Brownell gets his first win against Coastal who had won the previous two meetings. Coastal just blew Clemson out of the water last year with a barrage of three pointers. This team lost two of their top scorers from last year so they are re-tooling. This is a game Clemson had to win to help their post-season resume. Clemson also needed to rebound from the UMass loss. These next five games are pivotal for Clemson to win if they hope to sneak into the NCAA tourney somehow (three easy games and two winnable games on the road against SEC teams Auburn and Arkansas, although Arkansas seems to be improved losing to an 11th ranked Gonzaga squad by ten).
- Clemson controlled the game from the outset. Two times Coastal made runs to cut the lead to ten points--once before halftime and a run towards the beginning of the second half--but the game was never in any doubt.
- It was apparent that the officiating in this game was uneven to put it nicely. Some officials have adjusted to the new rules but every game is a new adventure and new interpretation. Generally I see officiating as something you just have to tolerate and play through (every fanbase feels like they are getting screwed by the refs, only Duke and UNC are exempt from this), but tonight both sides seemed to be scratching their heads at times. Lots of make-up calls.
Jordan Roper was out of the line-up with a mild concussion sustained against UMass. Unfortunately Adonis Filer also got drilled to the floor and seemed to have bruised his back and hip area--not sure the extent of the injury. Adonis Filer was 3-3 from the 3 pt. line early and played a solid game. He is shooting over 50% from three point land.
- I was going to say that the Josh Smith experiment has hopefully ended. He played for 2 minutes, Djitte 8 and Nnoko the remainder but then he came in and stroked a perimeter shot, blocked a shot, and pulled down some rebounds. Smith got exposed against the taller, quicker, lengthier UMass frontcourt players and I am very much in favor of Djitte being the first guy off the bench but Smith will keep battling to keep his spot in the rotation.
- Certain line-ups give Clemson a lot of length on the court. When you put McDaniels, Nnoko, Djambo, and the taller guards on the court, Clemson's arms seem to be everywhere. Coach Ellis agreed:
I’m very impressed with Clemson. They’re long. Their length bothered us. I think their shot-blocking really bothered us. Two things stood out to me that were intimidating.Number one was their shot blocking and number two, they’re very superior on the boards. I think it got to us, and you have to give them credit. This is a long, athletic team that has very good chemistry. I’m very impressed with the team and they beat us in every aspect tonight.
- I do not agree that we are superior on the boards. That is going to continue to be a problem for this team going forward. We gave up too many offensive rebounds and when Nnoko isn't in the game it gets even more suspect (he had 9 boards although Nnoko really needs to work on those hands). K.J. McDaniels is the best 6'6" shot blocker I have ever seen in college. Period. Unreal. We played solid team defense overall but McDaniels makes that so much easier.
Offensively we continue to be streaky. Our half court offense can be ugly at times without much fluidity. Certainly better than last year though and we rely on K.J. McDaniels to create his own offense. He struggled against the taller, longer UMass defense but again excelled against Coastal. He was able to make some perimeter shots which really got him going. He finished 6-12 from the field, 8-8 from the FT line, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks.
- Devin Coleman was cold in the first half and seemed to be taking shots that were not within the flow of the offense, but he put it together in the second half. He ended up 5-10 from the field, scoring 14 points. His defense is still suspect at times but he isn't the huge liability I thought he would be. He looks great in set plays coming off screens--really gets the ball out quickly.
Demarcus Harrison was a disappointing 0-6 and 0-4 from the 3 pt. line. I like what Harrison brings to the table as a defensive player, but he must shoot the ball with consistency or his minutes need to get cut.
I love Jaron Blossomgame and you can see his potential but he is going through some growing pains right now. He has shown flashes of brilliance, especially cutting to the basket and just needs to continue to build confidence. He was 0-3 from the floor, scoring 2 points in just 15 minutes and we will need more from him. If he is going to be a glue guy this year then we need him to be an elite glue guy (rebounding, blocking shots, steals, etc) to be competitive in the ACC--he did bring in 5 rebounds however.
When Djambo releases an unexpected three pointer with perfect rotation it is a thing of beauty. Djambo is looking better on the defensive side of the ball and while still needing strength to rebound with consistency, I can now see him playing 20 minutes a night.
I won't say anything bad about Rod Hall. He has earned the benefit of the doubt so far this season but he must find the confidence to hit that elbow extended jumper. Teams don't respect him as a shooter and sag way too much on a point guard. Yes he has a football player body but the shots have to fall with consistency come ACC play.
- One alarming trend that needs to stop is the amount of turnovers. Towards the end of the UMass game we committed some costly turnovers that really sealed the game for UMass (14 total to only 8 assists). Against Coastal we committed 15 turnovers (to 14 assists) and this must be cleaned up going forward. We aren't good enough in the half court offense and we are too inconsistent of shooters to give away the ball too much.
- Nnoko had those nine rebounds but also 4 of the 15 turnovers. He is gradually improving and getting more comfortable.
- This is a solid win against a team that has given us fits but much remains to improve on.