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Tigers to host Hurricanes with conference lead on the line

Matt Mynes // Photo Editor

Clemson will look to stay undefeated at Littlejohn Coliseum on Tuesday when it takes on No. 23 Miami. 

On Saturday, the No. 20 Clemson Tigers (18-5, 11-2 ACC) will host the No. 23 Miami Hurricanes (17-5, 8-4 ACC) at Littlejohn Coliseum in a clash between two of the top ACC teams.

Clemson head coach Brad Brownell and his team will need to regroup after Tuesday’s disappointing loss to Boston College, when the Tigers turned the ball over 17 times and only dished out four assists. Clemson also only shot 30.8% from the field — far lower than what the Tigers have traditionally shot this season. The loss allowed the No. 6 Virginia Cavaliers to be only half a game behind in the ACC standings.

Brownell is not only looking for a better performance from his players but a better performance as a coach, as he blamed himself as an important reason for why they lost on Tuesday.

“We just kind of panicked,” Brownell said. “I didn’t do a good job as a coach. I couldn’t get my guys under control. I couldn’t get them to relax, and that’s my fault.”

However, Saturday’s matchup may favor the Tigers. 

First, they are at home, where they have not lost this season, going 12-0 so far to start the season.

As for the players on the court, several Tigers have returned from injuries over the past couple of games. Junior Chase Hunter made his return against Florida State, and senior Alex Hemenway played for the first time since mid-December on Tuesday. Starting shooting guard Brevin Galloway is expected to return to the court after nursing a groin injury, according to On3’s Matt Connolly.

A fully healthy lineup would establish the “wholeness” that Brownell believes the Tigers need to sustain success later this season.

“We have to get whole again,” Brownell said. “If we’re going to finish the season and do really well, we have to get our older, main-line guys back playing together.”

Hunter and Hemenway join the dominant frontcourt of Hunter Tyson and PJ Hall. Tyson scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds as one of the only bright spots for Clemson on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Hall has averaged 18.5 points across the last six games.

Visiting Littlejohn Coliseum this Saturday is a Miami Hurricanes team that can certainly cause problems for Clemson. After starting the season 13-1 and reaching the No. 12 spot in the Associated Press Top 25, the Hurricanes have cooled down as of late, falling to 4-4 in the last eight games. Miami has struggled on the road as of late as well, losing four of its last five on the road.

However, the Hurricanes have a plethora of scorers to help them average 78.3 points per game. Leading Miami in scoring is junior Isaiah Wong, who averages 16.3 points, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Joining him in the backcourt is senior Jordan Miller, who adds 15 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Miller has scored double-digit points in all but three games for the Hurricanes this season.

In the frontcourt, Norchad Omier leads Miami in rebounds, averaging 10.3 rebounds on top of 13.9 points per game.

“We didn’t have a good night as Clemson Tigers,” Brownell said after Tuesday’s game. “We’ve had a lot of good nights this year, and let’s have another good one on Saturday.”

Tipoff is set for 3:00 p.m. EST, and the game will be broadcasted on ACC Network.

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Griffin Barfield
Griffin Barfield, Asst. Sports Editor
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