Thursday’s loss at NC State was not the end of the world for the Clemson basketball team nor has it taken anything away from the Tigers’ start to the 2017-’18 season.
The only thing it did was hand them their first loss in the ACC season and just the second overall. But despite 17 turnovers which led directly to 20 of the Wolfpack’s 78 points, the Tigers still had an opportunity to tie the game and force overtime.
Clemson (14-2, 3-1 ACC) rallied for 12 points down in the last 1:34 and trailed by just one point with 0.2 seconds to play when guard Gabe DeVoe missed the final shot of a three-shot foul attempt in a 78-77 loss.
The good news for the Tigers, if that is what you want to call it, is they don’t have to dwell on the loss too long as No. 18 Miami comes to town on Saturday for a 3 p.m. tip at Littlejohn Coliseum.
“It’s a hard turnaround, there is no doubt about it,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said prior to Thursday’s game in Raleigh. “The Miami game on Saturday is a little disappointing that it is that time frame, but you just gotta do what you gotta do.
“You are going to have play teams at different times. That’s why we play in some of those tournaments (early in the season) when we play in 24 hours. We certainly will not get to practice like we normally would. But that will not be about everything. It will be about how we play and compete.”
That’s where Brownell has been as proud of his team as anything else. Clemson plays hard. Its players compete until the clock says zero.
The loss to NC State was a perfect example of that. Most team would have given up after being down 12 points with 1:34 to play. But the Tigers are not everyone else. They are not taken plays off no matter how bad they are playing.
Clemson already owns come-from-behind wins at Ohio State and at Florida and they nearly got a third against N.C. State.
“What I have enjoyed the most is watching the smile on guys faces because good things are happening for them because there have been some guys on our team that have had to work at this,” Brownell said. “It has not always been that way. We have some very heartbreaking losses.
“We have had some challenges so to see some guys on this team that have worked for several years have this kind of success. That is what I enjoy the most … just watching those guys do well and have success, so that has been fun.”
—Photo Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports