CLEMSON BASKETBALL

Team spirit propels the Tigers to hot-shooting night in Atlanta
Clemson improved to 9-4 away from home this season with a spirited effort. (Photo: Bret Davis / USATODAY)

Team spirit propels the Tigers to hot-shooting night in Atlanta


by - Senior Writer -

The Clemson men's basketball team picked up a spirited win Wednesday night over Georgia Tech in Atlanta, and it’s that kind of spirit that head coach Brad Brownell and his players were looking for.

Clemson had one of its best shooting nights of the season in Wednesday’s 81-57 blowout victory over Georgia Tech at McCamish Pavilion. The Tigers (18-8 overall, 8-7 ACC) made a season-high 14 3-pointers on 29 attempts from behind the arc and shot 53 percent from the field in their most dominant ACC win this season.

Hometown heroes Chase Hunter and Ian Schieffelin had big nights in their respective returns to their home state. Schieffelin scored a game-high 19 points, 13 of which came in the first half. Hunter had 18 points — including 11 in the final 11 minutes of the game. Joseph Girard scored 14 and birthday boy PJ Hall added 11.

“Certainly a terrific win for our team. I thought we played outstanding. Always helps when you make shots. We started the game extremely well,” Brownell said. “Obviously, last time we played, we did not make shots, so we probably had evened out a little bit today. Just pleased with the way our guys guarded. I thought we sustained it defensively on both ends for the full 40 minutes, and it's just good to get another road win. So excited about it and trying to get ready for the next one.”

Clemson suffered a heartbreaking loss to NC State at home last Saturday, and the team went through what Brownell called a difficult film session on Monday. Brownell then challenged his team to get back to the spirit of having fun.

“I really challenged them on Monday. I challenged our older guys. It's such a long season. I think that basketball is so long that it's hard to play well all the time, and it's hard to not get distracted as players and teams and to get down,” Brownell said. “I really just tried to get our guys to think back to November and early December and just remember the joy that we were playing with. In every huddle tonight, we just said spirit, like team spirit, because we were just trying to get back to our team spirit, just that feeling that we had. We didn't play great basketball every game in November and December. In fact, we won that tournament against UAB and Davidson and didn't play well in some games.

“But we had such good camaraderie and spirit and energy that it carried us. I think sometimes, through the length of a season, you get wounded, and then people get distracted, they get a little upset and disgruntled or whatever, or distracted, and you lose some of that. We just tried to get back to how we felt in November and December. I think my older players did a really good job of making that happen tonight.”

Brownell said he knew it was time to speak to his team.

“You just get a feel. You've been around your guys. We had won three in a row, maybe, leading into that game (NC State). It wasn't like we were in a terrible place, but we've had a hard time just continuing to build and play at the level,” he said. “I think occasionally, you get distracted, and you lose a lead or two, and we've lost a couple of leads. I think just during a long season, guys get mad at different things. Guys get mad at the head coach.

“Guys have stuff going on in their lives. Guys are tired of practicing. I mean, it's just a hard, long season, and you're going to have ups and downs. It's reminding them that we're a lot closer to the end than you to realize, and it's also reminding them that we aren't the 10-1 team. Right now, I guess we're 8-7 in the ACC. You better stop believing that you're the 10-1 team. We got to get better, and we need to finish the ACC season the right way.”

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