When it comes to taking big shots late in the game, Clemson’s Marcquise Reed is not shy.
In each of the 20th-ranked Tigers last two wins, the junior guard has made the big basket that either won the game directly or put his team back in front to stay.
“You are lucky if you have one or two (players like that) on your team,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said as his Tigers visit Wake Forest today for a 2 p.m. tip. “There are just some guys, and they are usually offensive guys, that like taking big shots, like making plays and want the ball.”
In Clemson’s win at Georgia Tech last Sunday, Reed wanted the basketball with the game tied and under 30 seconds to play. Noticing he had a power forward trying to guard him, the Clemson guard attacked the basket for what turned out to be a game-winning layup with 25 seconds left to play.
Two days later with the game tied late against North Carolina, Reed drained a three-pointer with 1:42 to play to put the Tigers in front for good in an 82-78 victory.
“He certainly has made some big shots for us,” Brownell said. “I have obviously coached a few guys like that are very talented scorers that play with a lot of confidence and want the ball. They are important players for sure.
“It’s fun when those guys are playing well and play with that kind of confidence because it permeates through your team.”
Reed leads the Tigers at 15.6 points per game, and in the last two games has led the team in assists as well. He had 11 assists and scored 13 points in the win at Georgia Tech and led Clemson again with five assists to go with a team-high 20 points against the Tar Heels. He also led the team in rebounds (8) in the win over North Carolina.
As Brownell said, Reed’s play and confidence has permeated through the team. Fellow guard Gabe DeVoe has been on fire in the last two games, scoring a career-high 25 points at Georgia Tech and then 17 against UNC. He has made 10 of his last 16 three-pointers.
Point guard Shelton Mitchell dropped in 17 at Georgia Tech and then returned to Clemson to add 14 points and four assists against the Tar Heels.
The most impressive thing is how the three have turned things around since Clemson’s 25-point loss at No. 2 Virginia on Jan. 23, the Tigers’ first game without star forward Donte Grantham, who is out for the year with a torn ACL. The three guards did not take care of the basketball in that game—10 turnovers combined—which led to a season-high 19 turnovers for the team.
However, in the last two games, they have combined to turn the ball over just nine times. Reed had none against the Tar Heels, while DeVoe has turned it over just one time each in the last two games. Subsequently, as a team, Clemson had just seven turnovers at Georgia Tech and 10 against North Carolina.
“They have gotten better the longer it goes (without Grantham),” Brownell said. “One thing that has been really good is that the last two games our turnovers have been down and their assist numbers have been really high. They have shared the ball, they have scored. They have looked for each other and have played well. Certainly, that is always going to be important to this team.
“Moving forward, they are going to have to continue to do that, but I don’t see why they can’t.”