The momentum carried over to Wednesday, when the Tigers rode a
balanced team effort to a 56-49 victory over Virginia Tech in
With the win, Clemson (12-4, 3-1) climbed into a tie for third place
in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings — a position not many
expected the Tigers to hold four games into league play.
"This group has worked really hard," Clemson coach Brad Brownell
said. "They care about each other, and they care about what we're
doing as a program. ...
"The league is going to be really hard, and we know that, but we're
just going to keep grinding, trying to get better and see what
Forward K.J. McDaniels, who entered the game averaging 17 points per
contest, led the Tigers with 14 points.
Four other Tigers scored at least six points. Guard Rod Hall added
11 points and four rebounds.
Virginia Tech (8-8, 1-3) lost its third consecutive ACC game and
fell for the fifth time in six games.
The Hokies shot worse than 37 percent in each of their previous four
defeats. They improved by making 41.7 percent of their attempts from
the floor Wednesday, but it wasn't enough to overcome a poor
shooting night from their top two scorers. Forward Jarell Eddie and
guard Adam Smith combined to shoot 2-for-11, contributing just five
Eddie, the team's leading scorer at 16.1 points per game, entered
the evening shooting 26.8 percent in his previous four games. Eddie
managed to perform even worse against the Tigers, finishing with
three points on 1-of-6 shooting.
"I've just got to adjust to how teams are guarding me," Eddie said.
"They know the scouting report. They know not to let me shoot. Guys
are chasing me hard off of screens. I've just got to adjust to how
teams are playing me and figure out a way to add to my game and
score the ball."
Hokies guard Ben Emelogu provided some late theatrics, nailing a
3-pointer with 2:01 remaining to tie the score at 49.
Clemson guard Adonis Filer responded by hitting a floater off the
glass and drawing a foul with 1:24 remaining. Filer made the free
throw to give Clemson a 52-49 lead that it would not surrender.
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The Hokies lost all three games of their ACC homestand, and coach
James Johnson watched his team lose several other recent close
"We've got to find a way to finish these games off whether
they're at home or on the road," Johnson said. "We've just got
to relax and play on offense. Eddie ... we've got to find a way
to get him to put the ball in the hole."
Point guard Devin Wilson led the Hokies with 14 points. Center
Joey Van Zegeren and Emelogu each added 11.
On the offensive ends, the first half was as unremarkable, as
could be expected from two teams that struggle to score on a
Clemson's defense, which entered the game holding opponents to
35.9 percent shooting from the floor, clamped down on the Tech's
scorers for extended periods of the game.
"We defended the (3-point shot) well," Brownell said. "I thought
we did a pretty good job rebounding. ... I thought we defended
very well. We're not a great offensive team, so we're going to
go through some periods where we struggle to score."
At one point in the first half, the Hokies went 6:24 without a
bucket before Van Zegeren broke the drought.
Van Zegeren, who gave Tech much needed production from the post
in the first half, contributed eight points and four rebounds
before the break.
Wilson gave the Hokies an early lead, knocking down back-to-back
3-pointers. The freshman made only three 3-pointers entering the
Wilson sat out the final minutes of the first half after picking
up two quick fouls but finished with seven points before
NOTES: Clemson entered the game leading the NCAA in both scoring
defense (53.9 points per game) and 3-point percentage defense
(24.6 percent). ... The last time Clemson defeated Virginia Tech
in Cassell Coliseum was Jan. 29, 2009. ... Up next: Clemson
hosts Wake Forest on Saturday, and Virginia Tech visits Notre
Dame on Sunday.
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