ACC Basketball Tournament: Round Two Running Diary, FSU/Clemson

Update 2:38 PM FSU advances to play #1 seed UVA tomorrow at noon, beating Clemson 76-73.

  • Kiel Turpin assaulted Rod Hall on a drive to the basket. Wild layup attempt and no call. Hall to the pine. It’s crunch-time. Without him Clemson is rudder-less. He’s the only guy who runs the team.
  • An FSU fan screamed “That was a damn foul”  so loud on that last FSU trip. I don’t know where it came from but it was startlingly impressive.
  • Blossomgame with a twisting move narrowly misses the opportunity for the 3-pt play to cut the Seminole lead to 10. But he will shoot two. He’s been a wallflower. Just 5 FG attempts. Took him til the 2:09 mark to get to double figures.
  • Clemson lucks out and fouls Kiel Turpin, who will walk the FT gauntlet here. He is not a good FT shooter, and misses both. FSU has now missed 3 in a row.
  • The Clemson press forces an FSU turnover, as XRM fumbles the inbounds pass. Clemson has cut a Seminole lead that was 20 to 8.
  • But XRM takes a turnover the other way for a layup.
  • Clemson answers with a 3 from DeVoe. They quickly fouled Brandon and he has converted both. FSU goes up 12 with 1:10 to play.
  • Hall hits a three, the FSU lead is cut to 9 with 1:01 to play. Clemson down to their final TO, as they talk it over and set up their press again.
  • Refs go to video to see who gets possession after inbounds pass went off two players like the Immaculate Reception pass (see Franco Harris, wikipedia if you’ve been in a cave for 20 years).
  • A bad TO by FSU. Clemson’s Hall misses a runner. Cofer rebounds and hits one of two FTs.
  • Harrison of Clemson hits a three, its 74-69!
  • Oh wow Cofer slipped on the inbounds and fumbled right under the basket (it looked like it bounced out bounds first). Blossomgame converted a two right there. I think it gets waved off.
  • That’s a bad call. The refs counted the basket after the review. Should be 74-71. Instead, Clemson gets a reprieve. Clemson fouls XRM who hits 1 of 2 and he now has 30 pts.
  • And Boris Bojanovsky fouls Rod Hall after Rod outworked him with the pivot foot. and Hall cuts the lead to two with 25.2 left! Hamilton calls timeout with 24.6 seconds left.
  • Both games yesterday were decided by 1 point, why should today be any different?!
  • Wow, Rod Hall hit the ball and bounced it off of Bookert’s face. And the GMan stating the obvious, that FSU keeps trying to give it the guard too close to their own baseline. That’s the third TO of its’ kind during this Clemson comeback. FSU is expecting to be fouled upon catching, and they are trying to catch it and leaving too much to chance.
  • Rod Hall kept that and went all the way to his spot, and missed the floater. His second such miss in as many minutes. He doesn’t have the legs IMO. He’s played a lot of minutes. XRM is working him and his partner at the other end. He’s played as well as I thought Rod Hall can play. Unfortunately he’s had the blinders on a bit as pertains to integrating Blossomgame.
  • FSU’s Cofer only makes 1 of 2 FTs again! That makes them 21-29 from the stripe, they didn’t really start missing them until the 20 pt lead began to erode. Clemson’s accuracy at 14-16 is a tad surprising, but being down 3, with 7.2 seconds to play, it’s been huge for them.
  • Clemson is on a 36-19 run, and actually leads the second half 47-43.
  • Devoe got the final look for Clemson unfortunately and missed the game tying three.
  • Cofer had 10 and 7, Montay Brandon supported XRM’s 30 with 15 of his own, and it was a nice 1-2 punch.
  • Hall had 25 for Clemson and Blossomgame hit for his average exactly. It was a sloppy game down the stretch, and the kind that Clemson steals. FSU was fortunate to escape today.
  • And here is Be Like Mike #2. FSU 76 Clemson 73. That makes 3 ACC games decided by five points. And we have three more today. We have a new post on the BC/UNC game coming. Hope you enjoyed.

–Chuck Workman

OH, so now Ethan shows up……2:05PM

Not surprised to see Clemson getting blown out by Florida State. The Tigers had trouble earlier in the year, losing to Winthrop and barely surviving High Point at home. Haven’t looked good at all. Florida State looks far and away the better team and the results are showing on the scoreboard.


–Ethan Winter

Update 2:02 PM

  • Ask and ye shall receive. I suggested more pressing and that is what Clemson has opted to do. FSU quickly breaks it and gets a dunk by Bojanovsky.
  • XRM picks up his third fouling Rod Hall as Clemson has cut a 20 pt lead to 14.
  • And Montay Brandon gets a fifth foul on Landry Nnoko and he has gone to the bench, fouling out and taking Clemson’s hopes for defending FSU with him. It’s a 3 pt play for Brandon.
  • Hall going back at Mayes a little with some success. He has 15. XRM simply more athletic.
  • FSU getting called for 5 seconds, silly. Then they foul Rod Hall and he converts the 3 pt play.
  • Clemson down 12, and Clemson supporters getting loud, but XRM quiets them with another foray straight to the basket past Hall and the FSU bigs. 27 pts for XRM.
  • Hamilton calls a TO with 4:31 up 14. Why? You have one coming up next whistle, don’t you? These are the kind of decisions that led to the Wizards going 19-63 in his maiden voyage through the NBA.
  • Turpin gets called for an offensive foul I couldn’t quite see even on replay. As we enter the under 4 with ‘Noles still up 14. FSU 66 Clemson 52.

–Chuck Workman

Update 1:48PM 

  • FSU’s Smith hits his 8th three of the year. He’s not been a particularly big part of the FSU attack this year. Playing a little more lately. FSU up 16.
  • Clemson is shooting 36%. FSU is 7-of-15 from three.
  • And XRM has 25 now, after 2 FTS and a take to the strong side past a flat-footed Rod Hall.
  • TO Clemson with the Tigers down 20. 57-37.
  • Clemson with an ill-advised three that falls. Devoe…..cuts it to 57-40.
  • That is four fouls for Landry Nnoko on a strong take to the hole by Brandon and we reach the under-eight TO, with FSU continuing to build on their lead.

–Chuck Workman



Update 1:38 PM

  • Blossomgame knocks down FTs. He now has six. Quiet, quiet game, while FSU freshman Cofer has been more active.
  • No Kennedy Meeks today for UNC. FYI. Per Debbie Antonelli.
  • Bojanovsky took a dive for FSU when Nnoko shook him off, refs looking to see if they can charge Nnoko with a Flagrant. It’s his 3rd foul anyway.
  • Clemson has no semblance of a halfcourt offense. Reminiscent of Seth Greenberg’s VT clubs. Just no discernible plan. No reliable fallbacks. Only way to win is grind and force some TOs. More pressing.
  • And they did give Landry N a Flagrant 1…..that’s patently unfair. I hope they reverse it later somehow.
  • Boris converts the FT for FSU. But justice, as they lost the possession on a TO.
  • FSU with another TO….we’re never gonna get to the under 12. And I need to break the seal….just kidding, but no really though.
  • Another 3 for XRM from the left wing, that J is looking more and more NBA ready to me. If he improves on this year as I expect, that’s a lottery pick. He has 21 now as we finally reach the Under 12 TO with FSU comfortably ahead 50-37.

–Chuck Workman

Update 1:23 PM

  • There’s a reason the GMan ignored your comment on the airball being an assist, Tim. Retire it.
  • Cofer with a quiet 7 on 3-of-4, and great rim protection, keeping Blossomgame down on D as well.
  • Clemson PG Rod Hall spends entirely too much dribbling. I don’t know why the Tigers are allergic to crisp ball movement.
  • And Brando, to his credit, mentions that Brownell is IMPLORING his team to move without the ball. Too many guys out on the arc. The UVA pack line didn’t even have to observe its normal methodology against Clemson when I saw that game between the two earlier this year.
  • If you give XRM a look at it, with 2 feet of space he’s good from up to 25. His father Theron played back in the George McCloud days back in the 1980s under Pat Kennedy, when VT was still in the Metro conference with Louisville, Memphis St, and Cincinnati, Southern Miss. Halcyon days of college basketball.
  • And Brownell has seen enough, XRM has 18 now. Is he gonna try for Olivier Hanlan’s 41 point record (points by a FR)? If Clemson keeps letting him do that, he’s fittin ta torch them. FSU goes back up 11.

–Chuck Workman

During Halftime: That’s a really blue dress Debbie Antonelli.

Updated 12:57 HALFTIME

  • XRM with 12 points to lead the ‘Noles, Landry Nnoko with his two minute rampage has six to lead the Tigers.
  • Gabe Devoe has had numerous touches, but they’ve all led to TOs or misses. Finally converts his first bucket.
  • Horrible foul by Clemson on the offensive rebound, the Clemson player Josh Smith threw his body at Brandon and didn’t try to hold his arms. Brandon converts the 3 pt play.
  • Another TO by Clemson, another TO by Devoe. Clemson with seven TOs now.
  • FSU 33-26 at the half.

Updated 12:51

  • OK, yeah, GMan: “Clemson will try to get it up early in the clock”. Well, then that’s why they have 3 possessions end because the shot clock caused a hasty turnover or them not to get a shot, and we are only 12 minutes old, right? Sometimes folks #awfulannouncing
  • And Tim Brando just agrees with whatever he says. I’m disappointed.
  • And FSU scores ten straight, and Brownell will take a twenty to talk it over. 25-16 Noles.
  • FSU won an ACC tournament? That is completely scrubbed from my mind somehow.
  • Tigers have a four on one break, and opt to shoot a three. This is……not their strength.
  • Rod Hall breaks the Clemson scoring drought with 2 FTs.
  • Clemson just 6-for-20 from the floor.
  • Now the wrestling has begun, whistles coming more frequently. Landry Nnoko playing frustrated, he has several big men on FSU to contend with, there are always two on the floor.
  • Nnoko bullying FSU’s Boris Bojanovsky, gets an easy layup. Leonard Hamilton thinks Clemson’s four point outburst is worth a twenty second TO. FSU 25-20.
  • Nnoko again with a nice duck in move to get the deuce. Clemson fighting back, led by their D, as it should be. This is the game we predicted. And Nnoko with the last six points on a monster rebound-slam. 27-24.
  • XRM with a way too easy three from the left corner after a nice pin down screen. FSU back up six. 30-24
  • And we finally get to the under 4 TO at 1:31 remaining.
  • And the first Gatorade “if I could be like Mike” commercial is on. Only 11 hours to go. Wish I could turn my ears off.

–Chuck Workman


Updated 12:37 PM

  • Cofer with a huge block for FSU, elevating impressively and tapping it just enough to keep it in play so FSU could retain possession. The Bill Russell.
  • Kiel Turpin, son of the infamous Dinner Bell Mel Turpin, hits a nice turnaround hook from just outside the left side of the lane. If only we’d seen more of that, he’d be an NBA project. But as a 5th year guy, too little offense to go with the size.
  • FSU has five early blocks to Clemson’s zero, but only leads by three. 19-16.
  • Clemson has a clumsy possession that leads to a deflected FSU ball out of bounds, we go to the under 8 TO, with just 3 total fouls. The refs once again allowing games to flow. Seems like since Karl Hess was let go, we’ve had a fairly conflict-free finish to the season.
  • Clemson will have just 1 second to get a shot up after the break.

–Chuck Workman

Updated 12:28 PM

  • Gminski with a subtle jab at XRM’s shooting volume, as the FSU frosh has set several school records for a FR, in terms of points, FG makes, attempts, the whole gamut. G-man said he might have taken that many shots one time alone practicing at Cameron Indoor Stadium. That’s Bill Walton-esque in terms of hyperbole. I firmly remember the GMan struggling on some 80s Nets squads and early 90s Sixers squads, and serving as the team’s black hole (aka the ball goes in to the post but it never comes out.)
  • Huh? They just said Clemson would try to get shots up early as possible in the shot clock and that it not what their offensive metrics or pace factor indicates. GMan is all over the place.
  • Lesson: Don’t get the ball to Landry Nnoko anywhere but the restricted area, where it could result in a dunk or lay-in. Horrible footwork.
  • FSU scores, was almost on a 4 minute scoring drought. Clemson had said they’d commit extra help to XRM, but he went for his 2nd layup. He has seven. Phil Cofer with the other two FSU baskets, remember I said he’d be the potential difference-maker today.
  • Blossomgame and Cofer head-to-head. If Cofer keeps his plus/minus respectable or wins that battle, FSU wins.
  • XRM converts in the paint and gets fouled as we go into the under 12 TO tied at 13. Chance for FSU to go on top out of the break.

–Chuck Workman

Updated 12:16 PM

  • Rathan-Mayes buries a long three from the right wing to start off the scoring.
  • Then gets an easy layup.
  • Blossomgame with 2 FTs for Clemson
  • Bookert picked up the foul. FSU bench cannot compensate for him. Robbie Berwick would play and he has had a couple big games, but several with ZERO production.
  • FSU up 7-6 at the under 16 TO

–Chuck Workman

11:45 AM Wednesday

  • This is the #8 vs the #9 seed game. Winner to play UVA tomorrow at noon.
  • Both Clemson and FSU are looking to survive and advance. Neither has an NCAA tournament resume, but an NIT bid could be on the line with a simple win today. Clemson has an RPI sitting around 95 depending on who you go to for RPI updates. A win would virtually ensure that their resume was stout enough. Right now they are on the fringes of an NIT invitation.
  • FSU’s win against Pittsburgh in the finale at least gives them an outside shot at an NIT bid with a win today, and an upset win against #1 seed UVA tomorrow. UVA is still without start Justin Anderson, and crazier things have happened on a neutral court. I personally think the FSU RPI of 117 is not sufficient at this point, and it would require knocking UVA off to jump into that conversation.
  • Neither team wants this game to get out of the 50s, but Florida State would be the more “showtime” of the two teams. They rely heavily on their backcourt to make threes. Devin Bookert, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, the two guards are guards who can score in nice stretches; you may recall XRM’s Miami performance when he dropped 30 in the final 5 minutes. They have a pair of stumbling big men, but the big wing is adequately manned by Montay Brandon and freshman Phil Cofer, who I think is the player to watch this afternoon.
  • Clemson protects the rim. Foul or block, but no layup. And they shorten the game by stretching possessions. Clemson eased through the first ten games of the ACC schedule at 6-4, but faced with a tougher schedule down the stretch, faded to a 2-6 finish and a losing league record.
  • Coach Brownell relies on long possessions that result in one opportunity, because he only commits one man to the offensive boards. The rest are instructed to get back. And Clemson ranks highly in a number of defensive metrics. Clemson, under Brownell, has developed an identity as a grinding team. Sometimes they can just remain more patient than the opponent and grind out an ugly win.
  • Jaron Blossomgame is going to need to get it done on the offensive end, and he has led Clemson this year with nine double-doubles in doing an admirable job of replacing KJ McDaniels. They also need to find one additional contributor. Who will it be today? If they struggle to find one more guy who can get them 15 today, FSU will likely win.
  • XRM led the ‘Noles to a road win @ Clemson with a 17 pt 9 assist game, and Clemson’s trio of Blossomgame, Donte Grantham, and Jordan Roper led Clemson to their revenge in Tallahassee.
  • I expect a 57-54 finish. I just can’t tell you who it will be. I just know that whoever it is will struggle to put 40 on the Cavs tomorrow.

–Chuck Workman

Stay with us the rest of the day here at ITA as we give you a running recap that’s just seconds behind the action.

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