Syracuse Review

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Syracuse Review

I started watching Clemson basketball over 40 years ago and have figured I have seen about 25 games a year. By my estimation that means I have seen over 1,000 Clemson basketball games. Of the 2,000 halves of Clemson basketball I have watched, I can't remember the Tigers playing any better than what I saw in the first half against Syracuse Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers jumped on Syracuse early and didn't let up in the first half. Clemson outscored the Orange 39-18 in the first stanza for several reasons. Clemson was 16 of 30 or 53% from the field in the first half, while Syracuse was 7 of 28 or 25%. The Tigers were five of thirteen from three or 39%, while the Orange were one of 11 or nine percent.

“In the first half we allowed them to take shots and they made them," said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. "In the second half we moved up and did a little bit better job. But the offensive rebounding was the game; when we stopped them in the first half a couple of times in a row we did play good defense, they got four putbacks. They had 20 second-chance points I believe. We haven’t really had that happen to us this year, this was the first game where we got hurt on the boards. This is a good rebounding team, and they did a great job on the boards against us.”

One of the keys was Rod HallRod Hall
Sr. Guard
#12 6-1, 205
Augusta, GA

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. The senior guard scored 15 points and had six assists and only two turnovers. But Hall's major contribution was shutting down Trevor Cooney. The Syracuse senior came in averaging over 14 points per game. Saturday Cooney went 0-7 from the field and 0-5 from three. If it weren't for a couple of bad calls, Cooney would not have had five free throws, his only points.

The Tigers got another strong performance from Jaron BlossomgameJaron Blossomgame
RS So. Forward
#5 6-7, 215
Alpharetta, GA

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who was 6-10 from the field and had 15 points and 12 rebounds. The sophomore is emerging with several terrific performances in a row.

Freshman Donte GranthamDonte Grantham
Fr. Forward
#15 6-8, 205
Martinsburg, WV

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led the Tigers with 16 points including 6-12 from the field and 4-8 from three. If Grantham can play at that level, Clemson becomes a dangerous team.

Boeheim mentioned the second chance points (21-11 in Clemson's favor). He also mentioned Clemson outrebounding the Orange 40-30. Another factor was the Tigers' bench out playing the opponent. Clemson's bench outscored Syracuse's bench 9-0.

“We’ve really played well seven out of the last eight halves," Clemson's Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
Head Coach
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said after the game. "Even though we only won one game on the road in that stretch, you go back as a coach and evaluate your team’s performance. We played very well against Louisville, very well in both halves against Pittsburgh and the first half against Virginia I thought we played well. That was my message at halftime. We’ve played six out of seven well, now we’ve got to make seven out of eight. We knew Syracuse was going to make a run at us, we knew it would be a little ugly at times, but I don’t think it got under ten. We kept them at bay.”

Tonight the Tigers have a chance to continue to play well. Clemson hosts Florida State who is 9-9 overall and 1-4 in the ACC. The tip is set for 9 PM and I know its late, but this team drew energy from the sellout crowd Saturday and a nice crowd tonight could make a difference.

The Tigers survived an opening five game stretch that many, including myself, thought they would be 0-5. Instead, Clemson is 2-3 in the league and has a chance tonight to get to .500 in the conference. This is a long way from what we saw just a few short weeks ago from this team. A lot of are hopeful the solid play continues tonight in Littlejohn.

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