Lately, especially in road games, Clemson’s guard-play has been down a bit.
At first they were committing turnovers. Marcquise Reed had seven at North Carolina, and then in Tuesday’s 25-point loss at No. 2 Virginia, Reed, along with point guard Shelton Mitchell, combined to shoot just 3-of-13 from the field for six points.
Mitchell did not score and turned the ball over three times.
“We did not help them very much screening,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said earlier this week. “I thought our screening was very poor in set plays. Again, I thought our spacing was poor in certain situations for sure.”
Whatever it was, the Tigers (16-4, 5-3 ACC) need to get it fixed as they head to Atlanta for a Sunday evening game at Georgia Tech. Seventeenth-ranked Clemson has lost its last three road games, all coming in ACC play.
The Tigers lost a heartbreaker at NC State and rallied in the second half a week late to give the Tar Heels a scare. But, in their first game without Donte Grantham, who is out for the year with a torn ACL, they were not even competitive in the second half at Virginia.
Clemson scored just 13 points in the second half and was just 6-of-24 from the floor. Most of that can be contributed to the way the Tigers’ guards were playing. Even Gabe DeVoe, who scored 11 points in the first at Virginia, went cold in the second half and was 0-for-5 from the field in the last 20 minutes and turned the basketball over five times.
“Some of it, I think there is wearing affect,” Brownell said. “We expended some energy defending because you have to work hard. Our guards are fighting through thirty to fifty screens defensively in a game and there is wearing affect there a little bit offensively and you are not as competitive offensively.”
However, the Clemson coach admits the Tigers have to be stronger with the basketball and start limiting the turnovers.
“I did not think we were competitive offensively,” Brownell said. “Whether it is being strong with the ball, whether it is being physical to screen, I probably did not emphasis posting enough. We did not post the ball enough. Even though they are going to double-team some we still need to post the ball in certain situations.
“I don’t think we did a good enough job of that in the game at all. Then again, it is just a culmination of Virginia being good at what they do. It is a very difficult environment to play in so we just did not have one of our better offensive days at all.”
Clemson will try to get better when it tips off at 6 p.m. against Georgia Tech at the McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta.
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