CLEMSON -- Clemson's trip back to reality was rougher than anyone expected.
Three days after beating the No. 1 team in the nation, Clemson found itself
down by 32 before halftime to Wake Forest.
In the worst overnight turnaround since Cinderella, the Tigers (11-15
overall, 2-11 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost 92-60 to the Demon Deacons
(18-8, 7-7) in front of 5,000 Wednesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Clemson, winners by 10 over No. 1 North Carolina on Sunday, didn't show up
until the second half. By then it was too late.
The Tigers missed their first 12 shots and hit just three of 22 in the first
half. Add 13 turnovers and a 12-rebound deficit, and the Tigers struggled to
make the first half look any better than the halftime game played on the
same court between to teams of five-year-olds.
“We went from our worst (a 34-point loss at N.C. State) to our best (the win
against UNC) to our worst,” said Clemson coach Larry Shyatt.
The Tigers' scoring in the first half: two free throws by Adam Allenspach, a
put-back by Ray Henderson, a 17-footer by Tomas Nagys, a free throw by
Dustin Braddick and a 15-footer by Tony Stockman. At least the Tigers spread
the scoring around.
Wake Forest also spread its scoring around. Ten for Darius Songalia, eight
for Josh Howard, eight for Robert O'Kelley and six for Antwan Scott.
In the early going, Clemson had a chance to get back in the game, if it
could have hit a basket. Wake Forest didn't get hot on offense until the
latter part of the second half. However, only a technical on Larry Shyatt
got the crowd to its feet.
“There was a tendency to want to be thrown out,” said Shyatt. “You’re
sitting there and want to become like that character in Ghost and become
Wake Forest led 11-2 after Allenspach's basket with 14:19 left in the half.
Five minutes later, Shyatt was called for a technical foul by Ted Valentine
with 10:29 left in the half. Clemson cut the lead to 26-4 on Henderson's
put-back with 9:40. But that was the end of the comeback.
“At 11-2, we were guarded by a tenacious team,” said Shyatt. “They’re in a
fight for an NCAA berth.”
Clemson's unforced errors became more numerous after that point, however.
Jamar McKnight didn't notice the shot clock running down, Will Solomon
dribbled the ball out of bounds with no Wake Forest defender closer than
five feet, Tony Stockman threw a hard pass to Nagys, who wasn't looking.
The second half wasn't nearly as disastrous. Wake's biggest lead was 37
(92-55) with 14:56 left. Clemson went on a 7-0 run to cut into the lead
midway through the second half, but the Tigers never made a serious move to
cut into the lead any further. Clemson ended with a 32-point loss, equaling
its losing margin against Virginia earlier this year.
The Tigers came into the game with the possibility of getting out of the ACC
tournament play-in game, but faced a team equally as hungry to move into a
better position in the ACC standings.
“There is no way to explain this game,” said Wake Forest coach Dave Odom.
(24) Wake Forest 92, CLEMSON 60
WAKE FOREST (18-8)
Howard 6-11 2-3 14, Songaila 8-10 8-9 24, Shoemaker 0-5 0-2 0,
Hicks 2-4 2-5 7, O'Kelley 4-9 0-0 10, Lineberger 0-1 0-0 0,
Hamilton 3-4 0-0 6, Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Murray 1-2 0-0 3, Scott
3-5 3-3 9, Vidaurreta 0-2 0-0 0, Dawson 6-10 3-5 19. Totals 33-64
Clifton 0-3 0-0 0, Hobbs 2-4 1-1 5, Henderson 2-4 0-2 4, Solomon
3-9 1-2 9, Scott 1-6 2-2 4, Stockman 5-13 0-1 14, McKnight 3-7
0-0 7, Braddick 4-6 1-3 10, Nagys 2-5 1-2 5, Bains 0-2 0-0 0,
Allenspach 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 22-60 8-15 60.
Halftime-Wake Forest 41, Clemson 9. 3-Point goals-Wake Forest
8-22 (Dawson 4-7, O'Kelley 2-6, Murray 1-2, Hicks 1-3, Howard
0-1, Lineberger 0-1, Hamilton 0-1, Vidaurreta 0-1), Clemson 8-26
(Stockman 4-9, Solomon 2-6, Braddick 1-1, McKnight 1-3, Scott
0-2, Bains 0-2, Clifton 0-3). Fouled out-Hobbs. Rebounds-Wake
Forest 42 (Howard 9), Clemson 34 (Hobbs 5). Assists-Wake Forest
19 (Hicks 5), Clemson 13 (Braddick 4). Total fouls-Wake Forest
17, Clemson 22. Technical-Hobbs.