When he turned on the film and saw reserve guard Clyde Trapp rotating and blocking out Florida State’s 7-foot-4 center Christ Koumadje for a defensive rebound this past Tuesday, Brad Brownell knew his team was competing and playing hard.
However, despite grabbing 81 percent of its defensive rebound opportunities and leading for much of the night in Tallahassee, Fla., the Tigers still fell on the short end of the scoreboard, their fourth loss in five ACC games this season.
Right now, Clemson finds itself doing a lot of things right and putting itself in position to win games, only to be inconsistent just enough to lose at the end.
“I don’t know if it is any one thing,” Brownell said.
Though Clemson’s coach cannot pin down the Tigers’ struggles to any one thing, there is one thing they can do better.
“We have to make more shots. That is the simple truth to some of it,” Brownell said as the Tigers prepare to play No. 21 NC State today at 2 p.m., at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. “We have not shot it as well. I don’t know. When we go back and look at our quality of shots in most games, it is reasonably good. Now, there have been a couple of games in the ACC where it has not been as good.”
Overall, Clemson (11-7, 1-4 ACC) shot okay against the Seminoles. The Tigers made 45 percent of their shots, which in most cases is good enough to win games. However, where they continued to struggle was from behind the arc. Clemson made just 5-of-17 three-pointers (29.4 percent).
The Tigers enter Saturday’s game ranked 14th in the ACC in three-point shooting out of 15 teams.
“We evaluate that after every game as one of our game goals. But our numbers are not matching that and some of that is a little bit of a mystery,” Brownell said. “I know that we shoot a lot. We bring them in during the morning in certain times and guys stay after practice.
“Obviously, when you are not scoring as well as you would like, now you are scrutinizing your defense even more. You really scrutinize your defense when you are not scoring because you feel like you need every stop and when you don’t get one, you make a mistake.”
Brownell has been pleased with his team’s effort through the current slump. He said the attitude on the team is still good. He says the team is competing hard and they are still having fun. Now, they just have to figure out how to close games.
On the road, against Syracuse and Florida State, the Tigers had an opportunity to win both games late. They know they can do it, but the problem is getting over the hump and making the plays and shots in crunch time.
“We competed hard and played well, and that is why you are frustrated when you don’t finish. We had some mistakes late and that cost us,” Brownell said.