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Clemson Basketball: Bellarmine Preview

Clemson hosts upset minded Bellarmine tonight.

NCAA Basketball: Bellarmine at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Bellarmine (2-1) @ Clemson (2-1)

Game Information

Friday, November, 18th - 7 PM EST

Littlejohn Coliseum - Clemson South Carolina


Clemson Starting Lineup

Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown
Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown
Center 24 P.J. Hall Jr 6'10" 240 Spartanburg, SC
Forward 5 Hunter Tyson Sr 6'8" 217 Monroe, NC
Wing 12 Alex Hemenway Sr 6'4" 195 Newburgh, IN
Wing 11 Brevin Galloway Sr 6'3" 210 Anderson, SC
Point Guard 1 Chase Hunter Jr 6'3" 205 Atlanta, Ga

PJ Hall is the key to this team. He has to play like a superstar if this group is going to get anywhere other than the ACC Tournament play-in game. He’s coming off a knee injury that wiped away most of his offseason and preseason, and isn’t in top form yet, but Clemson needs more than 20 minutes out of him, and they need it soon. Bellarmine is a tough out. They knocked off Louisville on the road to open the season and won’t be intimidated tonight. Hall needs to dominate the game, and he can’t do that shooting 33% from the line and 16% from 3. It’s been fine in his return, but it’s time to start looking like an All-ACC caliber player.

Bringing Hunter Tyson back for a 5th year was huge, but the sharp shooting forward hasn’t found his shot yet. Clemson needs him to shoot mid 30% from deep (at least) and not the 21% he’s shooting currently. He’s been a beast on the boards, averaging almost 10 a game, but Clemson needs him closer to 16-18 points a game and not the 12 he’s currently averaging.

Hemenway has been a pleasant surprise so far this season. The bench sharpshooter has held his own in the starting lineup. He’s shooting 46% from 3, and while he’ll never be confused for a defensive stopper, he’s been competent enough that his shooting outweighs his defensive deficiencies.

Galloway has done good things this season. He’s a physical guard capable of forcing his way into the lane and scoring. He should consistently be Clemson’s 3rd-4th scoring option, but Clemson is in trouble if they need him to be more than that. If he scores somewhere between 10-14 points and plays tough defense, he’s giving the Tigers everything they could ask for.

Finally, Chase Hunter is having a breakout year. He’s averaging 21 points, 5 assists, and only 1 turnover. That’s All-ACC caliber point guard play. My only complaint is he didn’t take over the South Carolina game, when Clemson needed him to take over. He picked a bad night to go 0-1 from 3. He needs to remain aggressive on offense, even when PJ is on the court. He’s got the game, but needs to show he has the confidence against better competition.

Clemson Bench

Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown
Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown
Center 10 Ben Middlebrooks So 6'10" 242 Fort Lauderdale, Fl
Center/Forward 4 Ian Schieffelin So 6'7" 225
Guard/Wing 2 Dillon Hunter Fr 6'3" 193 Atlanta, GA
Guard/Wing 0 Josh Beadle Fr 6'3" 182 Columbia, SC
Wing/Forward 22 R.J. Godfrey Fr 6'7" 225 Suwanee, GA

The starters for Clemson have decent this season, in fact, they should be borderline good once PJ Hall returns to form. The bench, however, has been abysmal. Clemson needed their sophomore front court players to take a jump this season, but if anything Schieffelin and Middlebrooks have regressed.

I was impressed with Ian’s opening game against Citadel. He put up 20 points on 9-13 shooting and pulled down 14 boards. Since then, PJ Hall returned to the lineup and Schieffelin has disappeared. In the last 2 games, he’s scored 2 points and pulled down 6 combined rebounds, while played less than 15 minutes a game. That’s not going to get it done.

Same goes for Middlebrooks, although he doesn’t even have a big game to hang his hat on. He’s playing less than 10 minutes a game and has put up a combined 3 points and 3 rebounds on the year. He’s essentially a non-factor, despite being Clemson’s biggest and most physical post-defender.

If the front court bench help has been abysmal, the back court has been apocalyptic. Dillion Hunter, R.J. Godfrey, and Josh Beadle are all averaging under a point a game, including shooting a combined 0% from 3. Clemson is going to get embarrassed in ACC play if someone doesn’t step up off the bench, but I have no idea who that someone might be. I was optimistic after Beadle played well on the foreign tour this summer, but whatever momentum he brought back is dead. Hunter and Godfrey don’t look ready to play against low level teams like Citadel and USC Upstate.

Bellarmine Preview

Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown
Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown
Point Guard 1 Juston Betz Sr 6'3" 185 New Albany, IN
Wing 10 Garrett Tipton Sr 6'4" 200 Columbus, OH
Wing 22 Bash Wieland Sr 6'6" 205 Cincinnat, OH
Wing/Forward 5 Peter Suder Fr 6'5" 210 Carmel, IN
Center/Forward 42 Curt Hopf So 6'8" 200 Montgomery, IN

Bellarmine plays 4 guard/wings, and a stretch 4 at center. Shooting is the name of the game for the Knights. When they knocked off Louisville they shot 46% from 3 (7-15). In their loss to Moorehead State, they shot 13% (3-23). If they hit their shots, they win, if they’re off they lose. It’s a simple proposition.

Tipton and Sudor are their scorers, both have put up 20 point games this season. Sudur, in particular, has been good over the last 2 games. He’s shooting 37% from 3 on the year, and averages 15 points a game. Tipton comes in at 10 points a game, but has struggled from deep, only shooting 20%. They will need Tipton to hit shots to knock off Clemson.

Their front court is undersized. P.J. Hall should torture Curt Hopf in the post. Hopf is a young player with nice skill, but he’s not big enough or strong enough to deal with P.J. on the block. Expect to see their backup center, 6’10, Langdon Hatton get a good chunk of playing time. He’s bigger than Hopf, but not as skilled. If he can keep P.J. from dominating the glass, he will have done his job.

Clemson Wins If

P.J. dominates this game in the post and Chase Hunter controls it from the perimeter. Bellarmine has no answer for either, and they need to play like the seasoned vets they are, if either get into foul trouble, it could be a long night for the Tigers.

The Knights, like Clemson, want to play as slow as possible. This game may not get out of the 60’s, and if that’s the case, Clemson will need at least 1 more player to step up to get them over the hump. I like this as a Hunter Tyson game. If Hall, Hunter, and Tyson, can put up 50-55 points, the rest of the roster should figure out how to scrape together another 10-15 points.

Bellarmine Wins If

They spread Clemson out, shoot well from the perimeter, and put P.J. Hall on the bench with foul trouble. They match up fairly well with the Tigers outside of Hall. If P.J. plays 30+ minutes, I don’t think they have a chance. They’ll need Sudor and Tipton to score, and like Clemson, will need to find a 3rd option. 6’3” Freshman Ben Johnson comes off the bench, and could fill that role if he gets hot from deep. He’s currently shooting 40% from 3, and is coming off a 3-5 performance against CU-Harrodsburg (no clue?).

They want this game to stay in the 60’s if not the 50s, If you fall asleep in the 2nd half, Bellarmine will be thrilled.



Clemson - 61

Bellarmine - 62

I don’t like this way this team has played, and I don’t like the way they match up with Bellarmine. They’re going to play into their hands with the pace of play, and I have no faith in Clemson winning a close game. The Knights knocked off a more talented Louisville on the road, and they continue to vex the ACC tonight by knocking of the Tigers. I hope I’m wrong.


Clemson - 74

Bellarmine - 60

90% Confidence

KenPom likes the Tigers way more than I do in this game. If Clemson gets to 74 points, they win, but this thing is going to be a slog. Unless Clemson proves they can consistently score from 3 off P.J. Hall double team, I think they struggle to get to 60. I have no faith in anyone shooting the ball outside of Hemenway, and he only shows up 25% of the time.