Clemson’s late-season slump is quickly turning into a crisis.
The reeling Tigers will hope to avoid their fifth loss in six games Wednesday when they host Syracuse in Atlantic Coast Conference action.
Clemson (19-8, 11-5 ACC) looked like a force to be reckoned with after rattling off 10 wins in 11 games to start conference play, including victories against North Carolina State and Duke. However, the team has since lost four of its last five, capped by an ugly 10-point defeat against a Louisville squad that entered with a 1-15 record in league play.
“Obviously it’s a very disappointing loss,” said Clemson coach Brad Brownell, whose team looked nothing like the squad that defeated Florida State by 40 in its previous outing. “I’ve been fighting our guys some. I love them, but there are times in this stretch where we haven’t played as well, where we panic just a little bit, and we shoot a few quick threes and are not showing enough offensive toughness in those situations.”
The Tigers have four regular-season games left to get their groove back before the ACC tournament. A win over the Orange (16-11, 9-7) would certainly be a good place to start.
Syracuse had its three-game winning streak halted with a 77-55 defeat against Duke its last time out.
“Physically, we weren’t ready,” Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. “We weren’t able to handle this tonight. We’re going to Pittsburgh (on Saturday) and Clemson — they’re two physical teams. We’re going to have to be more physical in those situations, and then we come home for the last two. But I think this team’s gotten better. I think they’ve improved tremendously. I think they’ve played as well as you can ask.”
Joe Girard III and Judah Mintz combined to score 39 of Syracuse’s 55 points against Duke. Clemson, on the other hand, is fueled by big men Hunter Tyson and PJ Hall, who combined for 40 points versus Louisville.
The Orange have won the last two meetings with the Tigers by an average of 11.5 points.
–Field Level Media