PLAYER OF THE GAME – Clemson – Demontez Stitt, Jerai Grant
Perhaps it's a bit hokey—pun intended—but today's nod has to go to the seniors.
Both were just too good down the stretch today. Whether it was Grant's blocked shot to keep the lead above five or Stitt's hard drive and finish in the face of Virginia Tech's best player, each player seemingly willed their team to a much, much needed win.
Clemson head coach Brad Brownell shared a very entertaining story about Stitt at the end of today's post-game press conference. In regard to Stitt's pride in Clemson, Brownell spoke about the team's dinner in Columbia the night before their game.
"Somebody starts out with Gamecock chants in the restaurant, because they know we're there. As soon as it starts at a table, Demontez starts, ‘C-L-E-M-S-O-N'. Like, he fires right back at them," Brownell said. "Our guys are kind of stunned, looking at him like, what are you doing man? You know what? I told him, ‘That's very impressive.' That showed a pride in your school, your team and your program that few people would realize."
Stitt and Grant finished with 17 and 15 points, respectively. Grant had nine boards and Stitt handed out five assists.
PLAYER OF THE GAME – Virginia Tech – Malcolm Delaney
Unless the two teams meet again in Greensboro at the ACC Tournament, Clemson fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Malcolm Delaney's college career is almost over.
As usual, he lived at the free-throw line, knocking down 7-of-10 shots at the charity stripe. Delaney finished with 19 points, but struggled with a 5-of-14 effort from the field before fouling out in the last minute of the game.
PLAY OF THE GAME
With under four left in the first half, Stitt found Bryan Narcisse for an alley-oop to give Clemson a 29-22 lead.
The high-flying Narcisse caught the lob pass with one hand and threw down with two, sending Littlejohn Coliseum into frenzy. To make matters worse for visiting Virginia Tech, Zavier Anderson took a charge before the Hokies could cross their own 3-point line on the ensuing possession.
STAT OF THE GAME
Clemson finished with 19 assists, the team's highest assist total since losing to Maryland in January.
Credit that to the Tigers' solid play in, around and through the Virginia Tech zone defense.
Back before the season started, Clemson was picked by the media to finish seventh in the ACC. ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said the Tigers would finish last. And those projections were made before Donte Hill and Noel Johnson left the program.
How remarkable is it that a first-year coach takes over a program, installs a completely different system and manages to finish in fourth-place?
Oh, yeah, one of the program's all-time best players is now and the NBA.
A former walk-on is playing almost 10 minutes a game.
And a football player was added to the roster just to provide more bodies, several of which aren't even 6-feet tall.
Sure, the ACC is down. But the league still has the defending champion, perennial contender North Carolina and one of the country's most talented players in Chris Singleton (at least until he went down with an injury).
Of Clemson's 10 losses this season, only two were in double-digits (11 to Duke and 10 to North Carolina). The Tigers gave both teams everything they could handle at their respective home gyms on Tobacco Road.
You've got to believe that neither of the conference's larger than life coaches (K and Roy) wants to square up in Greensboro against the new guy from Indiana who's coaching at the football school in South Carolina.
No Stitt from anybody
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