GAME NOTES: ACC action takes center stage at Littlejohn Coliseum on Thursday evening, as the Clemson Tigers play host to the Florida State Seminoles.
Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles entered league play with a four-game win streak in tow last weekend, but the good times came to a crashing halt with a 62-50 home loss to Virginia. With the setback to the Cavaliers, FSU fell to 9-4 on the season.
Brad Brownell's Tigers are off to a strong start to league play, opening things up on Saturday, with a thrilling 62-60 road win at Boston College. By topping the Eagles, Clemson earned its second straight win and third in the last four games, while moving to 10-3 on the year.
Florida State has won four straight meetings to earn a 34-28 advantage in the all-time series against Clemson.
The Seminoles fell victim to Virginia's stingy defense, posting just 50 points in the loss. Virginia scored the first six points of the game and never trailed, as FSU shot a mere .308 from the floor, including an ugly 4-of-14 from behind the arc. Forward Okaro White was the only player to finish in double figures in the loss, posting 15 points. Aaron Thomas added nine points in a complementary role, but it wasn't enough in the 12-point loss.
Florida State has shot the ball fairly well this season at a 47.4 percent clip, but it has led to a modest 74.9 ppg. The team has struggled with ball control, with just under 16 turnovers per game (15.8), but ranks second in the ACC in field-goal percentage defense (.369). There aren't any prolific scoring options on the roster. Ian Miller leads the way off the bench, averaging 13.4 ppg. White delivers on 52.2 percent from the floor and ranks second in scoring (13.0 ppg) and first in rebounding (6.7 rpg). Thomas (12.6 ppg) has also come off the bench all season long.
Clemson held Boston College to just 17 points in the first half, taking a 14- point lead into the break, but had to fight off a BC surge in the second half to earn the two-point decision in Chestnut Hill. K.J. McDaniels just missed a double-double in the win with 16 points and nine rebounds. Jordan Roper added 15 points to the winning cause, while Rod Hall chipped in with 12 points, while doling out a game-high seven assists.
A strong defensive squad in their own right, the Tigers lead the conference in both field-goal percentage defense (.351) and blocked shots (tied with FSU with 88). It's a good thing, as Clemson's offensive arsenal lacks a little in terms of depth. McDaniels leads the team in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Hall and Roper round out the top scoring threats at 10.8 and 10.2 ppg, respectively. No other player on the roster is averaging more than 6.8 ppg.
The Tigers have played extremely well at home this season, winning all seven games at Littlejohn Coliseum thus far. They should be able to make it eight straight to begin the year.
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