12/7 @ Arkansas
Result: 74-68 Defeat
Leading Scorer: K.J. McDaniels (27)
Key Stat: Arkansas scored 21 more points from three point range than Clemson
- DeMarcus Harrison was back in the starting lineup after Coleman got the nod and scored 16 against SC State. I'm unsure what is causing Brownell to change his starter at the position every week. Harrison scored 13, but missed nine field goals. He brings a lot of aggressiveness which this team often needs. In fact, he drew a shooting foul, then was called for an offensive foul, and shortly thereafter had a great drive and layup. This all came in the opening minutes. The aggressiveness and defensive presence are most likely the reason he is back in the starting lineup, however I'm not sure that'd be my preference. Coleman only played eight minutes, but was also very aggressive while in the game. What do you think? Who would you like to see Brownell start at the #2?
- It looked promising early, then thirty points from behind the arc hit like a hailstorm. Clemson's perimeter defense was uncharacteristically bad and Arkansas was silly hot. They shot 48% from three even after a cold shooting stretch to close them game. Most of those three pointers were poorly contested so we can't call it lucky.
- K.J. bounced back from a poor performance against SC State. He scored 27 to lead all scorers and was 8/8 from the charity stripe. He collected 11 rebounds giving him his second career double-double (other was vs. SCar). You hate to lose with a performance like that. Commentators made a couple references to K.J. playing like Andre Iguodala which I thought was an apt comparison.
- The offensive play in the paint was paltry. There were numerous times when the ball was being tipped around the basket, but it never fell. Nnoko, Blossomgame, Djitte, and Djambo--that's the two-deep at C and PF--combined for three measly points. That's atrocious and needs to be fixed. Again, we're not expecting a ton of offense from the center position, but that's both post positions doing almost nothing offensively. We can't have that.
- Fortunately the post defense was much better than the post offense. Nnoko and KJ were swatting balls and getting stops early. Then Nnoko got in foul trouble and Arkansas starting relying on the three--to success.
- Josh Smith has fallen out of the rotation with Djitte taking his spot as the backup for Nnoko. We've seen lineup changes come and go with Brownell so this is far from permanent. Nnoko and Djitte both fouled out, though the latter was due to intentional fouling with time winding down. Given the foul trouble Nnoko often gets in, this is a relatively important part of our rotation.
- Michael Qualls was awesome for Arkansas. He scored eight straight at one point to open up the first lead for Arkansas. He was an amazing 6/7 from the field and hit two threes, both of which came during the first half onslaught when everything was falling
- The offense spent a lot of time passing from point-to-wing-to-point-to-wing. I imagine it was just to slow the game down and burn clock, but I'm not fond of an offense that has a built in dilly dally to waste clock early in the game or when trailing by a couple.
- Coming out of the second half down just eight, Clemson failed to adjust their atrocious perimeter defense. Arkansas responded by drilling two three-pointers. That was crippling. Clemson then switched to a 2-3 zone, which helped. When they switched by to man-to-man defense, Arkansas had cooled off.
- Although he didn't play much, Devin Coleman was called for palming. I can't even be mad, it's always good to see referees make that call. It needs to be called more (especially in the NBA).
- There was an exciting stretch there at the end. McDaniels hit a huge three, then Harrison swiped a steal. He went up for a layup but it was blocked. On the next possession, Hall, who had played pretty well in the second half, opted not to pass to the steaming hot McDaniels and instead missed a fadeaway from just beyond the block. That was the dagger. I would have preferred McDaniels to have the ball in that spot.
- Clemson still hasn't won a game we didn't expect them to win, nor have they lost a game we didn't expect them to lose. In the Q&A session with Arkansas Fight, both I and the Razorback blogger picked Arkansas to win. Anyone who had inklings that this was an NCAA Tournament team needs to take a chill pill. In our STS Season Preview I predicted us to finish the regular season with about 15 wins. DrB was a bit more optimistic, but we agreed that an NIT bid was the goal for this season and we look to be on that pace.
- Changing gears, given the losses by NIU and Oklahoma State, our Orange Bowl projection is looking solid. The BCS selection show should be fun and it'll be the last one. In case you missed it, here's the link to our STS Bowl Pick'em Group.