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Syracuse’s next opponent: What to know about Clemson

September 16, 2020

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse (19-11, 10-7 Atlantic Coast) enters its final game of the regular season looking to lock up the sixth seed in the ACC tournament. SU’s opposition, Clemson (18-12, 8-9), is coming off a Wednesday win over Notre Dame. Here’s what to know about Clemson before Saturday’s tip-off at noon.All-time series: Syracuse and Clemson are tied, 4-4Last time they played: The Orange hosted the Tigers on Jan. 9 in the Carrier Dome and won, 61-53. SU never trailed in the game and relied on a balanced offensive attack to pull out its second ACC win. Four Syracuse players scored in double figures: Elijah Hughes (14 points), Tyus Battle (12), Frank Howard (12) and Marek Dolezaj (10). Oshae Brissett added nine points to the mix as well. Clemson’s two veteran leaders, Marcquise Reed and Elijah Thomas, were the only Tigers to finish in double-figures. They struggled as a team to make perimeter shots, finishing just 5-of-20 from beyond the arc.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Clemson report: Like against Syracuse in January, Reed and Thomas will do the heavy lifting for the Tigers. The 6-foot-3 Reed scores 19.3 points a game and grabs over two steals per game. The 6-foot-9 Thomas adds around 13 points to go with a team-leading 7.9 rebounds. They’re joined in double figure averages by guard Shelton Mitchell. Clemson’s defense is the 10th-most efficient in the country, per Kenpom.com. While the Tigers aren’t effective at limiting 3-point success, they shut down teams inside the arc. Clemson opponents shoot 44.2 percent from 2-point range, six percent better than the national average, per Kenpom.com. Quick guards limit opportunities to penetrate while Thomas and Simms prevent easy chances at the rim. How Syracuse beats Clemson: Win the defensive battle. The first matchup between these teams combined for just 114 points. Both SU and Clemson hang their hats on their defenses. If the Tigers’ defense is going to allow 60 points to the Orange, they’ll have to put on an even better defensive performance to make that hold up.In addition, Syracuse needs the player who gets the hottest on its side. In a game where points are at a premium, the Orange can’t afford to allow Reed to get going. Instead, someone like Battle or Hughes will need to take over the game from the start, because one dominant player can win an otherwise defensive battle.Stats to know:  2.2 and 2.1— Elijah Thomas’ blocks per game (third in the ACC) and Marcquise Reed’s steals per game (second in the ACC behind Zion Williamson), respectively.KenPom odds: Syracuse is projected to lose, 66-61, with a 34 percent chance to win.Player to know: Marcquise Reed, senior guard, No. 2When Reed transferred to Clemson from Robert Morris, the Tigers weren’t a good program. Now a senior, though, Reed has led a renaissance of Tigers basketball. He can shoot it from deep and work inside while distributing. And he can hound opposing ball handlers. While there’s a possibility Syracuse faces Clemson in the postseason, this could be the last time the Orange have to deal with Reed. He’s averaged more than 15 points per game in his career against SU’s 2-3 zone, and for the Orange to end the regular season with a win, they’ll have to slow down the senior.center_img Published on March 8, 2019 at 1:24 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3last_img

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