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Something New In Tiger Town

We’re seeing something we don’t usually see at Clemson - competence.

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NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Clemson
Jan 30, 2018; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers guard Marcquise Reed (2) shoots a free throw during the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Littlejohn Coliseum. Tigers won 82-76. 
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Last season was the fourth straight in which Clemson improved its foul shooting accuracy. Brad Brownell’s squad finished just a shade behind Notre Dame (.758), which paced the ACC for the second year in a row.

As recently as the 2007 season the Tigers made a mere 57.8 percent of their attempts from the free throw line. During Oliver Purnell’s era as Clemson coach (2004-10), foul shooting often killed the Tigers in close games.

When asked what he could do to boost his teams’ acuity at the line, Purnell confided a need to recruit better shooters rather than try to polish athletic but relatively raw players.

Brad Brownell appears to have made that transition. Four of the seven most accurate foul shooting squads in Clemson’s ACC history have played in the past five years. What’s more, two of the league’s top 10 players converting at the line in 2018, Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell, return in ‘19 for the Tigers

True, while we tend to think of effective free throw shooting as key to having a successful club, that’s not so much the case at Clemson. Of those seven best Tiger units at the line in ACC history, only Brownell’s 2014 and 2018 teams did well. In fact they’re the only ones that won more than 17 games.

Clemson has lost fewer than 10 games only twice over the last 30 years. On neither of those occasions (1990, 2009) did the squad make a respectable 70 percent of its foul shots.

Best Team Free Throw Shooting
In Season By Clemson
FT% Season Record
.755 2018 25-10
.744 2014 23-13
.734 1982 14-14
.732 1957 7-17
.731 2017 17-16
.725 1974 14-13
.723 2016 17-14

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