Quotes, Notes & Numbers: 'I'm sure it hurts it a lot,' says Brownell of NCAA hopes

'Our best player had a tough night, he hasn't had many...We didn't have enough other guys to play well to carry us'

Clemson coach Brad Brownell points out a missed call to a referee at Georgia Tech Saturday. (AP Photo)

Clemson coach Brad Brownell points out a missed call to a referee at Georgia Tech Saturday. (AP Photo)

Clemson's Brad Brownell

"Give Jeff Bzdelik, his staff and players a lot of credit tonight. They played very well, especially in the second half, and really responded after a difficult loss at North Carolina. I thought they came ready to play. We did some decent things in the first half and built a little bit of a lead but the first four minutes (of the second half) were critical. We talked about that in the locker room at half time.

"The Wake players just made some really good plays early on in the game. We got out of character a little bit, settled for too many jump shots against a zone and we didn't respond as well as we needed too. Our best player had a tough night, he hasn't had many, but tonight was a night where he struggled a little and we didn't have enough other guys to play well to carry us in the second half.

"(Landry) Nnoko was in foul trouble. That's a problem and Wake was able to capitalize. They executed very well offensively. Jeff and his staff have recruited some very good young players their sophomore class is really good. Those guys played with a lot of confidence."

On K.J.'s injury impacting his performance: "He was having some problems. I know something happened in the middle of the game and he was trying to get some treatment while the game was going on. I don't know exactly what it was. Nobody told me that he couldn't play, but it obviously affected him because he's normally a better player than he was tonight and shoots the ball a lot better than he did."

On how this game hurts Clemson's NCAA tournament chances: "I'm sure it hurts it a lot. Just losing hurts, though we don't want to lose any game. Losing the way we did where we were in control at half time is disappointing. We have a young team. We don't have any seniors and we are learning as we go on this journey.

"We found ourselves in situations where we have been down a little bit in some games like this on the road and we've managed to turn the tables on some other teams and come back and win. I challenged my guys tonight and said, `Hey, we haven't been in this situation very often, where we are up like this in games.' It's been a while in a road game where we are up and we have to try to finish off a home team who is going to come after you because they are probably hearing from their coach that they need to be doing better. That's why the first four minutes where critical and we didn't handle that.

"What we did was give wake a bunch of confidence right after half time and put ourselves back on our heels. Again, Nnoko was in foul trouble, K.J. wasn't having one of his better games and defensively we struggled to guard them in the second half."

On Damarcus Harrison's performance: "He's playing better, which is really good. We need another consistent performer on the floor. He made some really good baskets in the first half driving the ball and making some plays off the bounce. He made a couple of big threes in the second half that gave us a little hope and chance. It was good to see him follow up with another 15-point game and if he can continue to play like that and K.J.'s playing well and Nnoko is on the court and Rod (Hall) is doing his thing, we will be better. It was good to see Damarcus play well tonight."

Wake Forest's Jeff Bzdelik

"In the second half we corrected what we were not doing well in the first half. It has really been our Achilles' heel in the past couple weeks, and that was out-rebounding Clemson in the second half. In the first half I believe they had more offensive rebounds than we had defensive rebounds. We turned the ball over eight times in the first half and only six times in the second half. We turned the ball over less and won the rebound battle and also ran our offense well.

"Clemson is a great defensive team and we shot a really good percentage both halves, which throughout the course of the ACC season we have done a pretty good job of most of the time. When you cannot convert from the free throw line and rebound the basketball those are momentum killers. That and the 2-3 zone changed the whole game for us."

On the impact of the victory: "At one time we were 14-6 and we have played some tough teams. I believe that we lost our confidence which happens to anybody. Their confidence should be back now. Our guys fought through it and I am really proud of them."

On the second-half play: "Confidence is such a fragile thing at any level with any athlete. You have to play with great confidence and play fearless and not fearful. You have to play to win and not to play to lose."

Team Notes

· Clemson’s 62-57 loss at Wake Forest snapped a five-game winning streak for the Tigers over the Demon Deacons.

· With the loss, Clemson fell to just 2-19 all-time in Lawrence Joel Coliseum.

· Clemson’s 37.5 percent free throw mark Tuesday was a season-low and program-low in 123 games under Head Coach Brad Brownell.

· Clemson had a 15-0 advantage in second chance points, its largest margin of the season. It was also the first time this season Clemson did not allow a second chance point.

· Wake Forest shot 55.3 percent, the third time an ACC opponent has shot 54 percent or higher against the Tigers this season.

· For the first time in the 2013-14 season, Clemson lost a game when leading at halftime. The Tigers were 12-0 entering Tuesday’s contest.

Player Notes

· K.J. McDaniels reached double figures in the scoring column for the 24th time in 27 games. He finished with 10 points.

· McDaniels saw his eight-game streak of multiple blocks snapped, but did have one to extend his overall streak to nine games with at least one.

· Rod Hall posted double figures for the 14th time this season, 10 more than he had his entire career entering 2013-14.

· Hall made multiple three-pointers Tuesday, the sixth time this season he made at least two, all on the road.

· Damarcus Harrison extended his streak of games with at least one three-pointer to six, a career-long streak.

· Harrison scored double figures for the third straight game, the first time he has done that in his career (88 games).

· Jaron Blossomgame posted nine points, his high point total since scoring 10 in a win at Florida State on Feb. 1.

· Ibrahim Djambo blocked his first shot since the Pittsburgh game on Jan. 21 and took his second charge of the season.

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michtiger writes:

Now can we stop talking about the NCAA. when we lost to Va it was over. Remember we have a n ACC schedule that played the top 4 teams only once. We lost to a horrible team in Auburn and really poor in ND and WF and played no one in pre season. So lets look at continued growth. Next year with KJ, Hall, Harrison and an improving Bloosmgame and Nnoko we will be solid. A good shooter coming in and either Roper or Filer developing and Smith gaining skills could be interesting. Hope KJ is not hurt. Goal is try to finish in the top seven to get a bye and a second round bottom third team.

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