No. 20 Clemson hopes to halt 3-point barrage vs. FSU

NCAA Basketball

In its past two games — losses against Virginia and Georgia Tech — Clemson has been buried by a barrage of 3-pointers.

Now the 20th-ranked Tigers must hit the road to face the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top 3-point-shooting team, Florida State.

The Tigers and Seminoles will meet Saturday afternoon at Florida State’s Donald L. Tucker Center in a nationally televised game on ABC.

Clemson (9-3, 3-3) surrendered 15 3-pointers in a 35-point loss to Virginia on Saturday, then allowed Georgia Tech to make a season-high 16 shots from long range in the Tigers’ 18-point loss in Atlanta.

Virginia and Georgia Tech combined to shoot 58.5 percent on 3-pointers.

“That’s been a problem for us two games in a row now,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “It starts with our defense. For whatever reason, we’ve lost it since the pause. We can’t win giving up 80 points a game; we’re not built that way. We’d better get our defense fixed.”

That might be easier said than done. The Seminoles (8-2, 4-1) are one of the hottest teams in the ACC, having won three straight games by an average margin of 17 points since having three games postponed because of COVID-19 issues.

In their most recent game – a 78-65 win at Louisville on Monday – Florida State shot 42.9 percent from long range and leads the league in 3-pointers at 38.6 percent.

The Seminoles also might be driven by revenge. In their first meeting of the season, on Dec. 29, Clemson won 77-67.

But the Tigers haven’t been the same since a 10-day break prompted by positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent contact tracing. The Tigers are 0-2 since returning – their first consecutive losses of the season.

“Clemson has played excellent basketball – lights out at times,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “They have had a couple of games like we’ve had, when they haven’t played well. We are all going through periods of development, and I’m assuming Clemson is going through some of that because they were absolutely excellent the night we played them. They were totally on point.”

Saturday’s game will pair teams with opposite strengths. Florida State ranks third in the league in scoring at 79 points per game while Clemson is second in scoring defense at 62.

“They’ve been a challenge for us over the years,” Hamilton said. “The fact that they lost games to Virginia and Georgia Tech, I’m sure they’ll be in a mode that whatever they have in their being, we’re going to get on Saturday.”

Aamir Simms leads Clemson in scoring at an average of 12.3 points a game, and M.J. Walker tops FSU at 14.9.

–Field Level Media

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