CLEMSON - Clemson's resurgence in the second half of the Atlantic Coast Conference season has come in large part due to a change in tempo, moving at a quicker pace in order to jumpstart the offense.
But as they found out at Maryland last Tuesday, up-tempo has its downside, too.
The Terrapins took advantage of poor shooting and suspect ball-handling to open the second half with a 32-6 run en route to its 39-point victory over the Tigers. Maryland used the quick tempo to decimate Clemson in transition, running and scoring at will during the decisive second half.
With another pretty good transition team on the docket today - Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C. - goal No. 1 for Larry Shyatt's team has been preventing a repeat of Tuesday's second-half disaster.
"It's a continued emphasis every day. It's a standard emphasis," Shyatt said of his team's transition defense. "The one thing you cannot address is, well, when they had eight blocked shots. You're not going to have good floor balance when there's a blocked shot. They had eight of them, and I daresay six of them went for layups. And then missed shots that are long. When the ball bounces long, which we don't have control over. They had two or three of those.
"Then last but not least - passing turnovers. We had two passing turnovers where they ran through a lane, stole the ball and laid them in, and we had dribbling turnover where a guy picked another player off the dribble. We addressed those areas, but we address them every day."
According to Shyatt, the most interesting aspect of today's game will be watching how his team bounces back from the Maryland beating.
The 39-point margin was far and away the largest for Clemson this season. And while some teams would rather return home to an easier opponent following such a defeat, Shyatt and his players seem to be in agreement that facing a team such as the Demon Deacons, on the road, is more desirable.
At least today.
"We put ourselves in position two weeks ago with our 14th win, as far as eligibility\ (for the postseason)," Shyatt said. "Now our guys want to play the best teams and see if we can improve our RPI and our position for the tournament. They're not used to this. This particular team has never had a big defeat...20 points is probably a big one.
"A lot of teams - Oregon, Louisville, Wake itself - have been thumped. They've all come back. We need to do the same."
ACC Matchups this weekend
Saturday, March 1
Clemson at Wake Forest
Clemson's Sharrod Ford scored 12 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in Tuesday’s loss Maryland for his team-high fourth double-double of the season ... in all, four Clemson players Ford (4), Edward Scott (2), Ray Henderson (2) and Chris Hobbs (1) - have turned in doubledoubles this season ... the Tigers’ 15 wins eclipse last year’s total of 13 ... Edward Scott has scored in double figures in 22 of Clemson’s 24 games, and leads the team in scoring (17.9) and assists (5.6) ... Wake's Josh Howard has scored in double figures a league-high 18 straight games and leads the ACC in scoring (19.1) ... Howard has 12 games with 20 or more points and is averaging 22.2 points and 7.9 rebounds in 11 conference games ...Wake is 3-3
against ranked teams ... Vytas Danelius has three double-doubles this season and five for his career and is averaging 14.4 ppg in league games and 11.5 in non-ACC contests.
Georgia Tech at North Carolina
Tech sophomore B.J. Elder (15.8) and freshman Chris Bosh (15.5) are both listed among the top 10 ACC scorers ... over his last seven games Jarrett Jack is averaging 14.6 points, 6.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game while shooting .528 from the floor (37-of-70) ... Marvin Lewis is shooting .469 from three-point range in ACC games (30-for-64) ... UNC closes out the regular season with two of its last three games at home ... Jawad Williams has scored in double figures in 13 of his last 15 games and has raised his scoring average from 13.0 to 14.3 ... Williams is averaging a team-best 15.9 points per game in ACC play ... freshman Raymond Felton is averaging 14.8 points, 5.5 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals in ACC play.
Virginia at Florida State
Virginia's Travis Watson is 21st on the ACC’s all-time rebound list with 1,047 rebounds ... Watson leads the ACC in rebounding (10.5) and is tops among active ACC players with 51 career double-doubles ... Todd Billet is averaging 15.9 points per game in ACC play and has hit on .442 from three-point range ... over his last two games, Devin Smith is averaging 24.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game ... Over his last four games senior center Trevor Harvey is averaging 13.5 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting .611 (22-36) ... five of FSU’s 10 losses on the season have
been by a total of 18 points, including two one-point decisions ... the RPI Report lists the Seminoles’ schedule as the 39th-toughest in the nation ... Tim Pickett has scored 20 or more points eight times this season and has 10 or more points in 21 of FSU’s 24 games and leads the team in scoring (16.5).
Sunday, March 2
Duke at St. John’s
Daniel Ewing came off the bench to score 18 points, 11 in the second half as Duke extended its home winning streak to 27 games in a row with a 79-68 victory over NC State ... Dahntay Jones has scored in double figures in 21 of 23 games this season and leads the team in scoring (16.9) ... in the last three games junior Chris Duhon has had 13 assists with only one turnover.
Maryland at NC State
Maryland shot 63 percent from the floor in Tuesday’s 91-52 win over Clemson ... the Terps have won two-in-a-row in ACC play by an average win margin of 39.5 points per
game ... the Clemson win marked the sixthstraight year that Maryland has won 10 or more ACC games ... seniors Steve Blake and Drew Nicholas have played in every game in their careers and are 100-32 overall, including a 50-19 mark against ACC foes ... NC State tied a school and ACC single game record by making 22 of 22
free throws in Tuesday’s 75-67 overtime win over North Carolina ... one win in their last three games would give the Wolfpack their first backto- back winning seasons in ACC play since 1988-89 ... State is one of two ACC teams this season that hasn’t started a freshman (Clemson is the other).