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The Clemson Sports Notebook: Week of March 4-March 10: Spring football underway, basketball and baseball roll on

When Tee Higgins was asked whether or not it was harder to hit the reset button after winning a national championship, his response was along the lines of construction.

“You gotta bulldoze that house down that we built last year. Just bulldoze it down. We gotta build another one and start from the ground up,” Higgins said.

Spring football practice started this past Wednesday on the practice fields in Tiger Town. Dabo Swinney’s team returns with a wealth of experience, along with some new faces as 17 mid-year enrollees will participate in practices over the next few weeks.

One question this spring will be how Clemson will move forward after losing the entire defensive line, who will all likely be drafted in the NFL Draft in late April.  Xavier Thomas, Xavier Kelly and K.J. Henry will be leaned on this spring to carry the load while Jordan Williams and Nyles Pinckney are out with injuries.

Swinney is excited to see how the competition on the defensive line shakes out.

“They’re physically gifted, that’s easy to see. I saw that in mat drills, see those big guys move. Who can translate quicker? Transition from the meeting rooms and speed of the game,” Swinney said.

While the competition of the defensive line will be interesting to watch, the offensive line will have to replace two starters in left tackle Mitch Hyatt who will also be headed to the NFL next month and center Justin Falcinelli. Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said the offense feels like a young, eager and hungry group.

“As a coach, that’s exactly what you’re looking for, that’s exactly what you want. It’s a great start, that’s all it is,” Scott said.

Two players who were a hot topic during the first two days of spring football were freshmen Joseph Ngata and Frank Ladson who have impressed veterans like Tee Higgins early on this spring.

“Those guys can play. They came in as freaks. Obviously, (they’ve) still got stuff to work on and those guys are going to develop,” Higgins said.

Men’s basketball drops heartbreaker to North Carolina, wins against Pitt

Clemson was trailing No. 5 North Carolina on Saturday night, 78-76 with 39 seconds left in the game until Clyde Trapp hit a free throw to cut the UNC’s lead to one point. If you’ve watched Clemson basketball this year, close games have not been kind to Brad Brownell’s squad.

Clemson still had one more chance. Shelton Mitchell took the ball down the court in the final seconds but North Carolina’s Coby White knocked the ball free on what was a no-call foul, leading to a North Carolina turnover as the Tar Heels were able to escape Littlejohn with a 81-79 win.

The Tigers did pick up a 62-48 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.

Friday afternoon update (1 p.m): Clemson defeated Notre Dame on the road Wednesday night 64-62 as Notre Dame’s Nate Laszewski missed a free throw in the closing seconds before Clyde Trapp was able to seal the win with a free throw of his own. Syracuse comes to Littlejohn for a noon tip-off on Saturday.

Clemson baseball drops series deciding match against in-state rival South Carolina

The annual baseball series between Clemson and South Carolina took place over the weekend. The Gamecocks won Game 1 of the series, 5-4 aided by home runs from Andrew Eyster and T.J. Hopkins in the second inning.

Saturday’s game at Fluor Field was Monte Lee’s 200th game, and it was won by the Tigers 11-4 as Sam Hall posted a two run homer while Bryce Teodosio scored a one-run homer in the win, which set up a winner-take-all game in Columbia on Sunday, which was controlled by the Gamecocks as they won the series over Clemson, 14-3 as the Gamecocks scored five runs in the first inning.

Friday afternoon update (1 p.m.)

Clemson defeated Furman 3-1 on Tuesday night. This weekend’s series is against North Carolina, which begins tonight at 6 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. 

Women’s basketball wraps up regular season, prepares for ACC Tournament

Clemson’s only game last week came against Duke, where they fell 63-59 as their comeback bid late in the contest fell short.

Despite last week’s loss, Clemson was seeded 7th in this week’s ACC Tournament.

Friday afternoon update (1 p.m. update)

The Tigers defeated Virginia Tech 80-79 on Thursday night to advance to tonight’s quarterfinal round matchup against Louisville. Tip off is at 6 p.m.

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