Clemson needs Shelton Mitchell back - and fast.
The Tigers put forth another lackluster offensive effort without their concussed point guard, this time falling on the road to Virginia Tech, 65-58.
After losing Mitchell in the waning moments of a missed opportunity at Florida State, Clemson has now dropped the following two games thanks to offensive performances that lacked the rhythm shown in the majority of the team’s first 24 games.
The Tigers defended well yet again, for the most part, but after claiming a 38-34 second-half lead surrendered a 10-0 spurt by the Hokies from which they never recovered.
Marcquise Reed scored a career-high 28 points for Clemson, but needed 30 attempts from the field to get there, and there just wasn’t enough scoring help or alternative offensive strategy to complement him.
Reed made 8 three-pointers, but he attempted 20.
Justin Robinson and Kerry Blackshear scored 14 apiece for the Hokies, but Clemson held them to just 34% shooting as a team.
Another solid defensive effort went to waste, however, as the Tigers just couldn’t seem to get into the flow on offense without Mitchell around to set up shop and create opportunities for others.
Elijah Thomas scored 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting and collected 10 rebounds, but didn’t get nearly enough scoring chances.
Reed is in do-it-all mode, while Gabe DeVoe has fallen into a funk. Clemson’s injuries have thrust role players into more prominent roles and fringe players into the picture as important role players, but the Tigers just aren’t getting enough from that collective.
David Skara, previously a role player used for his superb defense, was called on for 35 minutes (again), posting 7 points. Scott Spencer and Clyde Trapp, who saw scant playing time earlier this season, produced 0 points and 1 rebound between them in a combined 32 minutes.
Clemson will look to rebound from its three-game skid when Georgia Tech comes to Littlejohn on Saturday, and the Tigers are in desperate need of Mitchell to return to the court and revive this team.