Double Bonus: Clemson

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Joe Harris and the Hoos struggled with offense on the road.

Two ACC road games. Two ACC road losses. After taking down North Carolina in its league opener, the first week of conference play turned sour in a hurry for the Cavaliers as they lost to Wake Forest and Clemson to round out the week. Against the Tigers, the Virginia men’s basketball team produced just 44 points, the lowest offensive output since a 56-41 loss to Duke on Feb. 16, 2011. What happened to the Hoos in South Carolina? The “Double Bonus” digs into the game.

The Tigers’ Tonic

Clemson and coach Brad Brownell seem to have found a solution to Virginia’s Pack-Line Defense. Fight fire with fire. Since Brownell took over the Tigers’ program, here are the scores of the Virginia-Clemson match-ups: UVa 49-47, UVa 65-61, CU 60-48, and CU 59-44. That’s right, in three of four meetings with the Hoos, Brownell’s Tigers have kept Bennett’s bunch in the 40’s on the scoreboard.

So what’s the secret? Limit free throw attempts, crowd shooters, and force individuals to make plays. In the three games where Virginia finished in the 40’s, here are some statistics to consider:

  • 49-47 UVa: 7-21 3-pointers (33%), 8-11 free throws, 9 assists-15 turnovers
  • 60-48 CU: 3-16 3-pointers (18.8%), 1-1 free throws, 12 assists-18 turnovers
  • 59-44 CU: 5-17 3-pointers (29.4%), 5-8 free throws , 11 assists-12 turnovers

And in the fourth contest:

  • 65-61 UVa: 6-14 3-pointers (42.9%), 11-15 free throws, 15 assists-11 turnovers

Simply put, Clemson contains dribble penetration, closes out heavily on shooters including chasing through screens, and does not foul the Wahoos with any regularity. That puts a lot of pressure on individual Virginia players to create shots for themselves or for others off the dribble, which isn’t a strength of the current roster.

During Saturday’s struggle, Coach Bennett tried a personnel change to try to spark the offense when he went with Jontel Evans , Teven Jones , and Justin Anderson