Clemson rusty in blowout loss to Cavaliers
Clemson made one field goal in the first 12:26 in its ugly 85-50 loss to No. 18 Virginia on Saturday. The No. 12 Tigers struggled to stay competitive to the Cavaliers at Littlejohn Coliseum.
It marked Clemson’s 11th straight loss to Virginia.
Clemson (9-2, 3-2 ACC) played its first game in 11 days after COVID-19 protocol paused team activities, that included a five-day break from practice and team activities.
Forward Hunter Tyson felt like the team lost its edge during the layover but did not make excuses for the Tigers’ lackluster performance.
“I think we had a lot of momentum before the pause and were playing good basketball. There is definitely rust to be expected with the pause,” the junior said after the game. “We just need to get back in the gym and work out some of those little things we lost in the pause. It’s not an excuse, but a little bit of the rust is expected with the pause.”
Virginia (9-2, 5-0 ACC) shot the lights out as it connected on 55.6-percent on 15-of-27 shooting from three-point range and 60.7-percent from the field. Clemson entered the game at the top of the ACC in scoring defense but surrendered a season-high 85 points after not allowing more than 70 points this season.
Both teams turned the ball over seven times, but the Cavaliers scored 16 points off turnovers compared to Clemson’s six.
Head coach Brad Brownell noticed a difference in the pace between the two teams and acknowledged the difficulty of playing Virginia after a period of uncertainty.
“That’s a hard team to play after a long break,” Brownell said. “We were a step slower and they certainly had a lot to do with that.”
Brownell talked to his staff after a sluggish first practice on Wednesday and hoped it would not carry over into the game.
“I told our staff that was my biggest fear when I was at home. I told everybody we had a very poor practice on Wednesday,” Brownell said. “We looked slow, tired and threw the ball all over the gym. There was some of that expected but it shouldn’t look like this.”
The Tigers return to action on Wednesday, as they travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech.