|9:00 AM PT10:00 AM MT11:00 AM CT12:00 PM ET5:00 PM GMT1:00 PM 北京时间10:00 AM MST12:00 PM EST, Feb 9, 2019
Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, South Carolina Attendance: 9,000
Revamped roster for No. 11 Virginia Tech be tested at Clemson
Virginia Tech, whose current roster looks considerably different than it did a few months ago, hopes to get back on the winning track Saturday when the No. 11 Hokies play at Clemson in a key Atlantic Coast Conference game.
The Hokies have played the last two games without senior guard and team leader Justin Robinson, who has been sidelined indefinitely since injuring his left foot at Miami on Jan. 30.
Sophomore P.J. Horne hasn't returned to action since suffering a knee injury on Jan. 19, and head coach Buzz Williams announced last month that senior forward Chris Clarke has been dismissed from the team for undisclosed reasons. Meanwhile, freshman forward Landers Nolley will miss the season after failing to gain NCAA clearance on his ACT score.
Tech's Nickeil Alexander-Walker has stepped up of late and leads the Hokies with a 17.5 scoring average. The sophomore guard, who also leads the Atlantic Coast Conference with 45 steals, is the reigning ACC Player of the Week.
"They haven't thrown a pity party," Williams said of his remaining players. "The togetherness is as high on this team as any team I've ever coached. Their character and work ethic are above reproach. If we're only going to love them when we win, then we're selfish."
Still, the importance of Saturday's game at Clemson, which is fighting for its postseason life, isn't lost on Williams, whose team suffered its first loss in 12 home games this season Monday night when Louisville claimed a 72-64 victory at Cassell Coliseum.
"We've got six games over the next 23 days," Williams said. "Somehow we've got to figure out how to give ourselves our best chance to win on the road, even though that's difficult."
Virginia Tech (18-4, 7-3) has won four straight games against Clemson, including three in a row at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Clemson (14-8, 4-5), meanwhile, appears to be back on track after a 1-5 start in conference play, but is searching for its first victory against a ranked opponent this season. The Tigers, who are 10-2 at home, have won three straight games, claiming victories against Pitt, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech by clamping down defensively.
"Hopefully it just builds confidence as much as anything," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. "It's not easy on players, and this is an unforgiving league. You can have a great week of practice, play two games against very good teams and play well and lose.
"That's not easy when you're coaching to keep the guys' morale going. I'm proud of our guys. We have an older team with some pride, so I think when we were 1-5 our pride took over. Now that we've won three in a row we feel a little better about who we are and how we're playing."
Clemson held Wake Forest to 37 points on Sunday, then held Georgia Tech to 42 points in a 65-42 win on Wednesday night. The 79 points were the fewest allowed in back-to-back ACC games in program history and the Tigers' 23-point margin of victory against the Yellow Jackets was the fifth-largest in an ACC game in Clemson history.
"Our guys have really bought into what we're trying to do," Brownell said. "We're not one of the highest-scoring teams in the league. We really have to click on all cylinders defensively and make it hard for people.
"We had an unbelievable first half against Pitt and not a very good second half. We defended Wake (Forest) well and we defended (Georgia Tech) very well. We understand that playing that way gives us a much better chance to win. Hopefully our guys are going to continue to do that."
The Tigers' three-game winning streak in ACC play marks the first time Clemson has won three straight conference games by double-digits since the 1974-75 season.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 8, 2019