Tigers Shock Seminoles

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Tigers Shock Seminoles

Saturday's four point win in Tallahassee was not the biggest win of the season for the Tigers.  Almost anyone would have to agree that January's win over Duke was a bigger win.  Duke is a better basketball team than Florida State and their name brings more national recognition.  When you beat Duke people take notice.

However, Saturday's win over Florida State might have been the biggest surprise of the season.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't think Clemson was going to beat Duke.  The Tigers looked lost against FSU two days before and found themselves in the upset of the Blue Devils.  But I also say it was a bigger shock because I sat in Littlejohn that night and watched the Seminoles embarrass Clemson by 15 points.  The Tigers had no answer for Florida State's defensive pressure.  They had no answers for Florida State's height and length.  The Seminoles were more athletic and proved it in Littlejohn.

So how in the world did Clemson go on the road and beat FSU?  For one thing, they had Superman on their side.   K.J. McDanielsK.J. McDaniels
Jr. Forward
#32 6-6, 200
Birmingham, AL

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played perhaps his most dominating game as a Tiger on both ends of the floor.  McDaniels had 26 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

The Tigers also got a very good performance from Jaron BlossomgameJaron Blossomgame
RS Fr. Forward
#5 6-7, 215
Alpharetta, GA

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, who had 10 second half points and six rebounds.  Blossomgame hit his first three-pointer since the Duke game.

They also shot the ball better and came away with some big three point baskets in the second half.  In fact, Clemson hit seven threes, while the Seminoles had only one three pointer.

Clemson did a great job on the boards and out rebounded the much bigger Florida State squad 33-29.

But the real reason was defense.  Clemson is not good enough to have an off night defensively and still win on the road.   Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
Head Coach
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's staff made that very clear this past week in practice and his team responded.  Clemson did a great job in almost every facet on defense Saturday afternoon.

The win was big in so many ways.  It broke a losing streak to Florida State.  It gave the Tigers a split with FSU in case they tie in the ACC standings.  The win broke a losing streak in the conference.  But it also gave them some hope in the middle of this terribly difficult stretch of the schedule.

For months now we have talked about Clemson's six-game stretch that I have nicknamed, "The Gauntlet.”

 The Tigers have played at Pittsburgh, at North Carolina and at Florida State.  They get Georgia Tech at home tomorrow night before back to back road games at Syracuse and at Notre Dame.  The final game in the stretch is at home against Virginia.

If the Tigers can hold serve at home tomorrow night, Clemson can get to 2-2 in the first four games of "The Gauntlet."  A 6-3 start could set up a big finish.  Clemson may be a long shot to steal one of the last three games in this stretch and if that is the case then it would be 6-6 in the league.  However, if they stole one of the three, Clemson would be 7-5.

The rest of the schedule features some winnable games like home tilts with NC State and Miami.

We all know this team still can struggle in the half court and there could be other disappointing losses ahead.  However, this team was coming off of two bad losses and rebounded with a great win over FSU.  What this win did was change the outlook.  This team now has a chance and this team looks like it could survive this stretch.

Now they need to take care of business and win tomorrow night.  If not, they will be right back where they were going into the Tallahassee trip.

The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency

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