The long-awaited help wanted request was finally answered by various Clemson players who successfully came to the aid of star K.J. McDaniels in Tuesday’s 73-56 blowout of North Carolina State. The junior swingman had been accounting for nearly 30 percent of his team’s overall scoring, including 54 of the Tigers 122 in their past two losses, before the cavalry came a calling to lessen a bit of the usual burden carried by McDaniels. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak with Clemson (16-9, 7-6 ACC) taking solo sixth in the league with its next two games at opponents the Tigers have previously defeated this season in Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. “We wanted to limit K.J. and keep him somewhat in check throughout the game, which I think we did at times,” Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. “They answered by having some of their guys step up that hadn’t in other games, so you have to give those guys credit.” Junior point guard Rod Hall scored a career-high 20 points while starting backcourt mate Damarcus Harrison added 14 as the duo combined to shoot 10 of 21. McDaniels equaled his number of shot attempts with six blocked shots in scoring 12 points. Postman Landry Nnoko, who missed Saturday’s loss with the flu, posted six points, a game-high nine rebounds, and three blocks. In Clemson’s previous outing only one Tiger other than McDaniels reached seven points and only two scored more than four. “I wanted to be more aggressive and take more chances and I just took what the defense gave me and made plays,” Hall said. “I just tried to get everybody going and they feed off each other’s energy. I made plays and they followed.” The Tigers played one of their best halves of the season after halftime. They had squandered a 26-16 lead early to allow the Wolfpack to take a 33-32 advantage to the intermission. Clemson rebuilt a 14-point lead before league-leading scorer T.J. Warren (23.1 ppg.) scored seven straight to tighten things up. His last bucket on a runner with 9:20 left would be State’s final field goal for nearly seven minutes until the Tigers had put the game away with a 12-0 run. Warren finished with 20 points. “I thought our guys just played well,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “We had a couple of defensive breakdowns during that bad stretch (at the end of the first half), but beyond that I thought we were an aggressive, confident team.” When Clemson’s defense lets down the offensively-challenged squad has little chance to for success and it was defense that Brownell harped on during halftime. “Coach got on us about our defense and we always try to feed of that and it got back to getting us more easy baskets and free throws in transition,” Hall said of the reinvigorated intensity to begin the second half.
Hall, Harrison answer call, Tigers stomp Pack
Gaston Gazette | Feb 19