Originally created 02/16/02

Team looks to carry momentum from double-overtime win



CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson coach Larry Shyatt, still dizzy from his team's record-setting 118-115 victory over No. 19 Wake Forest this past Wednesday, isn't sure if the momentum will swing the Tigers way when they battle No. 24 North Carolina this weekend.

"I think the athletes quickly forget" about previous games win or lose, Shyatt said Friday. Once they hit the court for the next one, "they get within the eye of the hurricane," he said.

And it was a whirlwind of emotions and gritty play for the Tigers, who ended an eight-game losing streak with their early morning, double overtime win over the Demon Deacons.

Clemson trailed by 11 points with 63 seconds to go until Wake Forest hit five 3-pointers to tie things. The Tigers again trailed in the first overtime period yet had a chance to win if Chris Hobbs finished a three-point play. Instead, he missed the foul shot and the contest continued.

Things finally fell Clemson's and Hobbs' way in the second overtime - not before Hobbs called a timeout the Tigers didn't have - as he hit the two clinching foul shots.

Shyatt's not counting on the sugar buzz of the Wake win to last in Raleigh.

"You can point to when you had your breakthrough game" where Clemson won at Georgia Tech, 83-76, on Jan. 5, Shyatt said, "then you played so well with a little more confidence against Virginia and kicked the tar out of them.

"Then they say you played well against a nationally ranked team in Virginia and then fell flat on your face" in losing at Wake Forest 96-55 on Jan. 12.

"You could get the same number of examples in either case," Shyatt said. "We have to find a balance between high emotion and readiness to play. ... We've shown that all year."

Some might disagree.

The Tigers have had some uneven moments in Shyatt's fourth season.

Yes, there were the nail-biting losses to North Carolina State (80-79) and Florida State (68-63) where the right bounce or basket might have changed the outcome. But there were also the home losses to North Carolina (87-69) and Georgia Tech (74-50) where Clemson looked ill-prepared and out of synch.

Shyatt and several players said after the Tar Heel defeat that internal problems among teammates led to the loss. However, Shyatt backed away from that two days later. He said a review of the game film showed his players working together.

There could be no better example of that than Wednesday night in the double-overtime victory. Shyatt said the Tigers could have folded after losing their double-digit lead in the last minute. "But they didn't give in," he said.

A few more similar efforts could turn the Tigers' season around. They stand 11-12 overall and, with four games left in the regular season, would need to win three of four for a chance at the postseason.

Shyatt says this group has already proven their worth through solid play.

The Wake Forest win gave the players a chance to hear it from others, Shyatt said. "They weren't even allowed to consider that they played well against Virginia or Duke," the coach said. "That's how I would say it."

* * * *

NOTES: Shyatt said Clemson will get a visit from Cincinnati on Dec. 22, 2002. The Tigers will go to Cincinnati the following year, Tony Stockman's senior season. Stockman, a sophomore, is from Medina, Ohio. ... Shyatt said it was too soon to say that Clemson won't play at a revamped Littlejohn Coliseum for the 2002-2003. He says officials are checking all possibilities about how soon the renovations, currently going on outside the building as Clemson's basketball teams conclude their seasons, can be finished.