The OP Stat of the Game: Demontez Stitt 21 points, 3 ast, 3 stl
So it is. The Tigers close the regular season with a loss. Last night's game is a microcosm of the season thus far.
Season: started 18-0
Game: started slow, built up an 10 point lead
Season: 2 back-to-back losses
Game: finished 1st half with a respectable 4 point lead, despite defensive collapse at the end of the half.
Season: 4-5 last nine games, including a blow-out win over Duke
Game: stayed in the game until the final stretch, Wake pulled away for the win 96-88.
The Tigers were winning when they were the aggressors, but lost because they did not sustain the aggression- offensively or defensively. Case in point: FTs. Wake shot 24, Clemson shot 15. I don't think this is entirely because of officiating or blown calls- the refs seemed to make up for those almost immediately after so doing- but rather, our inability to push the ball inside, drive the lanes, and make shots. Which, on the other hand, is exactly what Wake was able to do.
Wake hit nearly 60% of their shots, and was shooting even higher than that for the second half. The Tigers couldn't do everything that needed to be done. Had the inside presence been stronger and TO been on, it would have been a different.
Nonetheless, Stitt played well. KC kept us in the game and even our bench: Young, Grant, and Smith provided some solid minutes. Notably absent after his strong senior day performance was Sykes. He was a non-factor offensively and defensively. Much of this is because of Wake's size, but we needed more from him last night.
The final game was a disappointing end to a captivating, exciting regular season. Hopefully the excitement this team has generated spreads among the Clemson fanbase into the postseason this year and beyond.
Read what the real news says about the Wake game:
Clemson falls to Wake Forest
Some Greenville News Commentary
Tigers come up short in Tall Task
Clemson Basketball Buzz
Tigers fall to Wake, limp into post season
Now, it is off to Atlanta to play GT in the ACC tournament as a 5 seed.
Here's the official .pdf bracket. We play at 2pm on Thursday.