Home Postgame: Clemson coach Brad Brownell on loss to Duke

Postgame: Clemson coach Brad Brownell on loss to Duke


Clemson coach Brad Brownell and Tigers guard Shelton Mitchell talk with reporters after the loss to Duke in the 2017 ACC Tournament.


THE MODERATOR: Coach, we’ll take an opening statement from you.

COACH BROWNELL: Congratulations to Duke. I thought those guys really made plays in the second half and just outplayed us.

I thought in the first half, once we kind of got into the game, I thought we played very well, defended them at a good level, but we had a harder time guarding them. I thought we made some mistakes defensively in the second half for sure.

Our guys fought back, now. That’s what we do. We’re a tough team to knock out. Obviously, we missed the layup there, I think that was going to cut it — I don’t know if it was going to cut it to one or two — and that changed the whole game. If he makes the layup, then Duke has to do pressure plays, but they didn’t have to do that because we didn’t make the layup.

Congratulations to Duke. They played very well. Kennard was hard to stop, Frank Jackson and Jayson Tatum, all three of those guys played at a very high level.

Q. You guys had a steal and a layup to start the second half. You’re up two. Then Duke took over the game. Kennard hit a couple of shots —
COACH BROWNELL: I’m not sure they took over the game, but they took the lead. With a minute to go, we missed a layup for one, so…

Q. 11-2 run. They got control of the game, and you came back.

Q. What happened in that?
COACH BROWNELL: They made plays, and I thought we turned it over some. We had a couple of bad defensive possessions. You know, our first three or four minutes of the second half, if you go look at our shots, they’re open. We had two wide open threes in the corner, and we missed them both. Wide open, executed very well by our guys. We just didn’t make them. Unfortunately, one of them, I know for sure, bounced long into a fast break. At some point, that’s what this game boils down to is you’ve got to make shots.

Credit Duke’s defense. I thought they guarded us well. But we had enough opportunities to score better than we did. We played better in transition than we did in the half-court. Again, some of that was because of Duke.

Q. Coach, they seemed to get a handle on your defense in the first half. Were you doing anything different from the first half to the second half on defense?
COACH BROWNELL: You know, not a lot. They just have really good players now. They’re hard to guard. You can’t really guard them with multiple people very often because the next guy’s going to make an open three, and because you have to guard the three-point shot against Duke, it puts you in one-on-one scenarios, and your guys have to be able to guard their guys. If they can do that and make them take challenge shots, you’re going to have a chance to win, and if you can’t do that, you’re probably not going to win.

I thought they made more individual plays. Amile Jefferson made two individual drives and scored. They scored two baskets on underneath, out of bounds plays. We threw a ball and we saved it right to them right for a layup. Jayson Tatum made some very difficult plays. Luke Kennard made some shots.

I just think their players rose to the occasion and made high level shots, and I think that’s what you expect out of high level players.

Q. Shelton, what was different about this game, as opposed to the game in Cameron about a month ago, for you on the floor?
SHELTON MITCHELL: There wasn’t really any difference, to be honest with you. We knew what they were going to do, and we had a similar game plan. But today, just like in Cameron, it didn’t work out.

Q. Coach, between now and Sunday, things are kind of out of your hands, but what are your credentials? How would you sell yourself for selection?
COACH BROWNELL: I find it very difficult to believe that we’re going to make it. Obviously, we had a tremendous nonconference, playing through some injuries. Shelton didn’t play with us in the two losses. Eli Thomas didn’t play with us in the two losses. But unfortunately, in league play, we just didn’t quite get it done.

We won six games. We probably needed to win eight or ten. That’s going to be a bugaboo. That’s obviously why today’s game was so important for our team. If we could have got today’s game, then I think we have a better chance, and then maybe one more.

We’re not worried about that. We’ll see what happens, and if it’s — you know, we play in the NIT, we’ll do our best in that. Obviously, I’m disappointed because I think our team is very close to being an NCAA Tournament team. I think we showed it again today that we can play with just about anybody in the country. You know, we had another great battle with Duke today.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach.



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