Well it wasn't pretty but we needed it badly. Without Demontez Stitt at the point, and with Trevor Booker off all night, Jerai Grant had the game of his career and we played outstanding on defense to hold the 2nd-ranked offense (in efficiency) in the ACC to 53 points on 34.6% shooting.
We all knew from the start that without Stitt in there we'd be in trouble offensively, and his absence certainly showed. We were unable to really run an offense against a similarly good defense in the half court, but scored well enough on fast breaks and in transition to beat Maryland again. Andre Young picked up some of the slack by attacking the lane and netting 12 points, and pulled off 7 steals on D, though he also turned the ball over 5 times with sloppy passing. No more behind the back passes please Andre. After playing 37 minutes, I'm sure he'll sleep tonight.
Jerai Grant scored 18 points for one simple reason: he hustled. He fought for rebounds and was aggressive on defense. In every fast break or transition, I'd see Grant and Tanner running down the court, with Trevor following in a light jog. Flu notwithstanding, Trevor shot awfully bad (2/16 FG, 1/4 3pt), and some of those were easy putbacks that simply did not fall and he kept throwing up, as evidenced by his 7 offensive rebounds. Booker seemed to not want the basketball quite a bit on offense tonight and was too eager to dribble and not attack.
Against a team that plays so well on offense, you have to attack the boards and we did an outstanding job getting the ball back, winning the rebound battle 46-41. But of our 20 offensive rebounds, hardly half ended up back in the net, not by a longshot. Maryland could only get 8 offensive rebounds = no second chance points for the Terps. Booker pulled down 16 total to go with 10 points, with Grant also in the double-double at 12.
The good man/man and pressure defense forced 26 Maryland turnovers, which Clemson turned into 26 points, and held a team that regularly scores in the 80s to a mere 53. It was the most Maryland had turned the ball over since GT in 2006. Maryland had 12 by halftime, and their season average was 11 per game.
Thats not to say Maryland didnt play their tail off tonight, because defensively they did. Clemson shot only 32% from the field and had to scrap and fight in every play. It was our worst shooting performance in a W since 1997. Maryland forced 21 turnovers on our own sloppy ballhandling and poor passing. Tanner Smith was particularly forceful with a few that should've been held onto. Nice to see Vasquez eat his words after Tanner was all over him. He was held to 10 points on the night and turned the ball over 9 times. Yes, nine. Tanner just punked your bitchass out.
After the game though, Purnell was not happy with our fans. While they were rather quiet for much of the game because of the generally poor offensive performance by both sides, he was upset that they booed Milton Jennings.
"I have very seldom, since I've been here, been disappointed with members of our crowd. They've been great, and they've grown. 'GameDay' and all that, I really felt good for our crowd because they deserved that kind of recognition and Clemson and all that.
"But I was disappointed in members of our crowd for booing Milton Jennings because he struggled or did something in the game; I forget what he did.
"Because this kid is a terrific young prospect. He's a fine young man. And he's trying. And he's going to play some excellent basketball before it's all said and done. And certainly that's a big play for us right there, that steal and that dunk.
"And in my opinion, we ought to be really supportive of our young guys and recognize when they're young. Because we're going to continue, hopefully, to get good, young prospects in here. We need to understand that.
I dont remember the boos of Jennings and don't feel like he deserved any (unlike Potter), but if a guy stinks it up on the court, then I have every right to boo him. I'll praise him when he does things right and call him out on it if he screws it up. I'm pretty consistent about that here in all my posts, we both are. If our football team plays like a JV HS team, I'm going to boo them (actually I'll be yelling many worse things than a boo). I might be less inclined to do it if he's a freshman, and I believe Jennings will be a good player someday, but we're halfway through conference play here and we have no semblance of an offense and he can't hit a damn layup. I don't wanna hear "oh he's a kid! You should never boo your team!". Thats bullshit. If your team plays like shit you should boo them.
Don't wanna be booed? Produce.
Youre in the ACC, perennially the best conference in the nation, you better grow some thick skin if you wanna play ball here. Half the stuff I said to Shane Battier courtside 10 years ago was far worse than anybody booing Jennings.