Clemson was forced to pause its season due to COVID protocols following a last-second 74-72 victory over Georgia Tech, Feb. 12. It was their third straight win. Twelve days later, the Tigers picked up right where they left off with a dominating 60-39 triumph at Wake Forest. Clemson’s defense was rested and ready, limiting the Demon Deacons to 25% shooting.
Alex Hemenway led the Tigers with a career-high 17 points, hitting on five of his six 3-point attempts. Senior Aamir Simms posted another double-double and his efforts weren’t lost on head coach Brad Brownell, “I think he had 13 points, 10 rebounds and a couple of assists. That’s about half of what he contributed. His defense, leadership, that counts for a lot. He’s an extremely valuable player.”
The first time Clemson (14-5, 8-5) dealt with a COVID pause, they didn’t respond well in the first game back, an 85-50 loss to Virginia. This time around, Brownell ramped up the intensity in the practices leading up to the game and his team repaid him and the fans with a much better effort.
Brownell said, “Super pleased with the way we guarded. The last time we were in pause we didn’t do a good job defensively when we came back. This time, my concern was that we may have worked them too hard, but they had plenty of juice …. It helped having gone through the pause once before.”
Clemson will look to run its winning streak to five when it plays host to Miami at 2 p.m., Saturday. The Tigers are 11-1 at Littlejohn Coliseum and beat the Hurricanes 66-65 in their first meeting.