All eyes were on Clemson Forward Aamir Simms Tuesday as the Tigers faced ACC foe Virginia Tech in the season opener.
Even though the junior has stepped up his role as a leader, he committed a critical foul on Tech’s P.J. Horne that contributed to Clemson’s 67-60 loss to the Hokies.
With the game tied at 57 with 1:03 remaining, Horne broke free out of a Clemson trap for an easy basket and as he was dunking the basketball home, Simms came flying across trying to block the shot. Instead, he came into contact with Horne and the Virginia Tech forward later completed the three-point play for a 60-57 lead.
Clemson (0-1, 0-1 ACC) never recovered from Simms’ mistake.
“Yeah, he should have just let him go,” Clemson head coach Brownell said. “He really was supposed to be back so I’m not sure why he was so up so much. It’s kind of one of those deals where we talked about as staff. It was tied, and we thought maybe we should just go back and play man this possession.
“They just hadn’t been very good against it. They are a young team in some ways, so we thought let’s give it one more shot. Our guys got just a little too greedy. We had the ball in our hand and probably should have made the steal.”
Simms learned a few things from the tough loss to take with him as the Tigers host Presbyterian tonight (7 p.m.) at Littlejohn Coliseum. Even with two years under his belt, he must learn how to handle being a player and a leader at the same time. Simms’ biggest concern is helping slow down the game for the young guys on the team.
“I probably just got to tell them to slow down sometimes when they feel we are getting sped up,” he said. “To slow down the offense and make smarter decisions and not let the defense control our pace and to make smarter decisions going down the stretch.”