|Video: Brownell, players Duke postgame
Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell
“This was certainly a great team win and I’m really proud of our players for showing a lot of resiliency, not only with the quick turnaround but also from halftime. I thought we played exceptionally well in the second half and gained confidence throughout the game on both sides. It was great to see Jaron (Blossomgame) play at his level with his capabilities. Rod (Hall) and (Landry) Nnoko, along with Jaron, were huge. And K.J. (McDaniels) was the guy who really kept us in the game in the first half and gave us every opportunity to stay within striking distance. I think he was one of the guys who settled us down early and gave us the belief that we could win. Obviously as the game went along, I think we convinced ourselves that we could win.”
On Blossomgame’s performance:
“Well, he obviously hasn’t played as well as we would like. He’s a better player than he’s shown. We certainly thought that he would play more like this but we didn’t think we’d get 14 (points) and 14 (rebounds) out of him. There are going to be games like today when he has 14 and 14 and then there are going to be nights when he doesn’t play as well. He has to listen to the coaches, stay focused to what needs to be done, commit to doing the little things that we recruited him to do, and as he continues to get better and his confidence gets better, bigger things will happen for him. All he has to do is watch K.J. in front of him. He’s gone through a ton in the last 18 months and I’m really happy for him because I know how it’s hard it’s been. All that work and having to sit out and then having a second surgery after the first didn’t go so well and that sets you back even further. I think we, as coaches, have been good being patient with him and it paid off today.”
On the effort of his team today:
“As the game wore on and we gained confidence, I think we did a good job of keeping Duke from making a big run. Our defense was terrific after halftime and that was what enabled us to [win]. They’re an offensive juggernaut. We’re known for our defense and I think every good program stands for something. If you don’t have something that your program stands for, you’re going to struggle. We’re trying to do things right on and off the court and play tough-minded, physical basketball and we showed that. At halftime we really weren’t playing that way. We didn’t play well against Florida State, especially offensively, that’s obvious. But if you saw the film and saw how competitive our guys were defensively in the game, I wasn’t as mad as everybody in Tiger Nation was after the game. If you saw the kind of effort our guys put forth in the game, with those kind of athletes, to hold them to 21 points in the first half when we’re playing poorly, you have tough-minded guys. At halftime, when we were down to Florida State 21-16 I told them, ‘You guys are playing hard. Keep it up. We have to play better offensively.’ Today I told them, ‘We’re down 37-31 and everybody’s excited because you made baskets. That’s great, but that doesn’t win, not for our team.’ When you play an offensive-minded team like Duke, if you play an offensive game, you’re going to lose. You have to play the way you play.
“Certainly, our guys were terrific around the rim. I thought Landry Nnoko grew up a little today. I thought our leaders Rod (Hall) and K.J. did a great job being leaders and were warriors out on the court.”