Clemson basketball: Brad Brownell sounds off after 'blue-collar' 51-50 win over Virginia Tech – 247Sports
Coming off Tuesday’s 10-point loss to Wake Forest, Clemson returned to the win column and improved to 8-1 in ACC play on Saturday with a hard-fought 51-50 victory over Virginia Tech at home. Senior forward Hunter Tyson came up big for the Tigers late in the game, netting the game-winning 3-pointer with 12 seconds left.
“We both know each other so well,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said in his postgame press conference. “We knew this was going to be a rock-them-sock-them, blue-collar win… I just felt like [Tyson] was going to make a play today. It was a big-time shot.”
Clemson was playing without its starting backcourt as guards Chase Hunter and Alex Hemenway nurse injuries. In their stead, center PJ Hall got a majority of the Tigers’ offensive looks and responded with a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds.
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Keep scrolling to see everything Brownell had to say after Clemson’s thrilling win over Virginia Tech.
“What a hard game. Both teams defended like crazy and just competed. We both know each other so well. There’s a ton of respect between the two programs for how you do things, and their kids play really hard. I thought our kids played incredibly hard. It’s not easy to defend like that sometimes when you’re not scoring. You don’t get any juice off your offense to sustain that kind of defense. It takes a lot of will, and our guys had that today.
“The end of the game was big-time; PJ Hall made a heck of a shot late. I thought he was fantastic all game. He was just playing with confidence and just positive energy for our team. Hunter Tyson, in every huddle, was challenging our team and each other. We just had good spirit throughout the day. I’m just pleased and really happy for him to make a huge shot like that. That was big time. This is a great win. If we don’t have a great crowd tonight, we may not get through it.”
“He is one of our best players. He has been in it. I just felt like he was going to make a play today. He had the option. He could shoot the three, drive, throw it to PJ — he could do different things. But I told him, ‘If you are open, shoot it. You’re going to have poise and time and space to make the right basketball play.’ We work on making the right basketball play. It was a big-time shot.”
“It’s just a different game. Every game takes on a different personality. Wake, they’re pushing on every make. We actually pushed the ball in that game more and played with more tempo. We knew the game was going to be a little more scoring. In this game, they don’t push it on makes — they get into their stuff. They show great discipline, run their stuff, and they don’t take many bad shots. So, it’s just a different kind of game. I think that’s one thing about our league that can be different than some of the other leagues and maybe one of the reasons why we have success in the tournament. There are a lot of different styles, and this was a little bit of a different style. We knew this was going to be a rock-them-sock-them, blue-collar win.”
“We got outplayed by a good team at Wake Forest, and we didn’t play our best. If you don’t play your best in a lot of these games, you’re not going to win. We really struggled defensively to guard them. Today, we didn’t play great either offensively, but defensively we did. Defensively, we were on point. To hold those guys to 50, that doesn’t happen very much. It wasn’t an aesthetically pleasing offensive game. If you can win scoring 80, and you can win scoring 51 — that’s when you have a good team. This year, we’ve been able to do that.”
“I’m really proud of our kids for fighting. It’s not easy. You’re playing without a couple of good players. We’re trying to piecemeal it a little bit on the sideline. We got different lineups that haven’t practiced a lot together. We practiced a few more things this game than we had for Wake Forest. I think Dillon Hunter and Chauncey Wiggins were outstanding defensively in the second half. Dillon’s defense gave us a spark, and he hit a couple of big baskets. Chauncey’s length was good. We did some more switching with him in the lineup, and I thought that was good for us. I’m just pleased with the way they played in a tough game.”
“It’s a little frusturating. I woke up Sunday morning after beating Duke feeling good and excited for our guys, and then you come in, and you get some bad news. It reminds you of how hard it is. It’s hard. 20 games is a lot of games. It’s hard to stay healthy. There are going to be some injuries. Your kids have to adjust, and you’ve got to adjust. If you’re going to be really good, you have to have a lot of good players. It comes down to players a lot of times, and we’re still trying to figure it out, minus two guys. I don’t know when those guys will be back. Your margin is smaller. I’m just really happy for our guys and the way they fought.”
“He’s physical. He’s a physical guard. He’s tough. He’s got a good spirit about him. He’ll fight guys on the low post. He’ll fight over screens. He’s one of those competitive kids. They’re not guarding him because he’s not shooting the ball as well right now. That’ll come as he plays more and as he gets more confidence. But he made some big shots. I had to reassure him a little bit at Wake… He got sideways. He took a couple of shots that we don’t practice. He’s got one turnover in 100 minutes of ACC play. He takes care of the ball. He’s always taking care of the ball in practice. We chart all that stuff.”
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