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Clemson Basketball

Clemson anxious to get back on the court after a few days off

February 12, 2018
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CLEMSON – Brad Brownell is eager for his guys to get back out on the basketball court.

You can’t blame him.

The Tigers are on a four-game winning streak and are coming off a 24-point home win over Pittsburgh. No. 11 Clemson finally got its bye and didn’t play a game on Saturday, which had both positive and negative connotations.

The bright side of the few days away from the game his team had was getting Marcquise Reed back to 100 percent. Clemson’s prolific scoring guard has been battling the flu for about a week now and the days of rest have been good for him, and the team, to rest and recharge before the final stretch.

Reed is coming off of a performance where he wasn’t his usual self. He only had four points, shooting 2-for-8 from the field. This was only the fourth time this season where Reed scored less than ten points in a game and only the second time in ACC play.

But since the Tigers have been playing and shooting so well recently, the downside was not playing another game while Clemson was as hot as it was.  Brownell would have liked his guys to stay in the routine and rhythm they had gotten used to so far which has obviously been working.

“It’s a weird situation right now with your team where you’re playing well and would like to keep playing,” Brownell said. “There’s no question. I think sometimes when you are playing the way we have been playing and shooting the way we have been shooting; you would almost feel better if you were playing games just because there is a rhythm there and a confidence that comes with regularity in performance.”

"I think sometimes when you are playing the way we have been playing and shooting the way we have been shooting; you would almost feel better if you were playing games just because there is a rhythm there and a confidence that comes with regularity in performance.”
- Brad Brownell on days off

The basket is looking a little bit bigger to the Tigers, who have made at least nine threes in six consecutive ACC wins. You can’t help but wonder if Clemson will cool off after a bit of a layoff, especially on the road against a quality Florida State team.

The Seminoles are 17-8 and are a projected 9-seed in ESPN’s bracketology. They are coming off a brutal 84-69 loss in South Bend against Notre Dame and are looking to right the ship at home against Clemson.

“They play like everybody – we all play better at home consistently. We couldn’t stop them down there last year,” Brownell said. “There is some drop-off when you lose and NBA-type lottery player in Jonathan Isaac. They always have guys ready, and they recruit guys well enough that they are always going to have talented players. That’s the case again now.

“They really spread the floor, they attack you off the dribble, but they have guys who can shoot threes and shoot well at home. Obviously, rebounding, length, and athleticism, just all the things that you would expect a Florida State team with Leonard Hamilton. This team is very difficult to beat, especially at home.”

Clemson is riding the high of being ranked in the AP poll for six consecutive weeks. Its No. 11 ranking is the highest under Brownell as the Tigers continue to impress the national pundits with every win.

On CBS’ March Madness Preview show, the Tigers were projected three seed in the NCAA tournament, which would be the highest seeding in school history.

“Certainly, that was nice on Sunday that our name was mentioned in a good place,” Brownell said. “The PR of being ranked in the last six weeks in the top 25 are certainly good, and recruits are noticing, fan base notices, and players certainly pay attention to that to some degree.”

It’s been the impressive play of his guys to not waiver after Donte Grantham’s season-ending injury. Many were wondering if Clemson’s success would continue with him watching from the sidelines.

Aside from their worst loss of the season at Virginia, Clemson has responded well, and it’s been because of the leadership of everyone on the team. Not just Grantham, but he’s still been able to help after his surgery.

“It takes all different kinds,” Brownell added.

Brownell said Gabe DeVoe has taken more of an ownership of this team with Grantham having a tough last ten days after surgery. Eli’s loose, bouncy attitude has helped keep guys in good spirits.

Shelton Mitchell, who is usually quiet and keeps to himself, but still answers questions and has done what has been needed. Then there’s Reed, whose approach to the game has been different this year.

“I think Marcquise has improved from a competitive standpoint this year and a confidence standpoint this year,” Brownell said. “I think the way he carries himself; he has never been a “ra-ra” guy either. He kind of was always on Donte’s coat tails because those guys are really tight.”

The Tigers are about to embark on a tough, but crucial three-game stretch with Florida State, Duke, and Virginia Tech all scheduled in a seven-day span. It’ll be vital for them to keep their head down and take it one day at a time.

“I think Marcquise has improved from a competitive standpoint this year and a confidence standpoint this year."
- Brad Brownell on Marcquise Reed's improvements

A top-four seed in the ACC tournament is on the horizon with six games left on the schedule.

“We want to finish our league in a good way, and it is extremely difficult to do that,” Brownell said. “We know that if you finish in the top four, then it’s another day off in terms of having some time between the end of the regular season and going to Brooklyn and a greater chance to do well when you get there. We are just trying to finish the regular season in a positive way.”

No. 11 Clemson faces Florida State on Wednesday at 7:00 PM.

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