By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- After a disappointing 59-57 loss to Boston College on Thursday night, head coach Brad Brownell met with the media on Friday to discuss the Tigers’ next opponent, the #6 ranked Duke Blue Devils who will be traveling to Little John Coliseum to take on the Tigers on Sunday with tip off at 6:02 PM.
“The Boston College loss was very disappointing, I thought we would play better,” Brownell said. “I didn’t think our effort was bad I thought we competed and our defense was reasonably good, I know they shot a decent percentage but if you calculate their turnovers into that then their offense wasn’t as good. The problem for us is we had three or four careless turnovers in the second half that you know are killers in a low possession game and we also missed some shots around the basket again and some free throws in inopportune times. When you put all that together, one thing here and one thing there it becomes enough to get you beat and I was worried because I knew the way the BC game was going to be played, low possession game, scoring would be difficult and we just didn’t make enough adjustments within the game and didn’t have enough guys step up and make plays to win.”
Brownell believed that the missed opportunities especially toward the end of the game were what led to the loss for the Tigers.
“We had several opportunities, free throws, a couple of missed shots,” Brownell said. “Any one of those go in or any couple of those go in and I’m almost certain we would have been in overtime. For whatever reason this year that’s been our problem. We’re still searching for a guy who can consistently make plays in the last few minutes of the game when we really need him. We haven’t had anyone do that and that becomes problematic. We’re right there and got a lot of good looks but then we missed a layup and had a couple of tip ins and free throws that could have gone in but they didn’t.”
As for the Duke team coming into Little John this weekend, Brownell knows that they will present a challenge for the young Tigers.
“It’s going to be very difficult, they’re a typical Duke team,” Brownell said. “They shoot the ball extremely well, big strong guys inside. They protect their basket very well, we’re going to have to play exceptionally well, have a great shooting night, be very energized. I think our guys will be focused and ready to play, there’ll be a lot of eyes on us and we have no problem with that, the problem will be executing against a high level team. We’re going to have to do a lot of things better than we did on Thursday night.”
Brownell continues to switch up the starting lineup and who he brings off of the bench first as he tries to find the right fit, which is one of the reasons why players like KJ McDaniels who played a good bit during the Tigers’ road trip to Hawaii hasn’t played as much since they’ve returned.
“It’s a culmination of some other guys getting chances,” Brownell said. “We try to give Devin Coleman a chance I feel like he’s been performing better in practice at times and I feel he deserves some time. It’s hard to play eleven guys, you’re going to have 9 which is about as much as you can comfortably play on a regular basis, sometimes you squeeze guys in for a few minutes to see how they look or to give them a chance but it’s hard to play eleven guys.”
Brownell believes that not having a go-to player and lack of experience can be reasons why a team doesn’t execute on a regular basis.
“Having a go-to guy and knowing that this is what we’re trying to do makes it easier,” Brownell said. “The go-to guy makes plays and also makes plays for others, he draws two and throws it to a guy for a wide open shot and that guy knows my role is just to shoot it. I think that really helps in late game situations. When you’re searching around and in one game you’re driving it and another you’re going inside, when you’re constantly searching it feels that way and that’s what we’re doing. When you have one or two guys that are head and shoulders, last year we knew we could go inside with Jerai if we liked the matchup, or obviously we could go outside on the perimeter to Demontez and he could create for others. Andre was a terrific option to have out there as a shooter and still is but we don’t have the guy this year that attacks the basket as well.”