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Clemson whips FAMU

Clemson takes care of FAMU

Last night Clemson began the closing stretch of the non-conference season by taking care of business vs. Florida A&M by the score of 80-57. Coming into the game the Rattlers ranked 302nd in the nation for Defense (according to kenpom.com) and they showed why throughout the game.

Lack of hustle, poor fundamentals and simply being outgunned doomed Florida A&M from the start, but give credit to Clemson for shooting 52.6% from the field and taking advantage of a team they should easily beat.

Positives:

1. Freshman Jordan Roper got his first career start and played his best game to date by scoring 16 points including 4-5 from three point land. The negative on Roper coming out of high school was his lack of size, but when shooting he has a very quick release which will help in the future against taller competition as any separation will allow him to get a shot.

Brad Brownell’s team has been in need for a consistent shooter behind the arch and it will be interesting to see if Roper can fill that need come time for conference play. I’ve stated before that the two missing pieces on this team are a consistent shooter who can score any night & more big post players to fill the void left by Devin Booker next season. Hopefully Roper, Filer and the combination of Devin Coleman & Jaron Blossomgame returning from injury next season can step up to be the go-to guys moving forward.

2. K.J. McDaniels continues to be a human highlight reel. With multiple dunks that could appear on the SportsCenter Top 10 (but will not since he doesn’t play for Duke or UNC) McDaniels continues to impress with his raw athleticism and jumping ability. I remember watching him at the beginning of last season as he appeared completely lost and outmanned at the college level, but credit the coach staff for doing a great job in bringing KJ up to speed. Thus far he has proven to be the gem of the 2011 recruiting class.

3. The Tiger defense (ranked 47th according to kenpom.com) completely shut out the Rattlers leading scorer Jamie Adams who had been averaging 15.5 points a game. Adams spent the night going 0-10 from the field with four turnovers. It’s almost like Brad Brownell & the coaching staff watched film on Florida A&M and figured out a way to shut them down…which is kind of weird given some of the history of Clemson’s past coaches in the athletic program.

Negatives:

1. Probably being a bit picky here, but the biggest downside to the game was the defense allowing Reggie Lewis to score a season-high 26 points on 6-8 shooting from three point land (complete of course with the mandatory bank-shot which every opponent seems to hit in Littlejohn). Clemson has showed a knack this year for failing to defend the 3 at times (Purdue comes to mind) and Lewis made them pay in the first half.

Brownell always makes adjustments at halftime to pay more attention to the opponent’s hot hand, but it would be nice to see him make these changes quicker (ex: around the 12 or 8 minute TO in the 1st Half) before too much damage has been completed. There were a few moments where the Tigers defense got lazy and lacked some intensity, but this is to be expected given the level of opponent and poor crowd atmosphere last night.

Going forward

Next up Clemson will travel to Coastal Carolina looking for revenge after last season’s 60-59 defeat in Littlejohn. The 2012 version of Clemson basketball has improved since last year, and if they want any chance at NCAA the Tigers will need to handle Coastal Carolina, SC State & The Citadel to finish nonconference play at 9-3.

Coastal Carolina on the road will be the toughest of these remaining games, and it will be up to Brownell to have his team ready to play from the beginning as a loss over the next three games will almost certainly relegate Clemson to NIT status come March.

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