No, it's not April Fool's Day. Two for two against one of the top teams in the country. 9 wins in the ACC with two to play and 22 wins overall.
My quick recap and thoughts on the game inside...
But before you do that...vote for our man Toney Douglas for the Bob Cousey award. Get the kid the recognition he deserves. As they say in Chicago politics, vote early and vote often.
What a pleasant surprise it was to come home from work to see the headline on Tomahawk Nation: FSU 73 Clemson 66 and to see photos like this:
Image from espn.com
So how did we do it? We took care of the basketball, relatively speaking, and we shot the ball well. In the game preview, I mentioned that Clemson typically loses when they are sloppy with the basketball. Well...
Our 22.9% TO% was not pretty. I wasn't able to watch the game, but this is not far from our season average. However, Clemson turned the ball over on 32.9% of their possessions. Their season average is 19.6%. We only stole the ball on 11% of their possession, meaning that a majority of the turnovers weren't necessarily a result of us being pick pockets. In fact, we only had 8 steals on the game. I have a suspicion that our pressure defense forced Clemson into some silly mistakes.
I had the feeling that if we could win 2 out of the four factors against Clemson we would win, it worked for us the last time out. We shot the ball extremely well, as did Clemson. We allowed them to get a ton of offensive rebounds...no biggie that hasn't proved to help them much in victories. But we took care of the basketball and we got to the line. Obviously, it is a skewed stat as they were starting to foul at the end.
Douglas led the way, playing 37 minutes and putting up 23 points on a 5/14 shooting night. He was 9 for 11 at the FT line and 4 for 6 from the 3 point line, and added 3 assists 3 steals on 2 turnovers. Another excellent night for our leader. Once again, Toney rose to the occasion and led this team to victory, draining FT after FT after FT to close out the game and prevent Clemson from coming back in the last few minutes.
Chris Singleton scored all 10 of his points in the second half. He only played 20 minutes, but went 3 for 6 from the floor, 3 for 4 from the FT line. Alabi had a relatively quiet night from a statistical perspective, but he had a huge block in the second half to help quiet a Clemson rally. Solomon had 5 points, with two monster dunks and went 1 for 4 from the line. It was nice to see that Uche was able to play, even if it was 17 minutes...how did he look? He had 4 points and 5 rebounds in limited time. Xavier Gibson scored 6 points in 6 minutes on a 3 for 3 shooting night. Can't wait for him to develop his game more.
Here is a nice look on the numbers for tonight:
Immediately you will notice that we had an outstanding defensive night, holding Clemson to only 0.94 PPP and a 94.3% efficiency, well below their season averages. They have only had 3 worse nights on offense than this one, all losses (Wake, UNC and FSU). The major sore thumbs for Clemson were their FTRate % and TO%. These were drastically different than their season averages. Otherwise, they had a reasonable game for themselves, shooting the ball well and pulling down a ton of rebounds. The turn overs were clearly their down fall.
Tuesday night we go to Durham to take on the Duke Blue Devils and the Cameron crazies. Duke will be coming off a 72-65 win over VTech in Blacksburg. Duke currently sits alone in second place in the conference. We are tied with Wake for 2nd. Boston College and Clemson are sitting on our heels with 8-6 records. Clemson finishes with UVA and Wake. Boston College has NCSt and GTech. Wake finishes with Clemson and Maryland. Duke finishes with us and UNC...talk about a brutal two games to end the season.
And remember...anything is possible.
Go NOLES! What a great day.
I'm so glad you all have become hooked on our basketball team...expect greatness and avoid let downs.
(I also think we move up to #20 in the polls this week and our tournament resume only looks that much sweeter.)