After its most lopsided loss of the season, Clemson will try to bounce back Saturday night against visiting Richmond in the Tigers’ final nonconference game in Greenville, S.C.
The Tigers (8-3) will have had a week to recover from their 76-58 loss to Loyola Chicago at the Holiday Hoopsgiving tournament in Atlanta. Clemson allowed the Ramblers to shoot 56.3 percent from the field, including 12 of 24 on 3-point attempts.
To Clemson coach Brad Brownell, the Tigers’ defense wasn’t a one-off issue but rather something that’s been brewing for a while.
“I’ve talked in a couple postgames that I don’t think we’ve played really well defensively in several of these wins, Penn State and Towson being the two most recent,” Brownell said. “And that caught up to us.
“I think for the first time all year, we panicked when we got behind.”
Clemson had beaten Penn State 101-94 in double overtime and Towson 80-75. The loss to Loyola snapped a four-game winning streak.
Chase Hunter scored 13 points in that game to lead Clemson. He’s the team’s leading scorer on the season at 14.6 points per game, one of four Tigers averaging double figures in scoring.
Richmond (5-5) has won two straight, most recently 77-48 over Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday. The Spiders made 52.7 percent from the field and 13 of 31 3-point tries, so Clemson will need to tighten up on the perimeter again.
Tyler Burton leads the Spiders in both scoring (17.7 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg). Burton returned to school after entering his name in the NBA draft last season to be evaluated.
“I think that for someone in his position, he’s handling it incredibly well, but this is very taxing,” coach Chris Mooney told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “You have a lot of eyes on you, a lot of evaluations. Not fans, obviously, but like real (professional evaluators), who matter.
“I just think he needs to play, and that’s my main job at times. Just try to get him to play, enjoy it.”
–Field Level Media