Tag: brad brownell

Clemson's Donte Grantham (15) and Jaron Blossomgame (5), with coaches Brad Brownell, right, and Richie Riley, left celebrate after an NCAA college basketball game against Duke on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Greenville, S.C. Clemson won 68-63. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Associated Press

Clemson claims another ranked victim in No. 8 Miami

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Clemson began its toughest stretch of the season Sunday night against No. 16 Louisville, with that being followed by games against No. 9 Duke and No. 8 Miami. And given how the Tigers played in non-conference play, going 0-3 wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. However Brad Brownell’s team has been playing good basketball of late, and Saturday afternoon the Tigers picked up their third straight win over a ranked opponent, beating the Hurricanes 76-65 in Greenville.

So within a calendar week, Clemson’s knocked off No. 16 Louisville, No. 9 Duke and No. 8 Miami. And now they’re 5-1 in ACC play and have the look of a team that could have some staying power in what should be a very tough conference race.

The biggest change for the Tigers has been the play of junior forward Jaron Blossomgame, who scored 25 points against the Hurricanes and has now scored in double figures in all six of Clemson’s ACC games. Blossomgame played part of the non-conference slate at less than full strength, and that had an impact from a consistency standpoint. Now back to 100 percent, he’s been a consistent scorer on multiple levels for a team that at times struggled offensively before ACC play began.

Against Miami the junior was productive both inside and out, scoring his 25 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the field (2-for-3 3PT) and 5-for-5 from the foul line. Consistency’s also been a key for sophomore forward Donte Grantham, who scored 14 points Saturday and has reached double figures in four of Clemson’s five ACC wins. The triumvirate of Blossomgame, Grantham and Landry Nnoko took advantage of a shorthanded Duke front court on Wednesday, and they once again held the edge against a Miami front court with no such depth concerns.

Add in 18 points and six assists from Jordan Roper, who outplayed Miami’s Angel Rodriguez (three points on 1-for-7 FG, three assists), and Clemson was able to do enough to close out another impressive victory.

As is the case with players such as Grantham from an individual standpoint, the difference in Clemson from non-conference play to now boils down to one word: consistency. Now that guys who were expected to be key contributors when the season began are proving themselves to be reliable night in and night out, Clemson’s been able to string together wins few expected them to get.

This tough stretch of games isn’t done yet, as the Tigers’ next two games are against Virginia (in Charlottesville) and Pittsburgh, but at this rate it wouldn’t be wise to automatically count Clemson out.

Second-half offense, foul trouble cost No. 9 Duke at Clemson

Duke's Grayson Allen, center, struggles with Clemson's Avry Holmes, left, and Sidy Djitte for a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Associated Press

Another day, and another team ranked in the top ten takes a loss. Wednesday night it was No. 9 Duke’s turn, as the Blue Devils struggled not only with foul trouble but offensively as well in the second half of their 68-63 loss to Clemson.

Brad Brownell’s Tigers, who put together a rather nondescript résumé in non-conference play, has now beaten ranked teams in consecutive games for the first time since 1989 and they’re 4-1 in ACC play. The game turned with Duke big man Marshall Plumlee picked up his fourth foul with just over ten minutes remaining in the second half. From there the Blue Devils had to call upon freshman Chase Jeter, who promptly picked up his third and fourth fouls shortly after replacing Plumlee.

Clemson was able exploit Duke’s front court foul trouble, whether Duke was playing man or using a 1-3-1 or 2-3 zone. The Tigers found gaps in both zones, getting on a roll offensively that proved too much for the Blue Devils to overcome. It goes without saying that, even with their success in recent weeks, Duke misses Amile Jefferson. He was their most reliable front court option before going down with a foot injury, and his absence makes it even more important for Plumlee to remain out of foul trouble and he’s avoided that issue in most games.

That didn’t happen against a Clemson front line that featured Jaron Blossomgame, Landry Nnoko and Donte Grantham, with Blossomgame accounting for 17 points and six rebounds, Grantham adding 16 points and Nnoko posting a double-double of 12 points and 13 boards.

What was of greater issue for Duke was the offense, as they struggled to establish much of a flow in the second half. Clemson was able to keep Blue Devils other than Grayson Allen under wraps for most of the second half. Allen shot 5-for-6 from the field and scored 12 of Duke’s 28 second-half points; his teammates combined to shoot 6-for-19. And with the Tigers being one of the nation’s best at not sending opponents to the foul line (13th in defensive free throw rate), the visitors were unable to find many points from the charity stripe (2-for-7 FT) to make up for those scoring woes.

Duke’s second half performance is concerning, as their depth issues aren’t going to change until Jefferson returns and even then they’ll still lack much margin for error when it comes to either fouls or injuries. Clemson’s front court took advantage of this, and with their guards stepping forward to hit some big shots late the Tigers were able to pick up a second consecutive win over a ranked opponent.

Clemson picks up Texas A&M transfer in Elijah Thomas

Lancaster's Elijah Thomas (15) celebrates after scoring against Beaumont Ozen during a UIL boys' 5A basketball state finals game, Saturday, March 14, 2015, in San Antonio. Lancaster won 59-47. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Associated Press
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CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Clemson has added another transfer to its basketball roster in former Texas A&M forward Elijah Thomas.

Tigers coach Brad Brownell said Thomas has enrolled for the spring semester and will be eligible to play in December.

Thomas is a 6-foot-9 forward who played in eight games for Texas A&M this season, averaging 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.

Thomas joins Vanderbilt transfer Shelton Mitchell and Robert Morris transfer Marcquise Reed as players on this year’s bench who will suit up next season.