Despite a late spark, it was too little too late for the Tigers. This team has struggled this year, and it was no different tonight. After getting off to a strong start, marked by solid shot selection and good defense, Brownell's squad was up by as many as nine points early in the first half. This lead was soon erased due to turnovers and poor shots and Clemson was unable to come back from it. With the loss the Tigers fall to 1-2 in the conference, having lost 3 of 5.
The biggest missing ingredient tonight was consistent offensive output from Andre Young who you wouldn't even know was on the floor at times. Just 12 points from the senior guard, most of them coming very late in the contest, was instrumental in the loss to the Blue Devils. Your leading scorer is going to have to produce more than 4-15 from the field against a very good team like Duke. What was perhaps most frustrating was the Tigers had next to no success from three point land, forcing a ton of bad shots and only making 4/17 all night.
The Tigers were able to keep the game close at times due to winning on the offensive boards and committing fewer turnovers than the Blue Devils. Still, the lack of production from Young and Smith, and brutal free throw shooting (50%) in particular was too much to overcome. This team is going to need consistency from both of these guys and a better percentage from the charity stripe in the second half of this season if Brownell's club is going to have any success in the ACC this year.
Next up is Miami. Clemson has a few days to try and rebound off of back to back losses before the Hurricanes come to town.