Brownell leaned heavily on quick, aggressive, relentless defense, the kind that wears out opponents and leads to easy, fast-break layups. The Tigers got all of that Tuesday night in a 60-44 victory over Wake Forest, their fourth consecutive win in the series.
K.J. McDaniels scored 14 points and had career highs with nine rebounds and seven blocks while Clemson held a second consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference opponent to fewer than 45 points for the first time in school history.
"Before the season started, we wanted to be a team that was known for our defense, not our offense," McDaniels said. "Our offense comes from our defense, honestly."
And Brownell knows all too well that's how Clemson (10-6, 2-2) can contend in the ACC.
"Our players know that where our bread is buttered," the third-year coach said.
The Tigers held the Demon Deacons to their lowest point total this season as McDaniels led an aggressive defensive attack that kept Wake Forest's two leading scorers, C.J. Harris and Travis McKie, to 20 points — 11 points below their combined average coming in. All of Harris' 8 points came in the opening period.
Adonis Filer scored 13 points and Devin Booker added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers. Former Laney standout Rod Hall had five points, seven assists, two rebounds and two assists.
McKie led the Demon Deacons (9-7, 2-2) with 12 points, but struggled against Clemson's inside defense and was just 4-of-13 shooting. Wake Forest shot under 25 percent (15 of 61) and had just three assists.
Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik said his players will have to learn to overcome the strong defenses they'll continue to see in ACC play. "You've got to score and we didn't score," he said.
WISCONSIN 64, NO. 2 INDIANA 59
In Bloomington, Ind., Ryan Evans had 13 points and Traevon Jackson added 11 as Wisconsin (13-4, 4-0) upset Indiana (15-2, 3-1) to take sole possession of the Big Ten lead.
NO. 12 CREIGHTON 79, NORTHERN IOWA 68
In Omaha, Neb., Doug McDermott scored 31 points to lead Creighton (17-1, 6-0 Missouri Valley Conference) past Northern Iowa (9-9, 2-4).
ST. JOHN’S 67, NO. 20 NOTRE DAME 63
In New York, JaKarr Sampson scored 17 points and St. John’s (10-7, 2-3 Big East) handed Notre Dame (14-3, 2-2) its second consecutive loss.
KENTUCKY 75, TENNESSEE 65
In Lexington, Ky., Kyle Wiltjer scored 17 points and Kentucky (11-5, 2-1) avoided back-to-back Southeastern Conference losses by beating Tennessee (8-7, 0-3).
MISSISSIPPI 89, VANDERBILT 79 (OT)
In Nashville, Tenn., Marshall Henderson’s desperation heave beat the buzzer to force overtime, and Nick Williams’ jumper put Mississippi (14-2, 3-0 SEC) ahead to stay in rallying to beat Vanderbilt (6-9, 0-3) .
NO. 2 NOTRE DAME 79, GEORGETOWN 64
In South Bend, Ind., Kayla McBride scored 17 points, and Skylar Diggins had 15 points and nine assists as Notre Dame (15-1, 4-0 Big East) cruised past Georgetown (10-7, 1-3).
NO. 3 CONNECTICUT 72, NO. 15 LOUISVILLE 58
In Hartford, Conn., Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley each scored 16 points to lead Connecticut (15-1, 3-1 Big East) over Louisville
NO. 24 IOWA STATE 82, NO. 16 OKLAHOMA 61
In Ames, Iowa, Hallie Christofferson scored 24 points to lead Iowa State (13-2,
4-1 Big 12) past Oklahoma (14-3, 4-1).