The two days prior to its game with Louisville last Wednesday, Clemson used the time to work on itself a little, especially on defense where the Tigers were failing to get back on defense at times and were having issues with their second and third lines of defense.
By just working on the basic fundamentals, they got better, evident in their 54-50 win over the Cardinals, a game in which they held Louisville to a season-low 32-percent shooting.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak and all seemed right in the world until the Tigers got to Durham, N.C., last Saturday. However, Clemson’s 79-53 loss to the Duke Blue Devils was not on its defense.
The Tigers’ offense was dreadful, again. Due to poor execution, bad shot selection and turnovers, the Blue Devils scored 25 points off Clemson turnovers and had a 15-2 edge in fastbreak points.
“Our lack of shooting is a problem. We need to get into the gym and make shots. It takes a toll on our defense,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said.
Fixing fundamental issues on the defense end of the court is one thing but fixing issues when it comes to shooting woes is an entirely different story. Especially, when the Tigers had just two days to get ready for tonight’s seven o’clock game against North Carolina at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.
Clemson (10-5, 4-5 ACC) has lost four of its last five games. During this stretch the Tigers have not scored more than 65 points in any game and scored just 54 and 53 points in the last two games.
How can Clemson fix these issues?
“Extra shooting, working on if there are some things we see within a shot that we need to work on,” Brownell said. “That is where it all starts, but again, I think it goes back to meeting with kids and encouraging them, making sure they are taking good shots and understanding that.”
Some of the issues can be blamed on a lack of confidence. Players are losing confidence in themselves and in their teammates ability to make shots. And that leads to poor shot selection and a lack of execution on the offensive end of the court.
“We have to execute our offense a little better sometimes to make sure that we are getting the shots we want as a team,” Brownell said. “When we get behind, we are not just trying to make a play to help our team because you are trying to do what you think is right to be aggressive and help our team win. But to execute our offense to get the best shot for our team.
“So, there are several things that you just have to keep doing every day and hopefully, we are going to make some progress here this week.”
The Tigers are hopeful that progress starts tonight against the Tar Heels.