GAME NOTES: The Clemson Tigers will attempt to win their third straight game on Saturday afternoon, as they tangle with Atlantic Coast Conference rival the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Wake Forest had lost three of its previous four games prior to Wednesday night's contest versus NC State, which it won in dramatic, last-second fashion, 70-69. The win allowed the Deacons to improve to 12-5 overall, although they have suffered away from home with losses in all three true road games.
After claiming an outstanding home win over nationally-ranked Duke last Saturday afternoon (72-59), Clemson ventured out on the road on Wednesday night and came away with another strong victory, taking down Virginia Tech, 56-49. The Tigers have used their excellent record at Littlejohn Coliseum (8-1) to propel them to a 12-4 overall ledger.
Clemson has defeated Wake Forest on four straight occasions to extend its lead in the all-time series to 98-56.
After it fell behind NC State by one with 10 seconds to go following a pair of free throws, Wake Forest concluded the dramatic game on the other end of the court when Codi-Miller McIntyre connected on the game-winning layup with four seconds to play. The bucket capped off an impressive night for the home team, which shot a lofty 54.3 percent from the field and drained 28-of-39 from the free-throw line. Miller-McIntyre led the way with 20 points, while Arnaud Adala Moto tallied a double-double off the bench with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Devin Thomas and Travis McKie rounded out the impressive effort with 16 and 10 points, respectively.
On the season, the Deacons outshoot their opponents from the field, 44.7 percent to 40.6 percent, for a +4.8 scoring margin. Miller-McIntyre scores a team-high 15.8 ppg and has nearly twice as many assists (65) as turnovers (36). Thomas (11.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg) serves as an anchor down low, while Coron Williams (9.8 ppg), McKie (9.6 ppg) and Tyler Cavanaugh (8.9 ppg) also pitch in regularly.
The Tigers trailed Virginia Tech early in the second half but played lock-down defense down the stretch as they came back for the seven-point victory. They shot a modest 40.4 percent from the field and were able to take advantage of VT's awful night at the free-throw line (4-of-14). K.J. McDaniels poured in 14 points to lead all scorers, while Rod Hall helped out as well with 11 points.
Clemson has ridden its defense to success all season long, as its field goal percentage defense (.362) and scoring defense (53.6 ppg) both rank as the nation's best. It's a good thing too, because its performance on the offensive end of the floor has been lackluster, as it shoots just 43 percent from the field for 66.3 ppg. McDaniels is the spark plug on both ends, tallying 16.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.8 bpg and 1.2 spg, all while shooting well from beyond the arc (21-of-58) and the charity stripe (64-of-74). Hall brings 10.5 ppg to the table on just shy of 50 percent field-goal shooting.
With Wake Forest's poor play on the road and Clemson's stout defense going up in front of its home crowd, expect the Tigers to take care of business in this one.
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