By Ashley Denny.
The Clemson Tigers’ basketball team is starting to click as they’ve strung to solid wins together after losing three in a row. Now they are faced with the challenging task of winning at the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill, a place where the Tigers’ are 0-55. Senior guard Andre Young knows that tomorrow’s game will be an offense vs. defense showdown, with the Tar Heels who are one of the leading scoring teams in the league against the Tigers’ who rank second in the ACC in defense.
“It’s definitely a big matchup, a big challenge for us,” Young said. “They like to score so that’ll be something that we’re going to try and take away, they’re very good in transition so we’ll have to try and slow them down a bit. They also really crash the boards so we’ll have to rebound well.”
What does Young remember about Harrison Barnes, the Tar Heels leading scorer who was a catalyst for his team against the Tigers’ in the ACC tournament last season when Clemson forced the game to go into overtime.
“Harrison Barnes is a good scorer,” Young said. “He’s very crafty, a really good player and demands a lot of attention.”
Young will mostly be matched up against the nations’ leader in assist Kendall Marshall during Saturday’s contest, a player who he has a lot of respect for.
“He’s another good player,” Young said. “He does a really good job of getting guys the ball in positions where they can score and he’s definitely the catalyst for their team. He also demands a lot of attention so we’ll have to do a good job guarding him.”
With several freshmen on Clemson’s squad this year, Young knows that entering the Dean Dome for the first time will be an experience after growing up watching games played in the arena.
“It was definitely exciting my first time playing there,” Young said. “It’s a building that you watch on TV a lot, obviously my freshmen year Ty Lawson and Hansborough were on their team so I was looking forward to playing against them. It was a really good experience my first year there.”
What has Young told the freshmen coming into Saturday’s contest?
“I just told them to continue doing what you’ve been doing throughout the year,” Young said. “It’s just another game; don’t let it get to you. Basically it’s important that we stick together as a team, especially on the road. Road games it’s important that we have that bond and chemistry clicking in order for us to play well.”
Young didn’t learn of Clemson’s losing streak at Chapel Hill until he arrived at Clemson and they were about to play the Tar Heels for the first time.
“I learned of it when we played them the first time,” Young said. “It’s just another game on our schedule though that we’d like to win. We’re going in that environment with a mindset to win and try to get the job done. I can say that for every game, we’re just going to look at it from that standpoint and try to get it done.”
Last season, the Tigers’ faced the Tar Heels on three occasions, with each loss being by 10 points or less, which gives Young and his teammates confidence that they can be competitive against the Tar Heels.
“We feel like we can play with pretty much anybody,” Young said. “Especially with our defense and if we’re on our game and paying attention to details and things like that we can play with pretty much anybody in the country.”