The downward spiral continues for Brad Brownell and his Clemson Tigers.
Florida State cruised by No. 20 Clemson 80-61, the Tigers third consecutive blowout loss, and just like the losses to Virginia and Georgia Tech, Clemson was never really competitive.
Just over ten minutes in, Florida State was already up 22-7 and by the half they were up 42-24. Clemson made just four field goals in the first half.
“The first half just really demoralized us a little bit,” Brownell said. “Like the beginning of the Virginia game, you know, our team is not good enough that we can get in a scoring contest with some of these teams. Our defense has to be better.”
The Tigers shot a putrid 17-56 (30%) from the floor. From behind the arc, they were just 5-30 (17%). The Seminoles on the other hand, shot 48% from the field and 43% from three.
“I’m interested to watch the tape,” Brownell said. “I thought we got a lot of really good shots. I know we took a lot of threes but they kind of, they force you to do that somewhat the way they guard.”
“So I’m anxious to watch. We only had 12 turnovers, they had 14. We did get to the free throw line and made 22-26, but obviously the 4-24 in the first half and then unfortunately my guys that started the second half did not do a good job and the game got away right at the beginning of the second half again.”
John Newman III led Clemson in scoring with 12 points. He was the only player to hit the double digit mark. Chase Hunter had 9 points.
After a 9-1 start that saw Clemson rise to No. 12 in the rankings, things have started to quickly unravel. The Tigers were forced to pause team activities for more than a week and have struggled to find the winning formula that worked so well to start the season. There is no question they won’t be ranked when the new polls come out next week.
“Obviously, we got to get this fixed,” Brownell said. “And I think there’s guys in that locker room that care enough to want to do it but it’s not going to just happen. We played some really good basketball for several months, or a couple of months, and we just got to get back to kind of figuring that out again. We’ve lost our way a little bit. We’ve lost some energy, we’ve lost a little confidence. Not getting as productive of play off the bench and we’re playing teams that are playing really good. So we got to figure it out and we just need to get back to practice and do it.”
A team that was playing some of the best defense in the country seems to have forgotten how to defend since coming back from the break. In all three losses since the pause, the Tigers have been scorched from the perimeter. They have also been plagued by sloppiness and an inability to hit shots, and today was no different.
Next up for the Tigers is a home matchup with Boston College on Wednesday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 9 pm in Littlejohn Coliseum.