Thursday Clemson Basketball Notebook

When Clemson took care of business for its first ACC road victory of the season at Georgia Tech on Feb. 5, then returned home to knock off Boston College three days later, it positioned itself for a potentially strong finish.

The Tigers are 6-4 in league play with six games to play, including three at Littlejohn Coliseum. If they continue to defend their home court, where they are 13-1 this season, the Tigers could finish above .500 in league play for a school-record fourth consecutive season and emerge as a strong candidate for a fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament bid.

"The energy in Littlejohn is amazing, and pretty easy to feed off of," junior guard Andre Young said. "Once we start hitting shots and getting stops we're pretty hard to beat. We feed off the crowd, tend to be more jacked and take pride in our home court."

The energy should be there again in the Tigers' next game on Feb. 12 when they host North Carolina.

"They'll know what to expect; they've been here before," Brownell said of the Tar Heels' impending visit. "It should be a good one. We're clearly much better than we were in November and December. The problem is, a lot of teams in our league are that way."

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: For whatever reason, Clemson is a second-half team, perhaps because senior leaders Jerai Grant and Demontez Stitt continue to come up big in the final 20 minutes of games.

That trend continued in the Tigers' 77-69 victory over Boston College on Feb. 8, when Stitt scored 14 of his 16 points after halftime and Grant had nine of his 17 after intermission.

"I don't know what it is; I guess I'm just more into the flow of the game after halftime," Stitt said. Over his last 10 games, Stitt has scored 112 second-half points and only 37 in the first half.

THURSDAY NOTES: Clemson's Feb. 8 victory over Boston College gave first-year Clemson coach Brad Brownell his sixth ACC victory -- a record for a first-year Clemson coach. Brownell also has guided the Tigers to 17 victories this season, which ranks third on Clemson's all-time list for first-year coaches, and could surpass the two coaches ahead of him -- Bill Foster (18 wins in 1975-76) and Larry Shyatt (20 wins in 1998-99).

* Junior G Andre Young hit 3-of-6 shots from 3-point range in the win over Boston College and has made at least one 3-pointer in an ACC-best 24 consecutive games.

* Junior G Tanner Smith was recently selected to the Capital One Academic All-District III Team for a second consecutive year. Smith is a two-time All-ACC Academic Team selection and is averaging 7.9 points this season and leads the team in charges taken.

* 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 has allowed just 60 points per game through Feb. 8, 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.

LOOKING AHEAD TO UNC: Clemson's seniors were never able to defeat North Carolina in Chapel Hill, so this game represents at least a chance at home court redemption. It also likely will loom large in the minds of Clemson seniors Jerai Grant and Demontez Stitt, both of whom struggled mightily as the Tigers let a potential win slip away in a six-point loss at UNC last month.

Grant hit just 1 of 12 shots -- the worst shooting performance of his career -- and Stitt was a meager 3-for-15, so they should be intent on making amends at home in what could be their final matchup against the Tar Heels.

Larry Drew II has left the UNC program, leaving the Tar Heels thin at the point guard position, and Clemson could capitalize by wearing down starter Kendall Marshall with an array of players who can run the offense, including Stitt, Andre Young, Zavier Anderson and Cory Stanton. Top Stories