Clemson and Florida State both enter their Atlantic Coast Conference matchup on Sunday seeking to bounce back from losses in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge earlier this week.
Florida State (7-2, 0-1 ACC) lost 80-64 at Indiana on Tuesday, one night after Clemson (5-3, 0-1) was soundly defeated 78-60 at Minnesota.
For the Seminoles, it was their first defeat in over a month. After falling at Pittsburgh 63-61 in their season opener, the Seminoles reeled off seven wins in a row before losing to the Hoosiers. The Tuesday game was close with around 10 minutes to go and Indiana holding a three-point lead, but Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton was whistled for a controversial technical foul for arguing a call, and the Seminoles never recovered.
“I got a technical because I gave a gesture, I thought it was pretty quick,” Hamilton said after the game. “I’d like to earn my technical. I didn’t get my money’s worth on that one. At least I need to say something or do something, but I didn’t get a chance to earn that one. I thank God he only missed one of the free throws, so it didn’t cost us a point. But on the serious side …”
Guard Trent Forrest led the Seminoles with 13 points while fellow guards M.J. Walker and Devin Vassell added 10 points apiece.
Through nine games, this same trio is leading Florida State in scoring, paced by Forrest at 12.4 points per game, Vassell at 12.2 ppg and Walker at 10.2 ppg. Forward Malik Osborne tops the Seminoles in rebounding at 5.4 boards a game.
When Clemson invades Tallahassee on Sunday, the Tigers will be looking to snap a two-game skid. Before the loss to Minnesota, Clemson fell to Colorado 71-67 six days earlier in Las Vegas.
“We were just on our heels offensively,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said following the defeat to the Golden Gophers. “Maybe it was ‘first road-game jitters.’ It took us a long time to get a comfortable feeling in the game.
“They played the ball screen well. Having a shot blocker and length at the rim helped them. We didn’t get many kick-out threes. We weren’t able to get in transition with the way they were playing. Our bench guys gave us a big lift. Curran Scott, Hunter Tyson and Khavon Moore all played well. They were eager and excited and got off to great starts.”
Tyson led the Tigers in scoring with 12 points, and Tevin Mack, Aamir Simms and John Newman III have all paced Clemson in scoring so far early in the season. Mack is averaging a team-best 13.8 points a game, followed by Simms at 11.8 ppg and Newman at 10.8 ppg. Simms also leads the team in rebounds, averaging 8.5 boards a game.
Florida State is unbeaten at home this season at 4-0. Clemson and Florida State played each other twice last season, with the Seminoles winning both meetings.
Following the Sunday game, Florida State players will get an eight-day break for final exams before the team hosts North Florida on Dec. 17. Clemson, meanwhile, will get a six-day break before returning to the hardwood at home Dec. 15 to face in-state rival South Carolina.
–Field Level Media