"I've been talking all year about how we don't have a home-run hitter," coach Brad Brownell said. "We don't have a guy that we can pencil in 18 points for."
Last season, All-ACC point guard Demontez Stitt was the team's clutch scorer; this year no one has filled his shoes, and that could prove costly as the Tigers battle to keep their head above water in what promises to be a frenetic ACC race.
"We don't have that one guy that gives our whole team confidence on offense," Brownell said. "We need that guy that when he's got it, we feel good that he's going to make a shot, get in the paint and get fouled, or draw help and get another guy an easy look. That's what's hurting this team."
Senior guards Andre Young and Tanner Smith and junior post players Milton Jennings and Devin Booker each have shown flashes of being capable scorers -- each of them has posted a 20-point game this season -- but have driven Brownell crazy with their lack of consistency.
When asked if anyone on the team is close to becoming the team's "go-to" guy, Brownell didn't mince words.
"No, not really," he said.
TUESDAY NOTES: Junior F Milton Jennings has begun to show the talent that made him a Parade All-American as a high school senior. Jennings stepped up his play recently, averaging 13.3 points and 8 rebounds in Clemson's first three ACC games. He also blocked at least one shot in five straight games at that point.
Milton Jennings has stepped up his play recently, averaging 13.3 points and 8 rebounds in Clemson's first three ACC games. (Getty Images)
Jennings was suspended for one game in December after exchanging words with Brownell during a timeout, but appears to have put that incident in his rear view mirror.
"It was part of the learning process," Jennings said. "I'm moving on and everything is fine."
* Senior G Andre Young had two 3-pointers in the Tigers' 73-66 loss to Duke on Sunday, pushing him ahead of Shawan Robinson and into fifth place on Clemson's career 3-point leaders list. That gave Young 205 career threes and put him just 10 behind Will Solomon in fourth place.
Young, who recently had his No. 11 jersey retired by his prep alma mater -- Deerfield-Windsor School in Albany, Ga. -- will leave his mark at Clemson as well. He needs just three steels to surpass former backcourt mate Demontez Stitt for ninth place on Clemson's all-time steals list and needs just 50 assists to crack the school's all-time Top 10 in that category.
* Through 17 games, Clemson coach Brad Brownell has used five different starting rotations, with at least one freshman being utilized in the lineups. The most oft-used lineup has consisted of Devin Booker, Milton Jennings, Andre Young, Tanner Smith and freshman T.J. Sapp. That lineup also has been the most successful, compiling a 4-3 record.
"They have to be ready to help us," Brownell said of the Tigers' five freshmen, three of whom played in every game this season, through the weekend. "We can't survive the ACC playing six guys, so they're going to have to play."
BY THE NUMBERS: 12/50 -- Clemson held 12 opponents to 50 points or less in two seasons under coach Brad Brownell, through the weekend, including five this season. The Tigers were 11-1 in those games, with the only defeat a 49-47 loss to Virginia last February.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're at the point where we're not talking third in the ACC -- we believe we can beat anybody in the league. Our goal is to win the ACC, so there are no moral victories here." -- Clemson F Milton Jennings after the Tigers' 73-66 loss to No. 6 Duke on Sunday.