GAME NOTES: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will try to put a stop to a two-game losing streak as they host the Clemson Tigers in Atlantic Coast Conference action at Purcell Pavilion.
Clemson had won two games in a row before a 57-44 loss to the nation's top- ranked Syracuse. The Tigers are 6-4 in the ACC this season - four games back of the conference-leading Orange.
Notre Dame's first season as a member of the ACC isn't going as well as many had hoped. The Irish have lost two in a row and five of their last six games altogether, which has left them 3-8 in the conference standings. Notre Dame is coming off a 73-62 defeat at the hands of North Carolina Saturday.
This will be the first ever meeting between Clemson and the newest addition to the ACC. It's the first and only time during this regular season the two teams will meet on the court.
Syracuse gained a 31-22 lead over Clemson at the intermission of the Tigers' most recent contest, and the top-ranked Orange never looked back in an overall defensive battle. The Tigers shot just 34.1 percent from the floor in the game. K.J. McDaniels notched a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and was the only Clemson player in double-digit scoring figures. McDaniels shot 6-of-13 from the floor, and went 5-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Like the game Sunday against the Orange, McDaniels is the only player for Clemson who is averaging double-digits this season. McDaniels nets 16.4 ppg on 45.6 percent shooting from the field, and is the team's top rebounder with an average of 7.2 rpg. His 57 blocked shots and 24 steals are team highs as well. Rod Hall leads the Tigers in season assists with 84.
Neither team shot well from the floor in the first half of Notre Dame's loss to North Carolina Saturday, but both squads connected on at least 50 percent of their field-goal tries in the second half in North Carolina's victory. Garrick Sherman netted a team-high 17 points for the Irish, and Eric Atkins chipped in 12 with five assists. Both Zach Auguste and V.J. Beachem netted 10 points, while Pat Connaughton grabbed 10 rebounds.
Sherman and Atkins lead the group of active scorers for the Irish this season. Sherman nets 14.6 ppg for Notre Dame, while Atkins isn't very far behind at 14 ppg. Connaughton is third on the squad with 13.1 ppg, and is second on the team in rebounding with 7.5 rpg. Only Sherman is ahead in that category with 7.9 rpg. Atkins has dished out a team-best 116 assists on the year.
Notre Dame has played well at home this season, and has the scorers to be able to keep pace with Clemson. But a strong Tigers' defense and an all-around player like McDaniels might be too much for the Irish to overcome.
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