Clemson’s five-game winning streak in the ACC has come to an end. After posting an undefeated February for the first time since 1990, the Tigers’ struggled to build any momentum in their 64-54 loss to Syracuse Wednesday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.
“We’ve won five ACC games in a row. We’ve been playing good basketball and you’re going to have a night where you’re not going to shoot well, that’s going to happen,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said after the game. “It’s unfortunate, you know, they made a couple to get away from us. We came prepared and had great practices leading up.
“Obviously, we’ve got an incredibly quick turnaround now coming back to a noon game on Saturday for senior day. I hope we have a great crowd and we certainly want to go out honoring our seniors the right way.”
Neither team got off to a hot start in the first half of play Wednesday, as both teams shot just under 25 percent from the field and under 30 percent from behind the arc. Clemson trailed the Orange, 25-22, at the break.
“I thought we competed defensively, we were good defensively and guarded them well enough,” Brownell said. “Obviously, Alan Griffin got away from us and that was probably the difference along with a couple of transitional layups to get away from us, but the real factors in the game were our inability to score inside the lane.
“Aamir [Simms] probably struggled a little bit today. We couldn’t find somebody comfortable in the high post to make some shots and I thought that was the difference in the game.”
Within the first three minutes of play in the second half, Syracuse (15-8, 9-7 ACC) broke the game open thanks to an 8-0 run that propelled them to an eventual 16-point lead, their largest of the night.
Clemson (15-6, 9-6 ACC) struggled to shoot the ball throughout the night, leaving the contest just 32 percent from the floor.
“It was kind of one of those games. Basketball’s a make or miss game a little bit sometimes and this was a game where they made a few more than we did,” Brownell said.
Guard Al-Amir Dawes led the Tigers with 14 points, but the sophomore’s efforts in their second half of play proved to not be enough.
“We didn’t have anything at the basket. We didn’t have much in the lane and we didn’t have a guy who seemed to be really comfortable in there today and that put a lot of pressure on us,” Brownell said.
The Tigers are back in action at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson this Saturday when they play host to Pittsburgh in their last game of the regular season. Tipoff is set for noon.
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