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Feb 23, 2024 6:53 pm

Clemson on solid run, Florida State needs to pick up pace to close out slate

jamir Watkins

Although Clemson and Florida State are side by side in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings, the two squads are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to potential postseason play.

Nonetheless, the outcome of Saturday’s game in Clemson, S.C., could play a big part in the seeding of this year’s ACC Tournament.

Clemson (18-8, 8-7) comes in as winner in four of its last five games and is currently on the right side of the bubble. Coach Brad Brownell’s team took advantage of an outmatched Georgia Tech squad Wednesday, topping the Yellow Jackets 81-57 thanks to a season-high 14 3-pointers.

“Certainly a terrific win for our team. I thought we played outstanding,” Brownell said. “It always helps when you make shots, and we started the game extremely well.”

Clemson took over early, hitting five of its first six triples and leading 23-9 six minutes in.

Fifth-year guard Chase Hunter tallied 18 points, six rebounds and six assists. Hunter, who got off to a slow start in his career, has asserted himself as one of the top guards in the conference.

“That’s our whole ‘Clemson Grit’ motto,” Brownell said Wednesday. “Continuing to believe in yourself and working through it … I’m proud of him. Tonight he was the best player on the floor.”

Hunter is averaging 12.3 points per game, while PJ Hall leads the team with 19.2 and Joseph Girard III adds 15.5.

Florida State (14-12, 8-7) looks to avoid being swept by Clemson for a second straight year, following its 78-67 home loss to the Tigers on Jan. 20.

Most recently, coach Leonard Hamilton’s team snapped a three-game skid with an 84-76 home win against Boston College on Tuesday.

Jamir Watkins leads the team in scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (5.8) and is tied in assists (2.8). Watkins paced the Seminoles with 22 points and 11 boards on Tuesday.

“(Jamir) never seems to get rattled,” Hamilton said. “He’s always in the moment. He also has the strength and hand-eye coordination that he can take a bump and still finish.”

Despite Florida State’s decent conference record, the Seminoles have suffered losses to Lipscomb and Louisville, and will certainly need a strong finish if they want a chance to appear in the NCAA Tournament.

–Field Level Media

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