Quotes, Notes & Numbers: Tigers move into 2nd place via best ACC start in 17 years

Brad Brownell: 'We've found a way to win a lot of games that could have gone either way'

Clemson's Adonis Filer (3) attempts a layup as Wake Forest's Coron Williams (13) defends in the second half at Littlejohn Coliseum on Saturday.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

Clemson's Adonis Filer (3) attempts a layup as Wake Forest's Coron Williams (13) defends in the second half at Littlejohn Coliseum on Saturday.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell

“This was certainly a hard fought win today. I didn’t think we played real well in the first half, and as a coaching staff, we didn’t help our guys enough. I thought Wake was a little more aggressive than I thought they would be and it probably threw us off a little bit. We just got off to a bad start but I thought we were very good defensively, and that kept us in the game.

“Going into halftime I hoped that we would find our offense a little bit better and get some things figured out to win the game. We did in the second half. But give Wake a lot of credit. I thought their guys hit a lot of big shots, so we couldn’t really establish a big lead.”

On the Tigers playing their style as opposed to playing to the other team: “We’re trying to push the ball on their misses and we get teams to miss a lot of shots, but we’re just not as good as we need to be on capitalizing on those opportunities and scoring in open court situations. We’re not purposely waiting 30 seconds to shoot, we’re just looking for a good shot and sometimes it takes us a little longer. But I do think our team understands our identity and how we’re successful and we’ve done a good job playing that way. We've found a way to win a lot of games that could have gone either way.”

Wake Forest's Jeff Bzdelik

“It was a competitive game by both sides, give credit to Clemson for pulling it out. I thought a significant part of the game, from our standpoint, was when we were up 32-30 and they missed a shot, the ball was on the floor we ran out like we got it, but they got it. Then the next possession for Clemson, (K.J.) McDaniels had a run-in offensive rebound  I thought those two things were significant, turning the tide a little bit.”

On second half defense: “Our defense started to spread a little bit and they began to drive to the rim two or three times. We just got out of positioning off the ball.  We also had some really good looks offensively, got the ball close to the rim and they had several blocks, but you have to continue to score. If we had converted better around the rim, then they are not free-flowing on a break.”

On not going to a zone: “For three fourths of the game we defended pretty well, too  They are such a good offensive rebounding team that it just kept bodies on bodies. I didn’t like the way the zone looked that one possession. I just felt more comfortable with man-to-man tonight.”

Team Notes

Now 13-4 overall and 4-1` in the ACC, this marks Clemson’s best start to open ACC play since the 1996-97 team began with a 5-0 record.

Clemson matched its win total from all of last season with Saturday’s victory.

The 61-53 win was Clemson’s fifth straight in the series with Wake Forest, and fourth straight in Littlejohn Coliseum as well.

This is just the fourth time Clemson has had a team start the ACC regular season with at least a 4-1 record. The other seasons were 1986-87, 1989-90 and 1996-97.

Saturday’s win was Clemson’s 499th in Littlejohn Coliseum history. The Tigers will have a chance to win game No. 500 inside the facility that opened in 1968 with a victory over Georgia Tech.

Over the last three games, Clemson’s opponents are just 5-for-27 from the field inside the final five minutes. For the season, opponents are shooting just 4-of-44 (.091) from three-point range in the final five minutes.

Clemson blocked 10 shots - the third time this season the Tigers have recorded double digit blocks (South Carolina, Temple).

The Tigers made 18-of-21 free throws. The 85.7 percent figure was Clemson’s best against an ACC team (min. 10 attempts) since the Tigers made 18-of-20 (.900) at Florida State last season. Clemson currently leads the ACC in free throw shooting.

Player Notes

K.J. McDaniels posted his team-leading fourth double-double of the season. He finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

McDaniels’ 12 rebounds were a career-high. His previous high was 11 earlier this season at Arkansas.

McDaniels blocked four shots, upping his streak of consecutive games with at least one block to nine.

McDaniels now has 126 career blocked shots, tying him for eighth on Clemson’s all-time list with John “Moose” Campbell.

Jordan Roper reached double figures for the seventh time this season and 18th time in his career.

Ibrahim Djambo made his first three-pointer since Nov. 29 against Coastal Carolina. The junior forward drained his first attempt from the top of the key.

Djambo finished with multiple threes in a game for the first time this season. He was 0-for-8 since that Coastal Carolina game from long distance.

Landry Nnoko scored eight and now has 97 points on the season, over three times as many as he had (31) in 2012-13.

Damarcus Harrison made a career-high six free throws without a miss.

Josh Smith blocked two shots, matching his career high vs. Stetson to open the 2013-14 season.

Jaron Blossomgame took a charge in the second half. He is the first Tiger other than Adonis Filer to take a charge this season.

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Comments » 4

lhaselden writes:

WOW..... a great start and a great team win...... Now we go into a hard stretch,

waran writes:

I think we are going to win more than 1 of the next three games, with a few major upsets of predictions by the pundits.

Congratulations to the Tigers, they are playing well. Show passion, keep playing hard and you can beat anybody. We may not have the best shooters but we can compensate by playing hard.

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

Now it gets hard. Let's talk in a week or so and see how we are doing as far as wins and loses. We have some hard games on the road coming and something freaky will have to happen for us to win, I'm afraid. I hope we have a good enough team to stay with Syracuse up there and maybe win it in the end. Big hopes! A dream more than anything, I guess.

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

For this publication to write about our basketball team doing so well is sort of like winning the first game of the season and saying we are undefeated and have a good team. Let's see how we stand after the next 5 games and then we may have something to get excited about. We have played fairly well this season for the most part but have fallen flat a time or two. The next 5 games will tell us all we need to know about this years team.

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