Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
77-41. This is type of outcome you expect to see when you are playing inferior competition. And lets get this straight, South Carolina State is the epitome of inferior competition. They are one of the worst teams in in Division I, ranked 344 out of 347 by Kenpom.
So while it's nice to get back on the winning side of things, this victory didn't mask Clemson's deficiencies, as hard as SC State tried to do just that. I implore you to watch Devin Booker and Milton Jennings play defense. Don't watch the ball, just watch these guys on a few possessions. I watched them the entire 1st half, and I can say with certainty that ACC big men are salivating over how lackadaisical and soft those guys approach their defensive responsibilities. They don't body up their man, they don't deny post entry, and they allow themselves to get pushed under the rim on defensive rebounds. It looks like they are sleepwalking out there. SC State was able to pull down offensive rebounds on 35% of their misses. That's absolutely inexcusable, and our two senior big men are to blame.
I'm also a bit puzzled by the number of 3-point attempts we've been throwing up the last fews games. After going 4-21 against Coastal Carolina, you'd think the initiative would be to drive the ball to the basket. Instead, we came out and shot 8-25 (32%) this afternoon. We only attempt 61 FGs total, so 41% of them were threes. I have a big problem with our most athletic player, K.J. McDaniels, attempting 6 of his 8 FG attempts from behind the arc. That's not the smartest way to utilize your athleticism, and I hope he doesn't keep settling for 3s as we move forward. We are not a 3-point shooting team, so this type of ratio will get us into big trouble against teams that are able to get a hand up in our shooters' faces.
Despite those issues, Clemson still was able to win by 36, so obviously there were some bright spots. I thought the best move the day was when Brownell, after seeing Clemson sleepwalk through the first 10 minutes and trailing 13-11, decided to press full court. It's a good move for two reasons. First, it wakes up a sleeping team and forces them to get after it. Secondly, it increases the number of possessions. And whenever you are clearly the more superior team, more possessions allows more opportunities to prove that. Very much like a underdog football team trying to control the clock in order to limit the number of possessions against a superior team.
I think this team is well-suited to run and we saw that today. Even on misses we were pushing the tempo. We know that's not Brownell's style so I'm not sure that we can expect to see it moving forward. But with Adonis Filer's aggressiveness, K.J. and Booker's athleticism, Harrison and Roper spotting up for 3, it would behoove Coach Brownell to at least experiment with it some more against the Citadel. In this contest it allowed Clemson to close the half on a 25-5 run.
It was elementary after halftime, as Brownell emptied the bench very early. All 11 players that dressed scored in this one. Damarcus Harrison and Jennings led the way with 15, while Booker and McDaniels chipped in with 11 and 10, respectively.
Next up is the Citadel on January 1st. While you are watching glorious college football, tune your laptop into ESPN3 and check out the Tigers in their last tuneup before FSU comes to Littlejohn.