ACC Tournament Notebook: Tigers are plenty motivated to play BC

ACC Tournament Notebook: Tigers are plenty motivated to play BC

Basketball

ACC Tournament Notebook: Tigers are plenty motivated to play BC

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Eagles’ guards will be a handful for Clemson

NEW YORK — In the 65-year history of the Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Tournament, Clemson has won just 19 games.

That is right, just 19.

The Tigers are 19-64 all-time in what is known as the best college basketball tournament in the country. Clemson has never won an ACC Tournament Championship and has only played in the finals twice … in 1962 when Press Maravich led the Tigers there before losing to Wake Forest and in 2008 when Oliver Purnell’s team lost to North Carolina.

But here they are, thanks to the program’s best regular season since 2008, two wins away from playing for an ACC Championship.

Clemson, the No. 4 seed in this year’s tournament, will try to take that first step Thursday afternoon when it plays No. 12 seed Boston College (2 p.m.) in the quarterfinals at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Tigers are also trying to advance to the semifinals for the first time since the 2010-’11 season.

“I don’t think we need that (as motivation),” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said to The Clemson Insider following Wednesday’s practice at Saint Francis Brooklyn College. “We just want to go play well and win a game in the tournament. I just think we are excited to be here.”

Coincidently, the last time the Tigers (22-8) advanced beyond the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament, they beat Boston College as the No. 4 seed in 2011. They also beat the Eagles in the quarterfinals on their way to the ACC Championship Game in 2008.

Clemson is 2-0 all-time against BC in the ACC Tournament.

“We obviously know, because we have the double-bye, we have been watching games for two days. That’s exciting. It’s fun to just sit here and watch a game and get a taste of the tournament,” Brownell said. “Our guys know that if we win, we are in the semifinals, but it is not something you need to discuss with the guys at this point. They are plenty motivated to go play.”

BC’s guards will be a handful. There is a reason why NC State head coach Kevin Keatts calls Boston College’s backcourt combo of Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman the best in the ACC.

The two lit up Keatts’ Wolfpack in the second round of the ACC Tournament by scoring 50 of the Eagles’ 91 points as BC beat No. 5 seed NC State, 91-87, Wednesday. Robinson had a game-high 26 points, while Bowman had 24 points. The two also combined for nine assists, five by Robinson and four by Bowman.

“Both of those guys are very good at getting into the paint. They can score from all three levels,” Keatts said. “Those guys can finish around the rim. They are very good at free throw shooting when you foul them and both of them shoot very well behind the arc.

“They are very good players and arguably, like I said before, are the best backcourt in the ACC.”

Brownell can be the best. Brownell has a 3-7 all-time record in the ACC Tournament. His three wins are tied for the most in Clemson history with Bill Foster (3-9), Cliff Ellis (3-10) and Oliver Purnell (3-7). Obviously, a win on Thursday against BC would give Brownell the most ACC Tournament wins for a Clemson head coach.

The only one. Clemson is the only original ACC team that has not won the ACC men’s basketball tournament.

Louisville advances to play Virginia. Quentin Snider scored 19 points, Ray Spalding had 18 and Louisville built a huge lead before knocking off Florida State 82-74 on Wednesday in an Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament game with substantial NCAA implications.

Deng Adel added 15 points and eight rebounds for the ninth-seeded Cardinals (20-12), who advanced to face top-ranked Virginia in the first quarterfinal Thursday.

–Photo Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

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