I'll be damned. That's how you finish off a close basketball game. Behind a suffocating defense and the combo of Devin Booker and Tanner Smtih stepping up offensively down the stretch, Clemson was able to close out a tight game for what seems like the first time all year.
Behind 11 points from Andre Young, Clemson headed into the break knotted at 24. We came out in the second half and grabbed the lead 2 minutes in on a Devin Coleman jumper. It was a lead that we wouldn't relinquish the rest of the way. In a low possession game against two teams that play at a snails pace, you'd expect the game to always be within reach for both teams. But even with UVA trailing by only single digits for the majority of the second half, Clemson seemed to have a firm grasp on this game. And the reason for that is that Clemson's defense was not giving up any easy baskets and wasn't sending UVA to the foul line (1-1 from the line). With Joe Harris limited due to a hand injury, UVA's lack of alternate scoring threats became a glaring weakness.
Clemson has now beat FSU and UVA at home this season. The Tigers clearly play like a different team in front of the home crowd. As satisfied with the win as I am, I do have to question whether Brad Brownell has the freshmen draw straws for playing time. It seems completely random with the amount of PT these guys get. Bernard Sullivan and KJ McDaniels put together a couple of solid games, and now they barely see the court. TJ Sapp used to be a starter, but played just 1 minute in this game. Devin Coleman, who was the low man on the totem pole for most of the year, is now getting the most run out of all the freshmen. Winning is what's important, but I'm a little concerned that some of these freshmen are going to have their confidence shattered with the way he is shuffling the lineups.
Clemson now sits at 5-6 in the conference. With games left @ GT and home against VT, 7 wins is definitely not out of the realm of possibilities. I think all of us would consider that an achievement considering how bad we looked during losses to C of C, Coastal Carolina, and Sakerlina.
And lastly, Rod Hall can throw it down! Damn....I didn't see that coming. He has a lot more bounce than I thought.