Clemson survives letdown trap heading into tough stretch

Clemson's Landry Nnoko (35) shoots over Wake Forest's Devin Thomas in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Clemson, S.C. on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson's Landry Nnoko (35) shoots over Wake Forest's Devin Thomas in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Clemson, S.C. on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

'Sky's the limit' for Tigers

Tigers enter rough stretch

Keeping players' attention for any game is hard enough these days, but coming off a big win? The litany of letdown losses is found across college basketball.

Clemson didn't just knock off No. 16 Duke on Jan. 11 - they dominated the final 20 minutes, en route to a 70-59 triumph.

But the real challenge came as a favorite in the two games this past week, at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, and both by single-digits, they were able to improve to their best ACC record since 1996-97.

"There's always a chance you can have a let down mentality after a win," Tigers fourth-year coach Brad Brownell said. "I'm proud of the way our guys approached both games this week. As a staff, we did a good job of keeping our guy's mind on the right things. We didn't play great all the time, but we played hard."

The constant - of course - was K.J. McDaniels, who built on a 14-point effort at Virginia Tech with his fourth double-double of the year against Wake Forest (15 points/12 rebounds).

Sophomore guard Adonis Filer had one of his best weeks of the season utilizing his driving ability to shoot just under percent (5-of-11) for 17 points in 41 minutes.

"Adonis is most definitley the most energetic player on the team," McDaniels said Saturday. "In practice he lifts us up when we're down. Adonis does a great job of talking to everybody.

"Adonis is a great breakdown player and one of the great one-on-one players in the league. To have him out there doing that is a relief."

Filer still leads the Tigers in 3-point percentage (42.9) as well.

Sophomore center Landry Nnoko had four and McDaniels added five blocks combined the last two games. In 11 minutes per contest, sophomore forward Josh Smith averaged three points and four rebounds with a pair of blocks.

Going into a stretch of five on the road in the next six games, Brownell will take the week sweep, as his team pushes for its first postseason trip since 2010.

"That's not easy to do anymore," said Brownell. "It's hard to play consistently. It really is. Getting into all these games there are just a lot of good players on both teams and good coaches.

"The margin each way is very small. It's hard to grind these things out."

Notable stat ranks nationally (through Saturday)

Defensive points per possession: 0.852 (No. 4)

FG% defense: 36.2 (No. 3)

2FG% defense: 41.2 (No. 9)

3FG% defense: 24.9 (No. 1)

Blocks per game: 6.5 (No. 9)

Pos. per 40 minutes: 62.6 (No. 349)

Blocks per game (individual): McDaniels 2.8 (No. 21)

+/- average (individual): Landry Nnoko, Rod Hall 14.5 (No. 31)

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Comments » 2

Thumbcat writes:

Brandon, I enjoy your articles so keep up the good work, but I just can't pass this up :).

"Sophomore guard Adonis Filer had one of his best weeks of the seasons utilizing his driving ability to shoot over 50 percent (5-of-11)".

Is this Tarheel math?

BrandonRink writes:

in response to Thumbcat:

Brandon, I enjoy your articles so keep up the good work, but I just can't pass this up :).

"Sophomore guard Adonis Filer had one of his best weeks of the seasons utilizing his driving ability to shoot over 50 percent (5-of-11)".

Is this Tarheel math?

Ha, yeah, not my best sentence written from the typo to the math. Fixed.

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