Free Throws. Free Throws. Free Throws. They cost us again. There isn't much to be said about them that hasn't been said already. We've consistently missed them at crucial times all season. Hence the number of close losses that we've suffered this year. And it doesn't seem to matter if it's a freshmen or a senior. They're all missing them. It looks to me like our guys don't want to be on the line in pressure situations. Just look at Terrell Stoglin's body language compared to our guys when they head to the line.
It was a sloppy game that lacked flow throughout most of the game. Clemson again found themselves in a double digit deficit in the 2nd half. And they again found themselves making a furious rally in the final minutes to get back in the game. Last game it was aided by a zone press, this game it was aided by an extended 1-3-1 halfcourt trap. Switching from man-to-man to a 1-3-1, we were able to force the ball into troubled spots on the floor and produce a number of turnovers and rushed shots. The sped up pace of the game seemed to energize our guys for the second game in a row. Maybe we should start integrating different defenses earlier in the game in hopes to mitigate the flat starts we've had recently.
Behind the 1-3-1 trap, the Tigers quickly trimmed a 14 point deficit to a one possession game. With under a minute to go the Tigers got tight at the foul line and missed 4 out of 5 attempts from the line. Devin Booker missed 2 that could've cut a 3 point lead to 1. That was followed by Andre Young drawing a foul on a 3-point attempt, only to miss 2 of 3. There was something in the way both guys walked to the line that left me uneasy about their chances. Or maybe it's the fact that I've seen us struggle in clutch situations so often this year. At this point, its difficult to distinguish between the two.
Young, Jennings, and Booker were the only Tigers in double figures. Young and Jennings both got hot in the 2nd half from downtown, knocking down seven 3's. It was Jennings first game back from suspension, and although he still does many things that infuriate me, I thought he shot the ball with confidence and was generally pleased with his performance. I'd also like to point out that Booker is playing with a lot more confidence and energy the past couple games than he has at any other point this season. For as much as we ride him for being lazy, he has been busting his ass to on the backboards the last couple games. I believe that Jennings suspension may have had an impact on him. It seems it may have made him realize that this should be his team and that he needs to take ownership of it on game days. We'll see if he can sustain it, but in the mean time it's only fair to give credit where credit is due.
The most disappointing part of the game to me (besides losing) was that KJ McDaniels didn't get the start or as much run as I think he deserved after his tremendous game on Saturday. I think the worst thing you can do to a young guy is toy with his confidence level. After the way he played on Saturday, Brownell should've tried to keep the momentum going. Instead, he was subbed in and out frequently and was never able to get in a flow. He ended the game with just 2 points.
After evening their record at 3-3 in the ACC, the Tigers have now dropped 3 straight. They'll look to break that streak this weekend in Winston Salem when they take on Wake Forest.