BOX SCORE: Michigan 69 Clemson 61
A halftime deficit of 16 was too much ground for to make up in the second half of the Tigers' leg in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Michigan improved to 4-2 while Clemson dropped to 5-2—the first home loss of the season.
"We for whatever reason just lacked some spark and energy early," Brownell said.
Often times that spark would often come from Cory Stanton. The freshman came off the bench to score nine points and grab four steals.
Moving forward, Brownell said it's a positive to see the solid play from Stanton.
"I thought he was one of the guys that really tried to inspire our guys and breathe life into them when we were struggling," Brownell said. "Our guys have to be more self-reliant, be better at that. We can't have a freshman be the guy that's trying to spark us.
"Other than that, there weren't a whole lot of positives tonight."
Clemson had two different scoreless droughts in the first half—both lasted nearly four minutes.
Before the midway point of the opening period, Michigan built a 19-7 lead that included 11 unanswered points. Up 21-13, the Wolverines went on a 9-0 run.
The Tigers trailed 36-16 before using an 8-4 run to close the half.
After shooting 27 percent from the field (8-of-29) and 11 percent (1-of-9) from behind the 3-point line in the first half, Clemson went 15-of-34 (44 percent) and 6-of-20 (30 percent) in the second.
"I thought we did a better job of moving the ball and moving their defense to get more penetrate and pitch situations and shots," Brownell said. "We made a couple, but we didn't get the job done."
Clemson cut the Michigan lead to single-digits on a Devin Booker dunk with 12:25 left to play—the first single-digit deficit since the 13:19 mark of the first half.
Jerai Grant, who led all players with 11 rebounds, said the 16-point margin was the Tigers' own doing.
"At the same time, we just let them have the whole game," he said. "We gave it to them from the beginning. There's no way a team like that will let you come back in a game if they want it more. They came into our house and took it. They deserve it."
Andre Young scored a team-high 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field, including a 4-of-7 clip from behind the 3-point line.
Demontez Stitt scored 11 and handed out a team-high three assists.
"In games like this when you can't make shots, you've got to defend. Michigan did a good job executing," he said. "They made shots. That was the biggest part of the game."
As a team, the Wolverines shot 45 percent from the field, including a 15-of-25 effort in the first half (60 percent).
Even Smotrycz knocked down 6-of-7 field goal attempts and led all scorers with 18.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. scored 15. Darius Morris finished with 13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Both his seven free throws.
"Even though we played better in the second half, we had to play really well being down 16, and we just couldn't do it," Brownell said.
Cold shooting dooms Tigers
CUTigers.com Top Stories
Where Does Clemson Rank All-Time?Clemson captured its second consensus National Championship in 35 years by beating #3 Ohio State, the 2014 National Champion, 31-0 and undefeated #1 Alabama, the Defending National…
CUTigers.comFriday at 6:20 PM
PHOTO GALLERY I: NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP PARADEEnjoy these images from the Clemson National Championship Parade and Death Valley Celebration, courtesy of CUTigers.com Photographer John Bolton!
CUTigers.comWednesday at 5:56 PM
RECRUITING RADARIn our weekly Recruiting Radar, CUTigers Recruiting Analyst Gary McDaniel updates you on the latest news and intel on the Clemson recruiting front!
CUTigers.comWednesday at 2:20 AM
RECRUITING RADAR: National Champion EditionIn our weekly Recruiting Radar, CUTigers Recruiting Analyst Gary McDaniel updates you on the latest news and intel on the Clemson recruiting front!