Scoring at a premium

CLEMSON - Just as Brad Brownell suspected in the offseason, scoring points has been an issue.

The Tigers' second-year head coach braced himself for the challenge of replacing the 27.9 points per game that Jerai Grant and Demontez Stitt combined for a season ago.

Through seven games this season, Clemson is 252nd in the country [11th ACC] with 64.4 points per game.

"I thought we would defend reasonably well, and I think we have. We've played pretty hard most nights, but we get in stretches where guys get a little tight," Brownell said. "They're not sure if they're going to make plays. They're kind of looking around hoping that maybe someone else will make a play.

"We need a couple of guys to just grab the team and decide they're going to do it. That's a difficult thing when you haven't done it much."

Andre Young leads the team with 14.1 points, but has more 3-pointers [19] than free-throw attempts [18].

"Andre, I don't think is afraid to take big shots or try to make plays. Because of his size, he's not a guy that really can attack the basket. That becomes a problem," Brownell said. "He doesn't get fouled enough. He doesn't get inside the defense enough, so a lot of his offense revolves around making shots. There are going to be a couple of nights when he hasn't made that many."

Milton Jennings and Devin Booker are second and third on the team with 10.1 and 9.7 points per game, respectively.

"We've got to continue to work with Milton and Devin, and some of the other guys, to be more consistent, aggressive scorers," Brownell said.

TIME TO GROW UP: Rarely has Brownell been able to play five upperclassmen at the same time this season. There are only six of them on the roster.

The other six players at his disposal are all freshman.

"Last year, our lone freshman could go guard the ball, do a few things and that helped us...our freshman have to continue to do more," he said. "Obviously, we've been working with them and challenging them. They've made a lot more progress in the last two weeks in practice than they had, maybe, in the first month."

Brownell added that this week and next are prime opportunities for the freshmen to make even more improvements.

Clemson won't play again until Saturday's trip to Arizona -- their first-game since the Sunday loss to South Carolina. After the trip to Tucson, they won't play again until the Dec. 17 showdown with Winthrop.

"You're less involved with game prep practices and you're more like Monday, Wednesday and [Thursday]. Some of [Thursday] is just, let's go play. Let's get after each other. Let's see what you can do," Brownell said.

It's also a good time for the first-year players to realize why they're still working for minutes.

"There's a little bit of a wakeup call, understanding what you need to do, why you're not playing as much as you want to play and what you need to do to get better," he said. "There's a realization that kind of hits you a little bit."

ROAD TRIP: The first road game of the season, a Nov. 16 ride to Charleston to play The Citadel, really doesn't count as a true road game. There was just as much orange and purple in the stands as blue and grey.

With a trip to Iowa two weeks later, Clemson had its first true road test.

Up next is Saturday's cross-country showdown at Arizona.

"Playing Iowa at Iowa and Arizona at Arizona, those are certainly good test that you would see in an ACC league game. There were 10,000 people at Iowa. There will be 14 or 15,000 people at the McKale Center," Brownell said.

"Those are some environments we want to play in. Playing good teams on difficult courts, different situations, different styles of play. Hopefully it does prepare us for ACC play. That's why we've scheduled it."


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