Tigers back in ACC play Saturday

CLEMSON - Just as he as he's operated all season, Brad Brownell will not play DeAndre Hopkins in Saturday night's ACC home opener against Miami.

WHAT: Clemson vs. Miami
WHERE: Littlejohn Coliseum (10,000) - Clemson, S.C.
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 7 (6 p.m.)
SPREAD: Clemson -3.5

But Brownell will be with Jerai Grant, who's averaging 15.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks during Clemson's six-game winning streak.

"Since I got here in April, [he's] put in a lot of time," Brownell said. "He's lifted weights, worked extra and stayed both summer sessions…he's having a very good senior season. I'm proud of him, because of how hard he's worked."

Grant's expected to matchup with center Reggie Johnson, the Hurricanes' third-leading scorer (12.7) and top rebounder (9.8).

Johnson, a sophomore, is 13th in the country with eight double-doubles this season.

It's expected to be a physical battle down low.

"We're physical, too, just as much as they are, probably," Grant said. "We're going to look to get him into foul trouble, just cause pressure on him—the big guy down low. At the same time, we don't want to let up on their guards. We want to keep them pressured."

That could be tough sledding.

Demontez Stitt is impressed with Miami's New York native guards—sophomore Durand Scott and junior Malcolm Grant.

"They're the ones who really make their team go," Stitt said. "It's going to be important for us guards tomorrow to really control the ball, to keep them out of their offense, not let them set up and do what they want to do."

Grant leads the Hurricanes in scoring (15.5), assists (3.9), free throw percentage (91) and 3-point percentage (45).

Scott is second in scoring (13.3), assists (3.5) and free throw percentage (86).

"They can play fast, they can play slow," Brownell said. "They do whatever they need to, because of Johnson. I think they sometimes slow things down to make sure he gets some touches.

"They certainly have the athletes on the wing—Garrius Adams, Adrian Thomas—they've got all kinds of guys that can do different things, so they can play as fast as they need to, or they can slow it down and pound it inside."

Clemson has held every opponent this season to less than 50 percent from the field. The Tigers rank first in the ACC in scoring defense and 19th in the country, giving up an average of 58.9 points.

In Littlejohn Coliseum, opponents have hit just 38 percent of all field goal attempts.

Andre Young said there's premium on protecting the ‘John.

"They're coming in here with confidence. We're really going to have match their intensity," he said, "don't let them come in here and punk us out on our home court."

Miami (11-4, 0-1)
G #1 Durand Scott (6-3, 200) - 13.3 PPG, 3.5 APG
G #3 Malcolm Grant (6-1, 180) - 15.7 PPG, 3.9 APG
F #31 DeQuan Jones (6-7, 219) - 5.5 PPG, 2.7 RPG
F #32 Erick Swoope (6-6, 230) - 2.6 PPG, 1.4 RPG
C #42 Reggie Johnson (6-10, 303) - 12.7 PPG, 9.5 RPG

Clemson (11-4, 0-1)
G #2 Demontez Stitt (6-2, 180) - 13 PPG, 3.7 RPG
G #11 Andre Young (5-9, 170) - 10.7 PPG, 2.9 APG
G #5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 210) - 8.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG
F #45 Jerai Grant (6-8, 230) - 12.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG
F #31 Devin Booker (6-8, 245) - 8 PPG, 5.1 RPG

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