CLEMSON — The 19th-ranked Clemson Tigers (14-2, 3-1 ACC) have little more than 39 hours before taking the court again against the No. 18 Miami Hurricanes (13-2, 2-1 ACC), following their 1-point loss Thursday night to the N.C. State Wolfpack.
The Tigers came up one Gabe Devoe free throw shy of tying the game with .2 seconds left to play, but after Devoe’s final free throw clanged off the iron, the Tigers' hopes of a perfect start to the ACC schedule ended.
The surprise of the night, however, was the Tigers’ inability to stop Wolfpack center Omer Yurtseven from making three-point baskets as the 7-footer made five of his six attempts on his way to a career-high 29 points, and the Tigers’ uncharacteristic mishandling of the basketball.
"Certainly, Yurtseven was the difference in the game,” Brownell said. “He had showed that he could make some threes, but certainly didn't expect him to make five. Thought our kids fought all night. I don't think we played as well. The turnover battle was certainly the issue. I thought for whatever reason we didn't handle that very well tonight.”
Even in the loss, Brownell still was pleased with the fight and resolve shown by his Tigers, who fought back from being 12 points down in the second half to having a chance to tie the game with less than a second to play.
“But I'm proud of the way our kids kept fighting,” Brownell said. “We were down most of the game, seven, eight, nine several times, but our guys just kept hanging in there and battling. Obviously, we were a free throw away from sending it to overtime."
The Tigers must quickly put that game in the rearview mirror as they prepare to take on a Hurricane team that is coming off an 80-74 victory over then-No. 24 Florida State.
The Hurricanes are averaging 73.8 points per game, while their defense is holding opponents to 59.9 points per game. Miami ranks third nationally in scoring defense, fourth nationally in field goal percentage and third nationally in 3-point defense
“This one is hard. Obviously, we had a lot of guys play a ton of minutes,” Brownell said. “They (the ACC) didn't do us any favors with a three o'clock game on Saturday. But, it is what it is. We'll go back and we won't do much of anything (Friday) -- watch film and try to get rested and do the best we can and be ready to compete against a really talented Miami team at three o'clock. Hopefully our building will be electric and help give us a little juice."
The Tigers lead the all-time series with the Hurricanes 13-11, including a 7-2 advantage at Littlejohn Coliseum. Miami won the teams’ lone meeting last season by a final score of 71-65. The game can be seen nationally on ESPNU, with tip-off set for 3 p.m.