This win should be the cherry on top of our NCAA Tournament sundae. Completely and utterly dominating a fellow bubble team on a neutral court has to look good in the eyes of the selection committee.
Clemson held on to a 33-25 halftime lead, but damn if it wasn’t ugly. We were able to build an early 17-3 lead, but BC slowly and surely dwindled that deficit throughout the half. The offense seemed out of sync most of the half, throwing up a lot of quick shots and not getting into the flow of the offense. We also turned the ball over 8 times in the first half, most of which were unforced. We finished the half with 7 turnovers. Nonetheless, we held the lead because Reggie Jackson was bottled up by Stitt. Stitt did a good job of keeping Jackson away from the basket and forcing him to be a jumpshooter, where he missed some open shots.
The second half was a completely different story. I thought we played a complete half on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Offensively we moved the ball well and guys knocked down open shots. We were aggressive on the boards, creating second chance opportunities that generally led to points. Defensively we locked down one of the more potent offenses in the ACC. BC came into this game averaging 1.09 points per possession against ACC competition, but were able to get just 0.76 point per possession on the day. That is an unbelievable defensive effort and it can’t be overstated how much of an improvement the Tigers halfcourt defense has improved this year under Brad Brownell.
Stitt was the star of the game, completely outplaying his 1st Team All-ACC counterpart, Reggie Jackson. Stitt finished with another superb all-around game: 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Next up, UNC. We’ve played them extremely close in both games so far this year, but haven’t been able to get over the hump. UNC struggled today against Miami and they were lucky to be able to escape with a win. That was their wake up call. Clemson won’t catch them sleepwalking tomorrow, so we’ll need to come ready to play. I have confidence that we’ll bring the necessary energy. But, its tough to see us prevailing as long as John Henson is able to completely stifle Grant. We aren’t going to win by chucking up 3’s all game. We need an inside presence to be successful.