The Clemson basketball team has lost two ACC games in two days. After the remarkable start to ACC play the Tigers had, the last few days have been quite the let down. Clemson opened ACC play with a record of 4-1 for the first time since 1997 and have now moved to 15-8 overall and 6-5 in the ACC.
On Sunday night, Clemson faced Syracuse, the number one team in the nation. In their first matchup since 2007, the Tigers held Syracuse to 57 points, nearly 15 below their season average. The Tigers have arguably the best defense in college basketball this season as they regularly hold teams to their season low score. K.J. McDaniels led the team in scoring yet again, with 19 points.
Clemson’s only lead of the game was by 2 when they scored the first basket. Early in the second half, Syracuse led by 12 points. Clemson reduced the lead to 5, then the Orange went on a run and finished the game ahead by 13. The final score was 57-44 and Clemson fell to 0-10 all time against top ranked teams on the road. Following their win over the Tigers, Syracuse led the ACC at 10-0, making it the first time they have ever been 10-0 in conference play, even including their 34 years in the Big Eat Conference. Syracuse is only the second team this season to beat Clemson while also scoring under 60 points.
On Tuesday night, Clemson and Notre Dame played into double overtime. The Fighting Irish eventually outscored Clemson by four points in the second overtime. This was the first time that Clemson and Notre Dame played and the first time since 2008 that the Tigers have played into double overtime. The final score was 68-64.
McDaniels led the team in scoring with his first game of 30 points in 46 minutes of play. He shot 13-24 with three assists, two steals, and five blocks. His 30-point effort was the first in 119 games under Coach Brad Brownell. The previous high-scoring player was 29 points by Andre Young in 2012 against Georgia Tech. McDaniels also topped his previous high of 12 rebounds with 14 against Notre Dame.
Rod Hall scored 12 points and Damarcus Harrison scored 8 points to add to McDaniels’s record-breaking game. While Clemson’s defense is envied across the country, coach Brad Brownell said of their offense, “We’re just not as talented offensively as we need to be. We’re very inconsistent shooting.”
“We’re going to learn from this,” said McDaniels following the loss to Notre Dame.
The loss to the Fighting Irish concludes Clemson’s long streak of away games and they will return home to play this weekend. Five out of the last six games have been road games and four have been losses. The Tigers won at Florida State and at home against Georgia Tech.
On Saturday, the Tigers will face #17 Virginia at home in Littlejohn Coliseum and 12 pm EST.