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Clemson finds cure for 3-point shooting woes vs. Tech

CLEMSON, S.C.

When Virginia Tech allows a lot of 3-pointers, the Hokies tend to lose.

Clemson made 10 3-pointers Sunday.

The Tigers (11-8, 3-4 ACC) entered the game ranked last in the conference with an average of just five 3-pointers per game. But they had that many in the first half Sunday on the way to a 77-70 victory.

"They had a lot of wide-open 3s.... When you give people good looks, anyone in college basketball in Division I is going to shoot that and make it," said Tech guard Erick Green, who had 25 points and five assists.

It was the seventh time this season that Tech (11-8, 2-4) surrendered at least 10 3-pointers. Tech has allowed at least 10 3-pointers in six of its eight defeats.

Why is defending the 3-pointer such a problem for the Hokies this season?

"I have no idea," Green said. "Before every game, it feels like every team can't really shoot the ball that well. Then they play us, they shoot the ball really well. I don't get it."

"They got the same looks against other teams and they haven't knocked those shots down," coach James Johnson said. "It seems like it's, 'Get well against the Hokies.' "

Clemson entered the game ranked 10th in the ACC in 3-point field-goal percentage, but was 10 of 21 from 3-point territory against the Hokies' zone defense.

"We moved the ball pretty good, so we got a lot of open looks," said Clemson guard Damarcus Harrison, who had three 3-pointers and 19 points. "It was all in rhythm and we knocked them down."

Clemson won even though its best player, center Devin Booker, was 0 of 3 from the field.

Johnson said he didn't think the Hokies could guard Clemson's post players, so he opted for a zone to force the Tigers to "do something that they can't do" - shoot from the outside.

Turns out, the Tigers could do it.

Clemson scored more than 66 points for the first time in ACC play this season. It entered the game ranked 11th in the ACC in scoring offense (63.6 ppg), but the Hokies entered the game ranked last in the ACC in scoring defense (74.1 ppg).

Tigers forward Milton Jennings had 28 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. He was 16 of 18 from the free-throw line, the most free throws made by a Tiger since 1969.

Jennings made 1 of 2 free throws to give Clemson the lead for good at 61-60. Harrison buried a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 64-60.

C.J. Barksdale scored to cut the lead to 64-62, but Jennings answered with a jumper. After a block by McDaniels, Jennings made two free throws for a 68-62 cushion with 1:26 to go.

The Tigers blocked nine shots. The Hokies shot a season-low 35 percent from the field.

Posted to: College Basketball Sports

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