Basketball state of mind

Lost in the hangover from the late Friday night Orange Bowl win over Ohio State was what the Clemson basketball team pulled off on Saturday afternoon in Chestnut Hill.

Brad Brownell and the Tigers won their first road game of the season, a 62-60 nail-biter over Boston College.

Clemson had just two true road contests in non-conference play, and the Tigers lost both -- 74-68 to Arkansas and 66-64 to Auburn.

"I think it was important to win because we need to try to win a game on the road," Brownell said. "We lost one at Auburn, which we controlled at one point in the second half and let one get away. We controlled most of the Boston College game and didn't want to let one get away there."

It almost happened again. Clemson led by 14 at the half before fending off a second half charge led by Olivier Hanlan, who had 27 points and a last-second shot to send the game into overtime.

K.J. McDaniels [16 point and nine rebounds], Jordan Roper [15 points] and Rod Hall [12 points], led Clemson to its 10th win of the season.

"Our perimeter players have kind of been through some things now, especially K.J. and Rod," Brownell said. "I always think it's more important to have experience in the back-court than it is as much in the front-court. Last year, we had two seniors, but we played with very young guards. I think, at times, they showed their youth. They didn't play as well in certainly situations that we would have liked.

"Our guys were gritty. I thought we played a very good 36 minutes of basketball. I thought our first half was outstanding. We even made some runs in the second half when B.C. was coming after us.

"Obviously, they made some mistakes down the stretch. But that's part of a young team still finding ways to win. And we did make enough plays down the stretch to win the game, so I'm really proud of the way our guys competed. To go get a road win in the ACC is very meaningful. I think it shows the development that you've seen in some of our younger guards in their careers."

The Tigers are now 10-3 [1-0 ACC] with home games against Florida State and Duke. The Seminoles come to town on Thursday night for a 7 o'clock tip. The Duke game starts at 2 on Saturday.

Cool hand Rod

What Hall lacks in wow-factor, he makes up for in production, consistency and steady play. Hall is tied for 10th in the ACC with four assists per game. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.71 is third-best in the league.

"One of the things I've always liked about Rod, I think he's underrated that way, is taking care of the ball," Brownell said. "He couple of bad miscues in the B.C. game, late, which were very uncharacteristic, but he's just a guy, he's just steady."

Hall is second among Clemson scorers with 10.8 points per game.

"He doesn't blow by you but he's faster than people think," Brownell said. "He's strong, he's smart. He gets the ball out of his hands in a timely way to shooters. He's a good post passer. He's just always been a guy that's been able to make players around him better. Our offense always runs better with him out there, and guys like to play with him."

Work in progress

Jaron Blossomgame continues to be a work in progress. In his first season back on the court since suffering a compound leg fracture, Blossomgame is averaging 4.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

"I don't think he's 100 percent of what he was. I don't think he runs quite as well as he used to, he's still pretty explosive at certain times jumping," Brownell said. "But I don't know that he's got the thing in that leg that, maybe, he had pre-injury."

Blossomgame is fifth on the team with 19.9 minutes per game.

"The kid is still adjusting to, first of all, life at this level, No. 1. No. 2, not having played much for a year, and then, No. 3, playing with a leg that you're probably a little uncertain if everything is going to be OK all the time, and maybe not quite as strong as it once was," Brownell said. "Just playing through all of that, I don't think it's as easy as any of us would understand, except for the guy going through it."

CUTigers.com Top Stories