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Brad Brownell offers explanation for Clemson’s recent turnaround

Clemson won its third straight contest on Wednesday night when the Tigers defeated ACC rival Miami, 77-60, at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The game was a stark contrast compared to the first time the Tigers (17-7 overall, 7-6 ACC) and Hurricanes met back on January 3 in Coral Gables. In that game, Miami scored 60 points in the second half to blow past Clemson, which would soon find itself with a three-game losing streak to begin the new year.

Those three losses dropped the Tigers out of the Top 25 polls altogether, plus several spots in various bracketology projections. For a period, it even looked like Clemson might be playing its way out of an almost sure-fire NCAA Tournament bid.

Then came an improbable victory over then-No. 3 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where the Tigers broke a trend by closing out a win in the final minutes of a game — something they’d failed to do previously in close losses to Duke, Virginia, and Georgia Tech.

Wednesday’s rematch against the Hurricanes was another example of Clemson taking control when the game was on the line.

After falling behind 54-48 just past the midway point of the second half, the Tigers would outscore Miami, 24-3, over the final eight-plus minutes.

Afterwards, Clemson coach Brad Brownell offered a fairly simple answer when asked what had contributed to his team’s recent dominance in the final minutes of games.

“Good players. It’s mostly good players making plays,” Brownell offered.

Put another way, the Tigers are simply making plays they weren’t making a month or even two weeks back. They’re shooting the ball better, getting better looks, making better passes, and putting themselves in better positions to win.

“You’ve got to get stops and then your guys have to make basketball plays. You try to put them in some (favorable) positions. We’re helping them with some plays. There are certainly some actions and things we’ve taught them to help. But at the end of the day, they’ve got to execute.,” Brownell told reporters after Wednesday’s game.

Clemson made 13 3-pointers in its win over Miami. That was a far cry from the Tigers’ contest against Virginia 10 days earlier after Brownell had bemoaned that the team had been having some woeful shooting nights in their own arena.

Against Virginia, Clemson made only 35 percent of its shots. Against Miami, they made 44.6 percent. And against Syracuse last Saturday, they connected on 61 percent of their shots.

Those numbers may not last, but the Tigers have started to regain their poise and show the things that got them out to an 11-1 start and playing like one of the biggest threats in the ACC.

“You look like a good coach when guys make shots. When we miss them and it doesn’t turn out well, there’s not a lot of difference sometimes. You just keep trying to put your guys in position to be successful and give them confidence to finish plays,” Brownell said.

Clemson returns to action Saturday when they it hosts NC State. The game is a scheduled 7:45 p.m. EST. tipoff and will be broadcast regionally by the CW Network.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire