After being pushed to overtime by Drake on Saturday before eventually pulling away for a 90-80 victory, Clemson faces a similar opponent on Tuesday night when it plays host to Miami (Ohio).
“Most people don’t know who Drake is, but we knew,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “It was a very good win against a very good team on a neutral court.
“Next we’ve got a very good Miami (Ohio) team, then we’ve got our rival (South Carolina) over the weekend. We don’t get to take a breath.”
Saturday’s victory helped erase a bad taste lingering from Clemson’s last-minute collapse at Miami in the Tigers’ Atlantic Coast Conference opener.
“We were very disappointed with how we finished the game against Miami,” Brownell said. “We needed a win.”
The Drake win came in large part thanks to PJ Hall, who matched his career high with 22 points for the third time this season. He also grabbed a career-best 13 rebounds en route to his first career double-double.
Hall leads Clemson (6-4) in scoring at 14.7 points per game. Four other Tigers score in double figures.
“I like this team,” Brownell said. “I’m proud of these guys. I think we’re a team that’s going to continue to get better. The games just keep coming. You’ve just got to put your head down.”
The same holds true for Miami (5-3), which after a 5-0 start has lost three straight, including back-to-back one-point losses against Cincinnati and Indiana State.
The Redhawks led Indiana State by nine points with 13:02 remaining.
“It’s something we have to learn from and when we’re in this position again we definitely have to finish it off,” Miami coach Jack Owens said.
Mekhi Lairy, who had 18 points in the loss, is the Redhawks’ second-leading scorer at 14.8 points per game.
“He’s a good player — an all-conference kind of guy,” Owens said. “We just need that kind of effort from him every night. Hopefully he’ll continue to build off of it.”
Clemson and Miami (Ohio) have met only once previously, with the Tigers claiming a 68-56 victory in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in 1997.
–Field Level Media