Notre Dame-Clemson Preview

BY foxsports • February 9, 2015

Notre Dame is looking to regain its elite offensive form following its worst defeat in 16 years, though coach Mike Brey understands that won't be easy against defensive-minded Clemson.

Making their first-ever trip to Clemson, the 10th-ranked Fighting Irish will try to avoid a third straight road loss Tuesday night when the Tigers seek their eighth win in 10 home games.

After shooting 51.8 percent in a 77-73 home win over No. 4 Duke on Jan. 28, Notre Dame (21-4, 9-3 ACC) struggled with a 39.7 percentage - its second-lowest in 2014-15 - in Saturday's 90-60 loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Fighting Irish, who suffered their worst defeat since falling 93-62 to Villanova on Jan. 7, 1999, shot a season-low 33.9 percent in a 62-56 home defeat to Virginia on Jan. 10. The conference-leading Cavaliers lead Notre Dame by two games in the loss column.

"We'll move on quickly," said Brey, whose team ranks second nationally with a 51.5 field-goal percentage. "We'll tear up the stat sheet and throw the video away."

Jerian Grant, Pat Connaughton and Zach Auguste totaled 16 points on 6-of-19 shooting after entering Saturday with a combined 44.5 per game. Grant, in the ACC's top five with 16.8 points per game, missed 7 of 10 shots after he had averaged 20.0 on 53.5 percent shooting over his previous six.

"I would hope and I would think - given the leaders I have and the leaders of this group - that they'll bounce back in another tough place to play against a team that can guard us really just as well," Brey said. "We have a big challenge at Clemson. Clemson is slowly becoming an NCAA tournament team. They've been off the radar, but they're sneaking up on everybody."

The Tigers (14-9, 6-5) have allowed teams to shoot an ACC-low 38.3 percent and rank second with an average of 58.7 points allowed in league games. They held an opponent below 40 percent shooting for the fifth straight game Sunday - their longest such streak since at least 1964.

Clemson, however, missed its final 12 shots and finished at 32.8 percent in a 56-45 loss at Miami that snapped a four-game winning streak.

Donte Grantham and Jordan Roper were the only players to score in double figures with 10 apiece, while leading scorer Jaron Blossomgame took five shots and had six points.

''We didn't play as well as we've been playing the last few times,'' said coach Brad Brownell, whose squad shoots a league-worst 40.9 percent. ''They played better than we did. We didn't play very well offensively.''

The Tigers hope to regroup by dealing Notre Dame its first back-to-back losses of the season. The Irish have allowed 59.6 percent shooting - including 13 of 23 from 3-point range - in their last two road defeats.

Notre Dame's Steve Vasturia has totaled 32 points while hitting six 3s in his last two games. The sophomore guard hit two 3-pointers in the second overtime to key a 68-64 home win over Clemson last February.

With Grant academically ineligible, Connaughton and Auguste teamed for 27 points and 19 rebounds in that first-ever meeting between the programs.

Since upsetting then-No. 18 Arkansas 68-65 in overtime Dec. 7, the Tigers have dropped their last three against ranked opponents by an average of 17.7 points.


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