|by David Hood|
Clemson (13-12 overall, 5-8 ACC) faces Maryland (18-8, 6-7) Saturday at noon in College Park in an ESPN2 game, and it gives the Tigers their first chance to move forward following last Sunday’s 45-43 home setback to No. 2 Miami, meaning it is a big game for a young Clemson team that is still learning how to win.
Maryland, which toppled Duke last Saturday and lost to Boston College this past Tuesday, is playing its last season as a member of the ACC before moving to the Big 10 next season, and Brownell said Saturday’s game is just a reflection of the changing landscape of college athletics.
“It is a little strange to think about it,” Brownell said Friday. “You certainly hate to see it. Maryland is a charter member team with a lot of rich basketball tradition and history in our league. You certainly hate to see this kind of thing. But this is the changing of the guard in college athletics and nothing is the same anymore. I think it’s a little bit unfortunate.”
The game will be played six days after the loss to Miami, and point guard Rod Hall said Friday that the loss lingered with the Clemson team for a few days, and the time off might have helped.
“For a few days we were still kinda focusing on the last game,” Hall said. “We had a game in our hands and ended up with a loss. It’s frustrating. It seems like we’re always losing games by one or two possessions.”
Brownell admitted that the loss to Miami stung, even in a season that has been marked by games that got away in the final few seconds.
“That was a hard one to get over,” Brownell said. “We’ve had three or four that are difficult to get over. But by Wednesday I thought we had a good practice and I think the guys are doing pretty good.”
The Terrapins had an up-and-down week of their own, knocking off Duke 83-81 at the Comcast Center, then losing to Boston College 69-58 in a game that saw Maryland go without a field goal for more than seven minutes in the second half.
However, the Tigers get Maryland at the Comcast Arena, and Maryland holds a 52-10 series lead over the Tigers in games played in College Park. Clemson’s last win at Maryland came in 2008, when the Tigers capped a 20-point comeback on Terrence Oglesby’s three-pointer in the final seconds.
“They’re a terrific team,” Brownell said. “They’re a lot like us in that they play a lot better at home than on the road. We’ll be in an extremely hostile environment. You really have to overcome a lot of emotion to win a game like this.”
Hall said the Tigers will have to take care of the “little things” if they want to come away with a win.
“If we’d pay attention to more details we wouldn’t have the losses we have,” Hall said. “It’s things like we couldn’t get through a ball screen or didn’t get an offensive rebound. And every time we’ve had an early game atmosphere we’ve come out really slow. We can’t do that.”
Overall: Maryland leads 89-49
at Clemson: Clemson leads 35-27
at Littlejohn: Clemson leads 22-20
at Maryland: Maryland leads 52-10
at Neutral: Maryland leads 10-4
First Meeting: Maryland won, 45-34, in 1938-39
Last Meeting: Maryland won, 64-62, in 2011-12
Streak: Maryland has won three straight
• Clemson and Maryland meet on the hardwood for the first time since Feb. 4, 2012. The Terrapins have taken the last three games over the Tigers and lead the all-time series 89-49, including a 52-10 advantage in College Park. Clemson’s last win at Maryland came in 2008, when the Tigers capped a 20-point comeback on Terrence Oglesby’s three-pointer in the final seconds.
• The Tigers last played on Sunday against Miami, falling in heartbreaking fashion to the nation’s now No. 2 ranked team by a score of 45-43. Five of Clemson’s eight ACC losses have been by five points or less.
• Clemson’s last win at any point over Maryland was in 2010, when Jerai Grant had a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Tigers to a 62-53 victory. Maryland had 26 turnovers in that game, while Clemson collected 20 offensive rebounds.
• Clemson currently boasts a .401 field goal percentage defense, on pace to be the best in school history. The previous best was a .403 figure two seasons ago by Brad Brownell’s first Tiger team.
• Maryland is second in the NCAA with a +10.1 rebound margin, but 340th out of 345 teams with a -5.1 turnover margin. The Terrapins upset then No. 2 Duke on Feb. 16 despite committing 26 turnovers as a team.
• Jordan Roper has averaged 12.2 points per game over Clemson’s last five contests, culminating with a season-best 19 in Sunday’s loss to Miami. Roper’s point total was the highest by a Tiger freshman against an ACC opponent since Terrence Oglesby scored 19 versus Florida State in 2008.
• Devin Booker had his fourth double-double of the ACC season last time out against Miami, and has scored double figures in 10 of Clemson’s 13 conference games. He is 15th in league play scoring at 13.2 points per game.
• Booker currently ranks among the ACC’s top 10 in overall offensive rebounds per game (2nd), rebounds per game (7th) and blocked shots per game (T-9th).
• K.J. McDaniels has had at least one blocked shot in 15 straight games, the longest streak by a Clemson player since Trevor Booker went the first 16 games of his career with at least one block in 2006-07.
David Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org