PLAYER OF THE GAME – Clemson – Jerai Grant
Grant controlled the paint on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. He tied for a game-high 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field grabbed seven rebounds, blocked four shots and recorded a pair of steals.
PLAYER OF THE GAME – Wake Forest – Nikita Mescheriakov
One of the few bright spots on the afternoon for the Demon Deacons, he was the only Wake Forest player to scored in double-digits (11).
His 3-pointer in the first half cut a 4:14 scoreless run.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Midway through the second half, Grant stuck his hand out to deflect an entry pass into the low post. Milton Jennings picked up the ball for the steal, found Andre Young on the outlet, who dished to Tanner Smith for the easy dunk.
The ball never touched the ground on the textbook fast-break. Clemson took a 55-40 lead with 8:19 left in the game and Wake Forest called a timeout before the ensuing possession.
STAT OF THE GAME
Young went 0-for-5 from behind the 3-point line and 1-for-9 from the field. His streak of 28-straight games with a made 3-pointer was snapped.
Despite Young's rocky outing, Demontez Stitt said it's a positive that the Tigers were able to get help from other players.
"The times that we needed to make plays, some guys stepped up and made some big shots," Stitt said.
Not looking past one opponent to the next opponent, or the next two in this case. It's a lot easier said than done. The Tigers managed to do just that.
"Our whole focus was on this game," Jennings said. "We haven't even thought about the next two games. We did a good job of holding another team under 50. Coach has us believing that we're the best defensive team in the country. At times, we feel like that."
The Clemson bench must have been the only orange-clad folks in the building that weren't looking ahead to next week. For a late-February game with so much still on the line, the atmosphere left plenty to be desired.
"That's just a natural thing, for players to get down on their opponent," Jennings said. "If Duke was in here, everybody's nerves would have been through the roof, or if North Carolina or Virginia Tech. You see last team in the ACC and you just naturally don't get as prepared for the game as you normally would for a higher team."
Can you blame them?
Other than the first five minutes of the first half, Wake Forest struggled on the offensive end, as evidenced by the 24 percent shooting clip from the field and the 17 percent figure from downtown. For a team that's supposed to be pretty decent on the offensive end, that's downright pathetic.
Give credit where it's due. The defensive work from Clemson was solid, once again. Nothing new there.
Coming into Saturday's game, Clemson led the ACC in scoring defense, allowing 60.4 points per game. Clemson has a chance to become the first ACC Team since 1996-97 (NC. State) to hold opponents under 60 points per game.
And it won't be easy with a trip to Duke on senior night.
"We know we have our work cut out for us. They're a terrific team and [it will] be an electric atmosphere," Brownell said.
Wednesday's game in Durham will mark the sixth-time a first-year coach plays at Duke on senior night.
Up next, Duke
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