Clemson is aiming to win back-to-back games for the first time since December when the Tigers host Wake Forest on Sunday at noon.
The Tigers are working to continue to climb out of a hole that they put themselves into thanks to a 1-5 start in ACC play. A win against the Demon Deacons would improve Clemson to 13-8 (3-5) as the Tigers continue to work toward an NCAA tournament berth after reaching the Sweet 16 a year ago.
“We just need some positive momentum and obviously we know we’re going to head back out on the road next week (at Georgia Tech). It’s been nice to just kind of have a week to be in Clemson, sleep in our own beds and kind of try to get right again,” Tigers coach Brad Brownell said Friday. “Obviously we know we need to play well on Sunday and if we could play well and win another game that’d be good in terms of building us back.”
After starting out with a tough six-game stretch in ACC play that included games at Duke, at Syracuse, at Florida State, at N.C. State and against Virginia, the schedule is getting easier.
Clemson hosted Pitt on Tuesday and dominated the Panthers, jumping to a 51-23 halftime lead on its way to an 82-69 victory. Clemson now hosts a Wake Forest squad that is 8-12 (1-7) before traveling to Georgia Tech 11-10 (3-5) next Wednesday.
Clemson guard Shelton Mitchell believes the Tigers have plenty of time to turn their season around.
“We have 11 games, plus the ACC tournament and stuff like that. It’s a lot of time left,” Mitchell said. “A lot of things can happen in 11 games. If we go on a streak and get incredibly hot our start is basically forgotten about. We can’t really dwell on it. Nobody feels sorry for us. We don’t feel sorry for ourselves. We just have to move forward and try to do the best we can.”
In order to continue to make strides the Tigers will need Mitchell and leading scorer Marcquise Reed to continue to play well. The two combined for 40 points on 13 of 19 shooting against the Panthers.
“I think that’s probably when we’re playing our best is when those two guys are both playing at a high level,” Brownell said. “That’s what happened in the Pitt game. Those two guys played great and obviously if we get Elijah (Thomas) going too at the same time, we’ve got that inside-outside game that makes you really hard to play against. But those two guys playing well together, that’s what we need to play at our highest level.”
Who: Wake Forest (8-12, 1-7 ACC) at Clemson (12-8, 2-5)
When: Noon Sunday
Where: Littlejohn Coliseum
Stream online: Watch ESPN
Radio: 1400 AM in Columbia area, 105.5 in Clemson