Quotes, Notes & Numbers: Tigers were hungry, efficient against Panther zone

Brad Brownell hoping for good news on Jaron Blossomgame's injury scare

Clemson's Rod Hall keeps the ball away from Georgia State's Devonta White in the second half of their NIT game at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson on Tuesday night.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson's Rod Hall keeps the ball away from Georgia State's Devonta White in the second half of their NIT game at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson on Tuesday night.

Clemson's Brad Brownell

“Good win tonight. Georgia State is a highly talented team that can pass it and shoot it and it’s hard to beat them. I thought we did some good things offensively against the zone and had a pretty good mix. Certainly K.J. (McDaniels) was fantastic tonight; Damarcus (Harrison) and (Jordan) Roper were good sidekicks, especially with Landry (Nnoko) in foul trouble and not having him for most of the first half. But this was a good win against a team that is talented and used to winning.”

On McDaniels setting the tone with an early three-pointer: “Our guys were ready to play. We had a good practice yesterday and had good meetings so our guys were definitely excited about this opportunity and prepared the right way for it. These mid-major teams that win regular season championships are good programs and they have good coaches and the biggest thing is they have confidence because they’re used to winning. So, when they come into these arenas they’re ready to play.”

On the health of Jaron Blossomgame: “I’m not sure yet. We’re optimistic that nothing is wrong. I know it scared him so we’re going to x-ray him and hope he's OK."

On the play of Damarcus Harrison: “He’s just gotten some confidence. He still has to play consistently well, and he’s a guy that we expect to play at a high level. But when he’s going, he’s a good player. He is someone who can do a lot of different things for us. He’s not great at any one thing, but he can do everything pretty well and I thought he played well tonight with a lot of confidence.”

On the Tigers' offensive play: “We did a good job against all that zone. It’s 40 minutes and it always changes. As the game went on I thought we made adjustments and played well. When you look at our stats, we had a pretty efficient game.”

Georgia State's Ron Hunter

“First I want to say how proud I am of these guys sitting here, Devonta White and Manny Atkins. We all walked into this thing together about two and a half years ago. Manny was the first guy we brought in and D-White was here already, and we said we wanted to win championships and change the culture here. These guys helped me do that. I am forever indebted to them. This university is too, and I’m really proud.

"We lost to a very good basketball team tonight but we fought and played hard. They made a couple runs like I thought they would do. We showed that we can play with people and give a lot of credit to Clemson.”

On his late-game technical foul: “You’ll have to talk to the referees to learn what that was about. I questioned a call because I thought it was goaltending, so I slapped my hands to say that I thought it slapped against the boards. He thought that I was mocking him. I thought he pinned the ball against the backboard, which would be goaltending. They only made one free throw out of it but they were already in the bonus.

"I don’t know if it rattled us and I don’t know if it really got them going, but they made some free throws. One play here, one play there."

On the fatigue factor: “I thought we got a little fatigued. I told our staff I thought we were getting a little fatigued. We just played the other night. I was using timeouts more to rest than to strategize. These guys played an overtime game the other so I was using timeouts to give them rest.”

On motivating his team: “We’re playing in the NIT, against Clemson, an ACC school, so I didn’t have any trouble motivating them. We had two goals at the beginning of the year. One was to win the conference championship, and we did. The second was to make postseason play and we did that, too. You shouldn’t have to motivate to come into this facility.

"I was absolutely stunned to walk out on that court and see how many Georgia State people had come. My first game at Georgia State there weren’t even that many people at Georgia State! I’m so proud of our university. To see our fans and our band and our cheerleaders, students who were on spring break to make the trip down? That was motivation enough.”

On the game plan to limit K.J. McDaniels: “We didn’t have a lot of time heading into this. We didn’t even practice before the game. Shootaround was the first chance we had to practice. So we really didn’t have much time to game-plan. He’s a really good player. I’d be shocked to see Clemson not in the finals. Clemson’s a very good team and it’s going to be hard to beat them, especially if they’re playing here.

"Our job was to keep bodies around him if we could. He’s a really good player who, what I love about him, is he doesn’t force anything. If he couldn’t get off a good shot he went to the glass. Our game plan was just to keep doing what we were doing. We didn’t really have a chance to prepare for him like we usually would.”

Team Notes

• Clemson improved to 21-12, its largest win total since the 2010-11 team also won 21 games.

• Clemson has increased its win total by eight this season, the school’s largest jump in one season since 1938 when the Tigers went from six to 16.

• The Tigers have now won 10 consecutive NIT home games dating to 1982.

• Clemson scored 78 points Tuesday. The Tigers are now 10-1 this season when posting at least 70.

• The 78 points were the most in a Clemson win since its last game against a non-ACC opponent. The Tigers scored 80 in a win over VMI on Dec. 30.

• Clemson blocked nine shots Tuesday, its highest total in 30 NIT games. The previous best was eight against Ole Miss in 2007.

• Clemson matched a season-high with 16 assists (vs. Furman).

• The Tigers shot 85 percent at the free throw line, the sixth time this season Clemson has shot at least 85 percent at the stripe given a minimum of 10 attempts.

• Clemson shot 51 percent from the floor, just the fourth time this season over 50 percent. The Tigers are 3-1 in those games this season.

Player Notes

• K.J. McDaniels tied career highs with 30 points and 14 rebounds. The junior from Birmingham, Ala., posted his 13th game with at least 20 points this season.

• McDaniels’ 30 points were the third-most in a postseason game by a Tiger, trailing only the 34 by Larry Nance against Temple in the 1981 NIT and Horace Grant’s 33 against Middle Tennessee in the 1986 NIT.

• McDaniels recorded his ACC-leading sixth “20 & 10” game of the season Tuesday. His total is the highest for a Clemson player since Sharone Wright had seven in 1993-94.

• McDaniels scored double figures for the 30th time this season. He now has 575 points on the season, moving him into a tie for the seventh-best single season total in school history with Elden Campbell from 1989-90.

• McDaniels now has 996 points and needs just four to become the 37th member of Clemson’s 1,000 point career club.

• Prior to McDaniels, Clemson’s most recent player to post at least 30-10-5 in the same game was Dale Davis in 1991. McDaniels has done it twice this season (at Notre Dame).

• McDaniels’ double-double was his team-leading eighth of the season.

• McDaniels also posted five blocks, his high since tallying six in a win over Maryland in Littlejohn Coliseum on March 2.

• McDaniels’ five blocks tied a Clemson player high in 30 NIT games. Sharone Wright had five against Auburn in 1993.

• McDaniels now has 91 blocks on the season, the most by a Tiger since Wright had 99 in 1993-94. It is the eighth-best single season total in Clemson history.

• Landry Nnoko had two blocked shots Tuesday and has 60 on the season. It is the first time in Clemson history two players have had at least 60 blocks in the same season.

• Damarcus Harrison reached double figures for the seventh time in the last nine games. The junior guard posted 17 points, his second-highest total this season trailing only the 20 he posted against Davidson in November.

• Jordan Roper scored double figures for the 11th time this season and third time over Clemson’s last four games.

• Roper added four assists, his high since the Dec. 3 game against SC State.

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33dtb writes:

Go Tigers !!!!!

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