Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Clemson notched their second consecutive victory in ACC play, by downing Wake Forest 60-44. The Tigers were in command throughout, as Wake Forest never cut the deficit to single digits in the 2nd half. That's back-to-back games allowing just 44 points.
The defensive statistics are really quite incredible. Wake's 44 points were 16 points below their previous season low of 60 points. Those 44 points came on 60 possessions, for an offensive efficiency of 0.73. Wake shot just 24.6% from the floor and 20% from behind the arc. Clemson had an astounding 11 blocked shots, 7 of which came courtesy of K.J. McDaniels. You won't find another team in the country that has a 6'6 G/F that intimidates people at the rim the same way McDaniels does. He also added another Sportscenter Top 10 when he follow dunked over Wake Forest's freshman Center. His final line was 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 blocks.
It wasn't just McDaniels on the defensive end though. The entire team got after it tonight. Devin Booker had another high energy performance, finishing with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 monster alley-oop. The defensive energy was contagious. When Rod Hall got in on the block party you could see the enthusiasm oozing from the bench.
And speaking of the bench, the two freshmen spark plugs, Filer and Roper, both had quality offensive showings. Filer scored 13 points on a very efficient 6 shots. He did what he does best, got into the lane and attacked the basket. Roper also did what he did best, and that's knock down open looks from behind the arc. He finished with 9 points, knocking down 3-4 from deep.
This team may not be the most aesthetically pleasing on offense, but with the way this defense has been playing they've been able to get away with it the last two games. I never would've thought I'd be saying this, but the offense seems to run best when they're going through Devin Booker. He has really stepped up his game in ACC play and is fighting hard for position and demanding the ball. He's had laziness issues in the past, but I can't say that I've seen signs of it in the past 4 games. He is exactly what this team needs when the young guards get the deer-in-the-headlights look on their faces. Just dump it in to the big fella and let him operate.
And while we're on that subject, I still haven't figured out why a right-handed post player's go to move is a lefty jump hook. Is it from watching his brother shoot left-handed jump hooks? It's not the worst move in the world. It goes in sometimes, but I'd think he'd be able to score at a much higher rate inside if he was using his dominant hand. Or at least using both hands. But he goes primarily to the lefty baby hook. If someone has the answer I'd love to hear it.
After a very rocky start to ACC play, Clemson heads to NC State this Sunday for a prime time (6PM) contest against the conference front runner. NC State is playing really good basketball right now after knocking off Duke this past weekend. It'll take a tremendous effort to escape Raleigh with a W. But I give our guys a fighting chance now, something I wouldn't have done a week ago.