"It really helped that we got off to a great start," said Clemson head coach Brad Brownell. "We were making some shots and things were looking good. Devin [Booker] got open and hit a couple of threes, and then we got a transition basket that got the crowd going. Then reality set in and we didn't make as many."
The Tigers raced out to a 22-6 lead before going without a field goal for the final 12:29 of the first half.
"I think we showed maturity and growth as a team—being able to weather a couple of offensive lulls of our own, to stick to outstanding defense for 40 minutes," Brownell said.
Florida State shot 33 percent from the field and 24 percent from behind the 3-point line. No Seminole scored in double figures.
Brownell agreed that Saturday's defensive performance was the Tigers' best of the season.
"Because it was against a very good team," he said. "And to do it against a very good team makes it that way, in a significant game.
"We've played well, defensively, against other teams—not through the whole 40 minutes like this."
Brownell added that Chris Singleton's early foul trouble made life easier. Singleton picked up two fouls within a span of 11 seconds and sat for the last 13 minutes of the first half.
The reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year finished with eight points, five steals, two rebounds and a blocked shot.
Jerai Grant, who scored a game-high 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field, said success on the defensive end started with the defensive effort against Florida State's guards.
"They're a great team, but at the same time, we kind of realized that their ball handlers are limited," he said. "We tried to just basically get up and guard them, get up in their face as much as possible, try to turn the ball over as much as we could. Even if they didn't turn the ball over, just try to force them into a bad shot."
Tanner Smith, who played for the first time since suffering a knee injury against North Carolina, came off the bench to score seven points. The junior from Alpharetta, Ga. made all four of his shots.
"[The knee] is a little sore right now. I'll get some ice tonight. I'll have treatment a couple of times tomorrow and I'll be ready to practice on Monday," he said.
Brownell's happy to have Smith back in the mix.
"He's such a positive guy, not just with his play, but with his spirit, his attitude," Brownell said. "He lifts people up. Sometimes I talk about who some people are drains and some people are faucets. Tanner Smith is a faucet. He breathes life into you."
Clemson hits the road twice next week. First up is a Wednesday matchup with Virginia.
CLEMSON - CUTigers takes a look at the key players and moments from Saturday's 62-44 win over…