GREENSBORO, N.C. — Clemson guard John Newman III had a big performance in front of his hometown crowd in the ACC Tournament on Wednesday.
The Greensboro native scored 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting while registering three rebounds and two assists in Clemson’s 69-64 victory over Miami at the Greensboro Coliseum.
“It felt great to be home,” the sophomore said. “Everything I did out there felt more special to me today because I had people from my home watching it — family, friends, people that I grew up with, people that support me. I got to play in front of some of them for the first time in my college career, and it was a great feeling.”
Newman admitted that playing at home made him play more relaxed.
“No nerves because I know what I can do,” Newman said. “I’m confident. It was just excitement. I felt relaxed. When I’m more familiar with a place, it’s just relaxing. When I have people around me who support, it relaxes me.”
The last time Clemson faced Miami, the Tigers came up short in a 73-68 overtime loss in Littlejohn Coliseum on Dec. 31.
When asked what the difference was in the team now versus when it faced the Hurricanes a few months ago, Newman explained that the team has matured.
“I would say the biggest difference I’ve seen is we are more mature,” he said. “We have still got a ways to go on maturity. We are a mature team. We keep fighting. Gradually, we have found more ways to win.”
Newman went on to say the team has relied less on shooting: “In the past, we said we were going to live or die by the 3. Once our 3’s aren’t falling in, we have found other ways to come out on top and win games.”
Finding different ways to win is exactly what Clemson did in its victory over Miami. The Tigers made 18 of 19 free-throw attempts while their opponent only attempted seven free throws.
Clemson will take on Florida State on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
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