Clemson (13-6) at Florida State (13-7)
02/01/2014 7:31 AM
02/01/2014 9:18 AM
GAME NOTES: Both losers of two straight, the Clemson Tigers and the Florida State Seminoles will try to get back on the winning track on Saturday afternoon in an Atlantic Coast Conference bout at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Clemson, currently in the midst of a three-game road swing, began the trip with back-to-back losses to Pittsburgh (76-43) and North Carolina (80-61) to slip to 13-6 overall and just 2-4 on the road. The Tigers are still a solid 4-3 in ACC action.
FSU also lost two straight on the road, falling at nationally-ranked Duke on Jan. 25 (78-56) before losing 74-70 to NC State on Wednesday night. However, now it returns home to Tallahassee, where the team has won seven of eight. The Seminoles started their ACC slate of games 3-0 but have since dropped three of four to conference foes.
The Seminoles have beaten the Tigers on five straight occasions, including in the first meeting this season, 56-41 on Jan. 9, to extend their lead in the all-time series to 35-28.
The Tigers were no match for UNC in their latest bout on Sunday, as they were outshot from the field in the 19-point decision, 55.4 percent to 34 percent, and trailed wire-to-wire. The game would have been even more one-sided had they not earned a 19-10 scoring advantage at the foul line. K.J. McDaniels paced the losing effort with 13 points and nine rebounds but he also turned the ball over six times. Landry Nnoko and Adonis Filer scored 12 points apiece.
Clemson has struggled to put points on the board all season long, as it shoots just 42.2 percent from the field for only 64.5 ppg, but it can typically rely on its outstanding play on the other end of the floor, ranking second in the nation in allowing a mere 56.1 ppg on 38.1 percent shooting. McDaniels is the unquestioned catalyst, putting up 16.2 ppg on 46.7 percent shooting from the field and 86 percent at the foul line, and he makes his presence felt all over the court with 7.1 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 1.2 spg and 1.2 3-pointers per game. Rod Hall brings 9.6 ppg to the table and boasts an impressive assist (68) to turnover (24) ratio.
The Seminoles had overcome an eight-point second-half deficit to take a three- point lead with under seven minutes to play, but they could not hold on to that advantage down the stretch as they suffered the tough road loss, shooting a modest 42.9 percent from the field and a disappointing 15-of-26 from the free-throw line. Okaro White was largely responsible for the team's struggles at the stripe (5-of-10), but he still finished with 20 points and seven rebounds. Ian Miller (17 points) and Aaron Thomas (12) both played well in reserve minutes.
FSU has thoroughly outmatched its opponents this season, shooting 48 percent from the field for 72.4 ppg, while allowing just 64.2 ppg on a lowly 37.2 percent shooting, although it oftentimes shoots itself in the foot with its -1.4 turnover margin. Despite having not started a game this season, Miller is the leading scorer with 13.1 ppg, having drained 32 3-pointers while making free-throws at an 86.2 percent clip. Thomas (12.5 ppg) also provides a regular spark off the bench, while White (12.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.1 bpg) brings a solid foundation to the frontcourt, shooting 52.2 percent from the field.
Clemson's stout defense will likely hold FSU's offensive attack in check, but the Seminoles are also known for their strong defensive pressure, and on their home floor, they should be able to outlast a Tigers squad that lacks explosion.
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