Shell-shocked Tigers must regroup, 'fight'

Men's Basketball - Brad Brownell

Photo by Mark Crammer

Men's Basketball - Brad Brownell

After the hot ACC start, Clemson's regression towards the mean this past week isn't all too surprising.

Pittsburgh will likely be a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament, and "The Pete" has been unforgiving to most any opposing team that's entered its doors.

The story at North Carolina is, uh, well-known.

Troubling, though, is how the losses have come about: Not. Even. Close. Bad offense. Bad defense. And a number of questions with still 11 conference games left - three of the next four on the road.

This past week a usually stingy 'D' gave up 25 more points (78) and 20 percent worse shooting (56) a game than they had averaged going in.

Tigers have to keep 'fighting'

McDaniels shoulders blame for loss

After struggles the last two seasons, Clemson's head coach says they're having to adjust to the expectations their prior play set for them.

"We've got to figure out a way here in the next three weeks to keep hanging in there," Brad Brownell said, "Grind, and get better, and work ourselves out of the hole. It's also for the last week, we've been 4-1 and 4-2 in the ACC and we're ahead of everybody we're playing or tied and so these guys are coming after you.

"We haven't had that at Clemson in a couple of years so that's a new thing for us to deal with."

It can't go without saying, however, that North Carolina put together one of its best games of the season Sunday night in Chapel Hill, after starting 1-4 in ACC play.

"You know they've played with much more competitive spirit than I've seen on them in some other games," said Brownell. "They were really ready to compete tonight."

"It was a good basketball game for us," UNC coach Roy Williams added. "You need to have that sense of urgency every time we play. If we do have it, we've got a better chance. If we don't have that sense of urgency, it's really difficult for us."

K.J. McDaniels was the consistent factor he's been all season, but his frustration built through the night as UNC clamped down and made the rest of the Tigers beat them. They didn't.

Before the end of a 13-minute-plus FG drought into the second half, McDaniels had put up 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Combined, his Clemson compadres had put up 12 points on 2-of-25 shooting.

It's back to the drawing board heading into another tough environment and tough defensive team this Saturday at Florida State (3 p.m.).

"Our guys tried," McDaniels said. "We missed a few shots that we should have made, but we had a lot of defensive lapses. That's something we have to examine in practice and get back to the film and help figure it out. We have to learn from it.

"I need to just let them know that I have confidence in them. I know they have confidence in me, but I think I have to let them know that I have a lot of confidence in them. We just have to keep fighting."

Fight was a common theme out of Sunday's postgame, coming off back-to-back games where the result seem decided at half (and maybe more accurately, the first 10 minutes).

"I thought we were going to come back and fight," sophomore Tigers center Landry Nnoko said. "I knew I was going to come back and fight...I thought a couple guys fought, not all of us, but we're just trying to win the game."

The struggle is staying upbeat and together, a team unity that was forged a little stronger by last summer's Italy trip.

"I believe we just need to stay together," said McDaniels. "Can't get apart from each other. Got to stay positive. We're a team everybody's coming after. We just have to stay positive and keep moving forward."

© 2014 OrangeAndWhite.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 5

michtiger writes:

KJ how can you show more faith in them? Besides the coaches, fans and reporters have built a false story with one decent win and a preconference schedule in the high 290 range out of 300 plus schools. The team looks like it has fallen for the lie and believe they do not have to work. When the team realizes there are a hundred plus teams better than them and only effort and work will improve that you will not be any better. KJ you should be mad when players come on the court and show very poor skills and effort. We have let you down if that is the best the school can recruit.

clmtgr92 writes:

The problem with this team is that the guards are not really D-1 level players. How do you expect to win when your most experienced point guard cannot get more than 3 assists a game or score in double figures?

SoCalTiger writes:

Brad Brownell is Larry Shyatt 2.0

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

There is a saying that says if you take your head out of your rear end you could see things more clearly. We have been playing like we can't see anything because our heads are up our own ? I blamed in on being so young last year but what can I blame it on this year.

ksjmcdaniels#292096 writes:

in response to michtiger:

KJ how can you show more faith in them? Besides the coaches, fans and reporters have built a false story with one decent win and a preconference schedule in the high 290 range out of 300 plus schools. The team looks like it has fallen for the lie and believe they do not have to work. When the team realizes there are a hundred plus teams better than them and only effort and work will improve that you will not be any better. KJ you should be mad when players come on the court and show very poor skills and effort. We have let you down if that is the best the school can recruit.

I love you MICHTIGER,you are right again .After a lost like UNC. do you know that it is Wednesday and they have not practiced or watched film after Sundays embarrassing loss.AT ALL,VERY SAD SITUATION.kj IS MAD,finally.

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features