomy is in the position

waran writes:

I think there are two lessons from this year's Super Bowl for the Clemson Football and Basket Ball Teams:
1) a strong defense is always going to prevail (especially if you cant protect the QB);
2) the "will" to win is more important than talent.

Suresh

HoopsMan writes:

in response to tigerrob44#291802:

We may not be any good but we beat Duke and they played a great game on the road against the number 2 team in the nation yesterday and if not for a lousy no call they may have won. Everybody has an opinion on everything but, I say we must be doing something right because we did beat Duke and we have won 3 ACC road games I believe. After last year, I thought our young players would be much better this year but, it just doesn’t seem like that has proven true thus far. Maybe by the end of the season they will all be playing better. They play like they have their own head stuck up their own hinnies at times. They just can’t see things clearly when their anatomy is in the position

Yes we did beat Duke which is huge for any team, but we got killed by UNC who at the time had only ONE ACC win so far. Whatever we gained with the Duke victory we lost it when we got blown out by UNC. Brownell is a good coach and he has done well where he was at prior to coming here, but after 4 years he has consistently gone downhill. Yes he has had some very good wins but he also has had some more devastating losses to teams that should have NEVER had a chance to beat us. The team is inconsistent and the lack of talent IS a reflection on the staff since they are the ones who are supposed to bring talent in. If they cant recruit and they cant put into effect a solid style of play then there needs to be a change in coaches. We have had too many players transfer out (and not all of them were when Brownell first was hired) and we have not had any team cohesion since he got here. Brownell has been here 4 years and he might end up being here next year but if the overall record gets worse this year as it has for the past 3 seasons then a change has to happen if we expect to be competitive in the ACC.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to waran:

I think there are two lessons from this year's Super Bowl for the Clemson Football and Basket Ball Teams:
1) a strong defense is always going to prevail (especially if you cant protect the QB);
2) the "will" to win is more important than talent.

Suresh

1) No, a GREAT defense always prevails. Clemson's defense is certainly NOT great in either sport.

2) That's a steaming pile of crap. Talent determines who wins. Will to win and coaching is the tiebreaker. Don't fool yourself into thinking that Brownell can get these guys to play hard and that'll be enough.

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