The OP Stat of the Game: Tanner Smith 14 pts, 10 reb, 6 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk
Tanner Smith continued his maturation in the road game against ECU. He contributed significantly both before and after Stitt took an elbow to the face and was forced to change from #2 to #22. Tanner, along with Andre Young, combined for 30 points. Not bad.
Per Trevor Booker, well, he played Booker-Ball: 13 points, 12 rebounds and 9 ast. The biggest stat there is the assist column. He is beginning to be more confident passing the ball. And assuming the rest of the team continues to hit shots, things will open up for him down low.
About the freshmen, all four had solid games. Milton Jennings was the most efficient of the group with 8 points in 10 minutes of play. Devin Booker had 9 points in 14 minutes of play. Noel Johnson had 6 points in 18 minutes of play, but also fouled out- hmm? Hopefully his defense will shore up soon. Donte Hill had 2 points in 3 minutes of play. All four are starting to make moves offensively, putting up high efficiency ratings and making the most of their minutes. The season looks a little brighter after tonight for them.
One thing that looks a bit suspect, despite the 17 point win is the half by half comparison.
1st half: Clemson: 46, ECU: 29
2nd half: Clemson: 34, ECU: 34
I know we let up a little. I know we let some of the bench players get in on the action, which is important, but we have got to have that killer instinct. Like ex-Dukie, current ESPN analyst Jason Williams, I refuse to call him Jay Williams, said of John Wall, he has the " 'keep the lights on switch,' What I mean by keeping the light switch on is that no matter who the opponent is that particular night, you always stay aggressive."
This is something this bunch of Tigers lacks. That doesn't mean they cannot develop it, nor does it mean that they have an inability to possess such a thing. But the fact remains that the same aggressive, winning mentality should apply to Duke, Illinois, ECU, Furman, whomever.
I'ts not about niceties. It's not about friendship and camaraderie outside the team. It's about winning. That's it. That is what these Tigers are learning to do, but still have work to do.
Up next, two home games against CofC on 12/19 and Western Carolina on 12/22 Christmas/winter break, then a homestand conclusion against SC State on 12/29 before a brief new year's celebration and off to Durham for the Gamenight showdown against Duke.
I can't wait.