By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- Earlier in the season, Clemson head coach Brad Brownell expressed the need of a go-to guy offensively for the Tigers’, senior Andre Young during the recent weeks of play has been just that. Although the Tigers’ ACC record so far isn’t impressive, they’ve continued to improve each game and their ACC losses have all been by seven points or less. They take the show on the road again tomorrow as they square off against the Virginia Tech Hokies, who are 12-10 overall and 1-6 in ACC play.
“It’s another road game, going to be another tough one at Virginia Tech,” Young said. “It’s tough to get a road win in the ACC but you’ve got to keep scratching and clawing and eventually get one.”
Although the Tigers’ are coming off a loss to #16 Virginia, it was one of their best offensive performances of the season, giving them a boost of confidence, however the Hokies are coming off of a 75-60 loss against Duke at home, which may make stealing the road win a little more difficult for the Tigers’ on Saturday.
“I don’t know how they’ll react after the Duke game but it’s going to be a tough game regardless,” Young said. “Virginia Tech is a hostile environment, every year that I play there it’s a tough game and the crowd is always into it. There just a tough team to play.”
Young believes that he and his teammates handled the situation of losing starter Milton Jennings due to suspension pretty well, as several guys stepped their game up due to Jennings’ absence.
“Guys were ready to step up and a lot of guys played well,” Young said. “We just came up a little short against a good Virginia team.”
After making a few errors on defense against Virginia, allowing them to score easy points in transition, how has defense become more of an emphasis for the Tigers’ going into Saturday’s match up?
“Defense is always an emphasis,” Young said. “It’s something we take pride in and we’re going to take a look at the scouting report from Virginia Tech and build off of our defense and principles.”
In all of Clemson’s ACC losses this season, they’ve competed heavily and have never been out of the game, how hard is it especially for a senior like Young to not get frustrated.
“Basically we have to realize that we are getting better,” Young said. “I thought we played pretty well against Virginia at Virginia, but just basically looking at the film and realizing that we’re getting better. If we can just improve on a few little things we can still win some games.”
With the loss of Jennings, Young believes that the freshmen have all stepped up and taken on larger roles on the team because they needed to.
“I think at this point of the season they know that they’re not freshmen anymore,” Young said. “They have some experience and we’ve seen them do things well throughout the year, we know they can do it, they know they can do it, it’s just a matter of doing it in a game. They realize that the opportunities are presented to them and they’re ready to take them.”
Young has been impressed with Virginia Tech’s guards, calling them the catalyst for their team.
“They’re the leading scorers and it’s going to be tough to stop those guys,” Young said. “They’re talented players but our team is looking forward to the challenge.”