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Tigers look to continue building momentum against Syracuse

Toby Corriston
Clemson center PJ Hall celebrates after upsetting the Tar Heels 80-76 in Chapel Hill.

The Tigers will travel to upstate New York to take on Syracuse in their 11th consecutive conference matchup this season on Saturday, with tipoff set for noon at the JMA Wireless Dome.

Though the early months of 2024 have toggled between elite play and one-point losses for Clemson, it is coming off one of its best wins of the season when it took down No. 3 North Carolina, 80-76, on Tuesday.

Sitting at 15-7 (5-6 ACC), Clemson has an opportunity to put together its first set of consecutive wins since the team’s loss to Miami back on Jan. 3.

Clemson center PJ Hall will be a critical piece in Saturday’s matchup, as he is coming off of a game against the Tar Heels in which he had 25 points, 3 assists and 9 rebounds. Hall had referred to the North Carolina matchup as an opportunity to “flip the script” following the Tigers’ narrow loss to Virginia, and Clemson followed through on that goal.

Meanwhile, Joseph Girard III may be the key to success against the Orange, as the graduate spent four previous years at Syracuse, even defeating the Tigers twice during his time there. He is coming off of a solid performance from Tuesday when he put up 21 points and 3 assists and went 5-for-10 on 3-point attempts against North Carolina.

Taking on the Orange will not be an easy task, as Syracuse improved to 15-8 (6-6 ACC) on Wednesday when it took down Louisville in a two-point win. To make matters even more difficult for the Tigers is the fact that the Orange have been hot at the JMA Wireless Dome, where they are 11-1 on the year.

Syracuse is led by Sophomore guard Judah Mintz, who is averaging 18.2 points, 2 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Syracuse as a team scores an average of 76 points, while Clemson scores 79 per game, giving the Tigers a slight advantage in this category.

The Orange will be without junior forward Benny Williams, who was dismissed from the team on Tuesday.

Clemson head coach Brad Brownell is confident in his team’s abilities.

“I got a lot of great kids in there, so I’m hopeful that, you know, you keep working, and good things happen to good people,” he said on Tuesday.

Many of Clemson’s recent losses have been decided by slim margins, and its recent ranked win has certainly given them a strong opportunity to flip the script. As Hall said, the Tigers need to simply “keep chopping wood” and put together some important wins as the season comes to a close.

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About the Contributors
Tyler Skorski
Tyler Skorski, Senior Reporter
Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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