Quotes, Notes & Numbers: Persistence, resilience pay off for Tigers

Brad Brownell: 'We had lost three in a row, but we didn’t play bad. You can lose games and play well, especially in this league'

Clemson's K.J. McDaniels blocks the shot of N.C. State's T.J. Warren during the second half at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's K.J. McDaniels blocks the shot of N.C. State's T.J. Warren during the second half at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.

Clemson's Brad Brownell

“It was a really good second half by our team tonight. I felt good about the game coming in and I told our guys that. We had a great practice Sunday coming off of the loss. Short, but very physical. We needed that tonight. They threw a bunch of different things at us and beside the bad play at the end of the first half, I thought we really played exceptionally well for 33-34 minutes of the game.”

On Rod Hall’s play: “We thought he could get in the paint against their smaller guards and have a chance to do some things. He should be able to do that against certain teams, and this is a game he could do that. They tried to do a lot of things to take K.J. (McDaniels) out and when those things happen, other guys have to step up. We can try and do some things as coaches to help K.J. a little bit, but at the end of the day they are forcing your other guys to be playmakers.

"Adonis (Filer) made shots, Damarcus (Harrison) was good tonight, and Landry (Nnoko) was certainly a factor. His size and length around the court on both sides was big. Again, I thought out guys played well. There were a couple breakdowns defensively, but I thought we were a good team tonight.”

On bouncing back after three straight losses: “We had lost three in a row, but we didn’t play bad. You can lose games and play well, especially in this league. You can play bad and win, but that doesn’t happen very often. I reminded our guys that we had done some good things. With nine or 10 minutes left at Syracuse, we were down five and made it a game, but we let it get away from us. At Notre Dame we didn’t play great for a while, but hung in there and had two chances to win the game. We ended up losing in double-overtime on one-day prep. We played a top-15 team in the country even for most of the night without a good player.

"It’s easy for everybody on the outside to think things are going awry, but we’re playing pretty good and sometimes you are going to play well and lose.”

On surpassing preseason expectations: “We haven’t worried about those things; we have used it a little bit as motivation because we thought we were better than we were picked. It doesn’t matter what you think, you’ve got to go play. The thing that our guys deserve credit for is playing hard. We’ve played hard most nights, given ourselves opportunities, competed and we’ve been together and stuck together. We’re far from a really good team, but we are a competitive team that when we play well, we can be a challenge and 13 games in (ACC play), we have proven that.”

NC State's Mark Gottfried

“You have to give Clemson a lot of credit because they played very well. We wanted to limit K.J. and keep him somewhat in check throughout the game, which I think we did at times. They answered by having some of their guys step up that hadn’t in other games, so you have to give those guys credit. Our team seemed to be a step slow all day. Not wanting to take anything away from Clemson, but we seemed to not really have the edge that we’ve had in a lot of our games. The fact that we were not at our best was very disappointing for us.”

On his team's performance: “Today we just didn’t have that same intensity level, zip, and energy that we usually do. We had a terrible start to the game and we got going at the end of the half. We just never seemed to have the same energy level that we’ve had in previous games, which was very frustrating.”

On T.J. Warren’s performance: “Truthfully, he has been very spectacular, but I thought today’s game was probably his worst game he has had in a long time. He just never really got going, and again, he did some things that he doesn’t normally do. He missed some shots around the rim and he bobbled the ball out of bounds. Those are things that T.J. doesn’t do very often, but he just had one of those days where everything wasn’t clicking. I think our whole team did and it wasn’t just T.J..”

On Brad Brownell preparing his team: “I think Brad has done an excellent job with his team. I don’t want to take anything away from what they did. They played well and had guys step up and score. (Rod) Hall had 20 and Harrison got 14. They played great tonight.”

On playing with an edge: “We have had a great edge all season and I didn’t see that tonight. We have had a spirit about us, but tonight it just seemed like we had cement boots on and couldn’t get going.”

Team Notes

• Clemson improved to 16-9 overall and 7-6 in the ACC.

• Clemson’s 73 points were its most against an ACC team this season, passing the 72 scored in a win over Duke on Jan. 11.

• The 73 points were the most scored by the Tigers since the 2012-13 team posted 77 in a win over Virginia Tech.

• Clemson blocked nine shots, its most since posting 10 against Wake Forest on Jan. 18.

• The Tiger defense held NC State to 56 points, 15 below the Wolfpack’s average entering the contest.

• Clemson added six steals defensively, matching its season-high against an ACC team.

• Clemson’s 17-point margin of victory was its largest in an ACC game since a 19-point win over Georgia Tech on Feb. 21, 2012.

• Clemson overcame a one-point halftime deficit, marking the fourth halftime deficit the Tigers have overcome in a victory this season. It is the most halftime rallies since the 2008-09 team also overcame four deficits after 20 minutes.

• The Tigers achieved their seventh ACC win on Feb. 18, the earliest calendar date since the 2008-09 season (Feb. 17) that Clemson notched a seventh league win.

• Clemson made 22-of-26 (.846) at the free throw line - the second straight game the Tigers shot over 80 percent at the charity stripe.

• Clemson’s 41 points in the second half matched the team’s season-high against an ACC team this season; the Tigers also had 41 in the second half of the Jan. 11 win over Duke.

• One game after suffering a season-low -13 rebound margin, Clemson won the battle on the glass 31-24 over NC State. The +7 figure was Clemson’s best since the Duke game.

Player Notes

• K.J. McDaniels scored double figures for the 22nd time this season. He finished with 12 points, but added six blocked shots defensively.

• McDaniels now has 72 blocked shots this season, just six shy of tying both Trevor Booker (2006-07) and Jerai Grant (2010-11) for the 10th-best single-season mark in school history.

• Rod Hall scored double figures for the 13th time this season, and second time in the last three games. He finished with a career-high 20 points.

• Hall recorded the highest perfect game of his career (8-for-8) from the free throw line.

• Damarcus Harrison scored 14 points, his highest effort since posting 20 against Davidson in the Charleston Classic on Nov. 22.

• It was Harrison’s first double figure effort in the scoring column since the Arkansas game on Dec. 7.

• Harrison drained his first three-point attempt. He has made at least one long ball in four straight games, a career-long streak for the junior.

• Adonis Filer made a pair of three-point buckets, his first game with multiple threes since the game at North Carolina on Jan. 26.

• Jaron Blossomgame made his eighth three-pointer of the season in the second half. He posted all seven of his points after halftime.

• Sidy Djitte earned his first start of his career at the center position. Djitte took his second charge of the season in the second half.

• Landry Nnoko returned to action after missing Saturday’s against Virginia with the flu. He posted nine points, six rebounds and three blocks in 29 minutes.

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Comments » 3

lhaselden writes:

A great team game, I would like to see Rod Hall show that aggressiveness offensively every game!

michtiger writes:

Good to see help for KJ. Also have to eat crow because Nnoko is showing growth, and I believe if he had been in the Va game we would have won. Hall has to keep this mind set that he has to be the 2nd scorer and Harrison is a better choice than Roper or Filer.

SoCalTiger writes:

Great win. I thought the Tigers might have a shot to sneak in in March but ESPN Bubble Watch says, "Clemson's 70s-ish RPI and 270s-ish nonconference slate disqualifies it even before you look at its remaining schedule." Maybe the NIT.

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