Tigers ride historic streak into Raleigh for tilt with the Wolfpack


by - Correspondent -
Simms came up big against both Duke and UNC (USA TODAY photo).
Simms came up big against both Duke and UNC (USA TODAY photo).

The Clemson men’s basketball team rides a three-game win streak in conference play into Raleigh after a historic couple of weeks. The Tigers first took down NC State in Clemson, then won their first-ever game in Chapel Hill and then upset number three Duke at home Tuesday.

Before this three-game streak, Clemson had only won one game in seven tries, with a loss to Yale. The Tigers handled lots of adversity before the NC State game a couple of weeks ago, struggling to find a win. Now, the team has to learn how to handle the success that comes with beating Both UNC and Duke back to back.

“The one thing I will say about our guys is that our guys have been great the entire year,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “As a coaching staff, we are trying to figure out the best way to work with this team.”

Part of the Tigers’ win streak has come from the great play of grad transfer Tevin Mack. Mack started the season off hot and then cooled down again before ramping it up these past three games. He’s averaged around 18 points over the streak.

“He’s not just settling for threes, but driving the ball a little bit,” Brownell said. “He has found other ways to get a basket besides shooting threes.”

Another key piece of Clemson’s success comes from junior Aamir Simms. Simms started off the season slowly, but now has really picked up his game in ACC play. During this streak, he is averaging around 21 points a game for the Tigers.

“We talked this summer and fall about how we were going to play through Aamir a lot,” Brownell said. “Aamir is just playing better. Earlier in the year he was struggling. His confidence has grown and now he has started to put it all together in some games.”

There are several new and young faces on this Clemson team and that caused some early season struggles as the guys tried to get adjusted. But over the past couple of weeks, the new faces have started to come into form and make an impact for the Tigers.

Curran Scott is improving and getting comfortable and understanding what we are trying to do,” Brownell said. “He and (Hunter Tyson) have both played well off the bench. (Tyson) finished the UNC game when Tevin Mack fouled out. Guys are improving and guys are getting better. John Newman is developing, but you see flashes of high-level play.”

Clemson heads back to the Triangle Saturday to take on the Wolfpack of NC State for a second time this season. But NC State gained one of their key pieces back that they did not have the first time these teams matched up.

“I know we are going to have our hands full with NC State. They played very well last night in their win and they got CJ Brice back, who is an outstanding player. He will make a difference for them and we are going to have to continue our great play,” Brownell said.

Coach Brownell and his team look to make it four straight wins in ACC play and complete the Tobacco Road sweep with a win over the Wolfpack Saturday at 2 p.m. (RSN).

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