Tigers aim for fifth straight win, but face tough test at Miami

by - Senior Writer -
Clemson has four games in a row (Photo by Charles LeClaire)
Clemson has four games in a row (Photo by Charles LeClaire)

CLEMSON – Clemson’s basketball team is on a four-game winning streak, the first such streak for the Tigers since the Rick Barnes era. To make it five games in a row, the Tigers will have to beat a tough Miami team on its home court.

Clemson (14-8, 6-4 ACC) plays at Miami (14-8, 4-5 ACC) at 6:30 pm Sunday in a matchup of teams going in different directions – Clemson has that four game winning streak while the Hurricanes are on a three-game losing streak after losses to Georgia Tech, Louisville and Florida St.


Date: Sunday, Feb. 8

Tipoff: 6:30 p.m. ET

Arena: BankUnited Center (7,972)

Radio: CTSN (Tony Castricone-pbp; Tim Bourret-color)

TV: ESPNU (Adam Amin-pbp; LaPhonso Ellis-color)

Clemson is coming off that fourth straight win, 62-56 on the road over Florida State on Wednesday. A win Sunday would be Clemson’s fourth on the road, making the 2014-15 Tigers only the sixth team in school history to secure at least four ACC road wins. However, the Tigers haven’t won in Miami since the 2010-11 season, Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
Head Coach
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’s first at Clemson.

Brownell said Clemson isn’t worried about the streak.

“We are only worried about Miami, a team that is certainly talented and went up to Duke and won handily,” Brownell said Friday. “They have great guard play – (Angel) Rodriguez (13.0 ppg) and (Sheldon) McClellan (14.1 points per game) are both guys that can go for big points. They’ve got depth along the perimeter they can bring in, and they can play small or they can play big. Tonye Jakiri is a really good inside guy. We recruited him so we know a lot about him. Great defender, rebounder and improving offensive player. They have a lot of good pieces. They have lost a couple in a row, so I know they will be excited to play and it should be a great game.”

Brownell credited the Tigers’ recent surge to a spike in confidence.

“It’s individual confidence in players that have played more and grown in their roles,” he said. “ Jordan RoperJordan Roper
Jr. Guard
#20 6-0, 165
Columbia, SC

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is certainly more confident now than he was a month ago. I think because of that it rubs off on some other guys. Jaron (Blossomgame) didn’t play great at Florida St., but I thought he was in attack mode and that was good for our team that day.”

Clemson’s defense has held four straight ACC opponents below 40 percent shooting from the field — a first since Feb. 25 through March 5, 1964, and Brownell said the improved defense has also played a role.

“Our defense has been good. I think our defense has gotten even better and as we’ve played in this stretch we’ve been hard to play against,” he said. “Offensively we’ve been a little more opportunistic and we’ve scored a few more baskets in transition and that’s helped us. We’ve hit more three’s and executed a little bit better. We haven’t turned it over quite as many times. I think it’s a combination of a lot of little things. But at the end of the day, the confidence of our team and believing we can win and playing the game in a way that is more aggressive. Every team is new and it’s taken a while for us to get to this point.”

Miami has road wins at Florida and at Duke and lost in two overtimes at Virginia and by five at Notre Dame, and Brownell said that the Hurricanes’ record shouldn’t fool anyone because of the difficulty of playing in the ACC.

That also makes Clemson’s own streak just as special.

“I think it speaks to how hard it is to win in this league in basketball,” Brownell said. “It’s just a really hard league. It’s hard to win a couple games in a row. Four … it’s almost a 20-year, I guess, span since we’ve had that. Hopefully it won’t be another 18 years before we win four in a row again.”

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