Clemson has lost three consecutive games by a combined score of 248-176
For a third straight game, No. 20 Clemson was run out of an arena. The latest coming on Saturday as Florida State drilled the Tigers, 80-61, at the Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Fla.
Once again, the game was pretty much over at halftime. And once again, bad shooting and poor defense did Clemson in.
The Tigers have now lost their last three games—to No. 13 Virginia, Georgia Tech and the Seminoles—by a combined score of 248-176.
“I don’t have a lot to say,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said after the game. “I thought Florida State played great tonight. I thought the lack of shot making by us in the first half really demoralized us. It was a little bit like the beginning of the Virginia game.”
Clemson (9-4, 3-4 ACC) trailed the ‘Noles 42-24 at the break. The Tigers did not make a field goal in the last 7:09 of the first half. This after they went 5:47 without a field goal earlier in the half.
The Tigers finished the first 20 minutes just 4-of-24 from the field, including 1 of its last 10 going into the locker room. They were just 2-for-16 from three-point range.
While the Tigers could not shoot their way out of a barrel, Florida State was hitting pretty much everything. The Seminoles shot 52 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range in the first 20 minutes.
“Our team is not good enough that we can get into a scoring contest with some of these teams,” Brownell said. “Our defense has to be better. The game was really hard tonight from the standpoint that we had to go against Florida State’s set defense. They played well. They made some threes. We were struggling and so they were constantly playing in transition against us.
“And then, consequently, we had to play against their set defense. That is not what happened in Game 1. We were able to defend them better, especially in the second half. We were able to play in the open court and beat them down the floor and make some plays in the open court.”
Clemson beat the Seminoles, 79-69, back on Dec. 29 at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson. But things were definitely different on Saturday.
After both teams started the game slow, the Seminoles used a 15-2 run to take control of the game. They never looked back from there.
Al-Amir Dawes connected on a three-pointer with 15:29 to play in the half to cut the Seminoles’ lead to 9-7. But the Tigers did not make a field goal for the next 5:47, allowing the ‘Noles to take a commanding 24-9 advantage after a Balsa Koprivica layup with 9:16 to play in the first half.
The Seminoles (9-2, 5-1 ACC) opened up their lead to 20 points, 42-22, before Hunter Tyson made two free throws with 0.7 seconds to play to make it an 18-point game at the break.
The only good news for Clemson was the Tigers made 22-of-26 foul shots, including 14-of-16 in the first half or it could have been worse than it was on Saturday.
Clemson shot just 30 percent from the field (17-56) and was a pitiful 5-for-30 from three-point range. At one point in the game, the Tigers were just 6-for-38 from the field. However, they did finish the game with an 11-0 run to make the score appear closer than it actually was.
“I am interested to watch the tape. I thought we got a lot of really good shots,” Brownell said. “I know we took a lot of threes, but they force you to do that some with the way they guard. They get into the ball, make you penetrate a little bit and then come running to help and you have to be able to make quick decisions and kick (the ball) out and move it. Guys have to be able to make some shots and we did not do that.”
FSU led by as many as 35 points in the second half on multiple occasions, as it cruised to its fourth straight win, all by double digits. It was also the Seminoles’ 21st straight home win against an ACC foe.
The Seminoles finished the afternoon 29-for-60 from the field, including 12-of-28 from three-point range.
Clemson did not allow an opponent over 70 points the first 10 games of the season, but now it has allowed three straight teams to post 80 or more points.
Once again, Clemson’s leading scorer, Aamir Simms struggled. The senior was just 1-for-3 from the floor and scored just five points. He also struggled in losses to Virginia and Georgia Tech.
John Newman led the Tigers with 12 points, while Chase Hunter came off the bench and dropped in nine points on 4-of-7 shooting.
Florida State was led by Koprivica’s 13 points and 10 rebounds. Sardaar Calhoun came off the bench and added 13 points as well, while RaiQuan Gray had 11 points. M.J. Walker scored 10 points.
The Tigers are scheduled to host Boston College on Wednesday at Littlejohn Coliseum. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.