Deep 3 with T.O.: Tigers play the hardest they've played all year in Pitt win


by - Correspondent -
Deep 3 with T.O.: Tigers play the hardest they've played all year in Pitt win

Clemson defeated Pitt 72-52 Wednesday night in what might be the Tigers' best all-around effort this season. The win snaps a three-game losing streak for the Tigers.

Terrence Oglesby delivers his keys to the game:

HARDEST CLEMSON HAS PLAYED ALL YEAR

An absolutely fantastic effort. Clemson played hard and got their hands on every single 50/50 ball the entire night. Every shot was contested and every rebound at least had a Tiger paw on it. For a team that was coming in losing three straight, it can be easy to get discouraged. Simms returning brought a huge lift and the Tigers were sharp all night long against a young, talented Pitt team.

OFF BALL MOVEMENT WAS FANTASTIC/EXTRA PASSES

There were no “jog-through” cuts Wednesday. Every cut to the basket was a direct line to the basket and performed full speed. This made the passes easier on back doors and also made the Panther defense get a little too tight on their man. This is what coaches mean when they say “put pressure on the rim.” Clemson also did a nice job of making the extra pass. The ball didn’t stick in player hands. The passes were sharp and right in the shooting pocket. Helps with shooting percentages for sure.

FULL COURT ZONE PRESSURE

I loved this call by Coach Brownell. Pitt’s starting guards, Johnson and McGowen, are very talented. Where they can struggle is when they can’t get a full head of steam towards the rim to either dunk or force rotations. The pressure had both guys playing on their heels, and Pitt struggled moving the ball. Every time either player caught the ball they saw at least 3 players looking directly at them because of the zone. Also, factoring in that both players are subpar 3pt shooters, you gotta love the decision.

EXTREMELY ACTIVE DEFENSIVE ROTATIONS

When Clemson was playing man defense, they really did a nice job with both their individual scouting reports and their rotations. This was the best that I saw the Tigers fly around defensively all year. It’s one thing to be at the right spot. It’s a different thing entirely to be there early. Clemson was early on their rotations all game. Another thing, rim protection was excellent because of the rotations. Aamir Simms lacks in size for a 5 man but is able to protect the rim by getting to spots early to taking charges. Excellent defensive game all around.

THE LID IS OFF!

When it rains it pours. After struggling to make shots over the last 3 games, Clemson went on a tear from long distance by going 13-of-22. A lot of it was spurred by great passes to shooters and great off-ball movement. Guys were locked and loaded. The biggest difference tonight that I saw was “shot preparation.” The Tigers were showing their hands and had their butts down ready to catch and shoot. It also never hurts when you have a guy like Alex Hemenway take the lid off. “Energy ain’t a metric” and Hemenway definitely helped ease his teammates' confidence by allowing them to see the ball go through the net a few times.

The Tigers are back to feeling good, but have a difficult test coming up on Saturday with Louisville coming to town. After tonight’s loss to Georgia Tech, Louisville will come in ready to compete and the Tigers are going to have to bring their “A-game” in order to play with the No. 5-ranked Cardinals.

Tip-off is at 4 p.m. Saturday (ACC Network).

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