Clemson broke out purple uniforms for its road game at sixth-ranked Louisville, Saturday, but the Tigers left the KFC Yum Center with a case of the blues after hitting just 34% of their shots in an 80-62 loss.
Louisville clearly had a plan to slow Aamir Simms as the Clemson center scored just four points on 1 of 7 shooting. Simms failed to reach double figures for the second game in a row after scoring 21, 17, 20, 25 and 18 points in his previous five games.
Simms wasn’t the only Tiger having trouble finding his rhythm against the Cardinals. John Newman III, Curran Scott and Tevin Mack shot a combined 7 of 27 from the floor and 2 of 16 from the 3-point line. Clyde Trapp, the only Tiger in double figures with 11, led Clemson in scoring for the first time this season.
Louisville (17-3, 8-1 ACC) seized control quickly and rode a 20-0 run to a 31-9 lead. The Cardinals shot 65% in the first half and the Tigers faced a 21-point deficit at intermission. It’s Louisville’s best start in conference play since joining the ACC for the 2014-15 season.
Brad Brownell credited Louisville’s athleticism, “We couldn’t match Louisville’s physicality or speed. We were a half-step too slow. Louisville played with so much confidence in the first half, and we couldn’t do anything to slow them down. We got composed in the locker room at halftime and played better in the second half, but Louisville was clearly ready to play and played at a really high level for the first 20 minutes.”
The loss leaves Clemson a game over .500 at 10-9 and 4-5 in ACC play. The Tigers will try to even its conference record when they play host to Syracuse at 7 p.m., Tuesday.