Tuesday Clemson Basketball Notebook

Clemson overcame a major hurdle on Feb. 5 when the Tigers notched their first Atlantic Coast Conference road victory of the season in five tries by topping Georgia Tech 65-56.

First-year coach Brad Brownell had said before the game that the Tigers needed to win for two reasons -- one, to prove they could win on the road, and two, to get reporters to stop asking questions about their road losing streak.

"It's good to put it behind us," Brownell said after the win. "But we've got a lot more work to do."

Stealing the win on the ACC road was important for Clemson because it kept them above .500 in ACC play at 5-4 and pushed them into a fourth-place tie in the league standings. Now the home court edge is in the Tigers' favor -- four of their final seven games are at Littlejohn Coliseum, where Clemson is 4-0 in ACC play and 12-1 overall.

"We needed (this win) to keep us going in the right direction because we have a tough week ahead with Boston College and North Carolina," Brownell said. "We needed some positive momentum going into those games."

Even that might not be enough.

Given the ACC's lack of signature national victories this season and the parity throughout the league (after Duke), it may take at least nine and perhaps 10 league wins to secure an NCAA Tournament berth.

"We haven't talked a lot about that (NCAA Tournament), but the guys know that," Brownell said. "We've got to win some of these games to give ourselves a chance."

* Clemson's 22-0 scoring run in its 65-56 victory over Georgia Tech on Feb. 5 was the longest scoring spree for the Tigers since Nov. 12, 2007, when they scored 26 unanswered points in a win over Furman.

* Clemson shot a blistering 56.8 percent from the field -- its third-best performance of the season -- and made 7 of 14 shots from 3-point range in a win over Georgia Tech on Feb. 5. In two games against the Yellow Jackets this season the Tigers have made 18 of 28 long-range shots (64.2 percent).

"After we got it going, we were kind of hard to stop," said senior guard Demontez Stitt.

* Clemson has allowed just 59.6 points per game through Feb. 5, which ranks as the best scoring defense in the ACC and one of the Top 20 figures in the nation. In six of coach Brad Brownell's previous eight years as a Division I head coach, his teams have finished the season in the Top 25 in scoring defense.

BY THE NUMBERS: 24 -- Consecutive ACC road losses by first-year Clemson coaches, a streak that came to an end when new coach Brad Brownell guided the Tigers to a 65-56 win at Georgia Tech on Feb. 5. A first-year coach had not won an ACC road game at Clemson since Rick Barnes coached the Tigers to a win at N.C. State on Jan. 28, 1995.

KEY MATCHUPS TONIGHT: Clemson has never lost to Boston College at Littlejohn Coliseum, and the Tigers should be intent on keeping that streak intact. Although the Eagles are somewhat of a surprise at 5-4 in ACC play through Feb. 5, Clemson understands the urgency of continuing to amass as many home wins as possible and should be extremely focused for this matchup.

The Tigers will have to keep wraps on BC guard Reggie Jackson, who burned them for 30 points and 10 assists in the two games the teams' split last season. BC also leads the ACC in 3-pointers made per game, so Clemson will try to force the Eagles into a performance similar to last year's at Clemson when BC hit just 2 of 16 shots from beyond the arc.

FUTURES MARKET: DeAndre Hopkins saw meaningful playing time in the Tigers' win at Georgia Tech on Feb. 5, entering the game with about nine minutes to go in the first half. The football star-turned-basketball player logged only three minutes, but had an assist and appeared more comfortable on defense.

"I just wanted an athletic guy out there to be energetic and compete," Brownell said. "He was part of our (22-0) run. He did what he's supposed to do, and that's give us energy."

The depth-challenged Tigers may need more meaningful minutes from the 6-2 freshman guard as the season hits its homestretch.

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