Syracuse and Clemson are slipping dangerously close to the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings, making Tuesday's affair on the Orange's home floor a critical contest for both teams' postseason hopes.
With four losses in its last five games, Syracuse (8-9, 2-4 ACC) has dropped below .500 on the season and sits in 10th place with Clemson (10-7, 2-4), which has lost three of its last four.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim bemoaned his team's usually robust defense after Saturday's 76-71 home loss to Florida State. The Orange are yielding an average of 75.6 points a game, which if it continues all season would be the most they have allowed since 1981-82 (75.8), Boeheim's sixth season at Syracuse.
They allowed Florida State to shoot 54.9 percent from the field and 60 percent (12 of 20) from 3-point range.
"We just weren't as effective as we needed to be," Boeheim said. "They shot it really well. They made some long threes, some tough threes. But we have to defend it better than we did."
Buddy Boeheim, one of two sons Jim has on the team, led the Orange with 18 points. He has made multiple 3-pointers in eight straight games and averages a team-best 18.9 points on the season.
Clemson, meanwhile, is led in scoring by PJ Hall (14.5 points), who made only four shots from the field in Saturday's 70-68 home loss to Boston College. Hall finished with 12 points and the Tigers certainly could have used more production from the sophomore as they blew a 23-point lead in the humbling defeat.
"We've had some blown leads. We've kept some leads," coach Brad Brownell said. "I don't know what to tell you. We're just not as good as we need to be to finish the games. Defensively, we're not getting some stops when we really, really need them."
Al-Amir Dawes scored 17 points and David Collins had 15 for the Tigers, who had only 10 assists on 27 buckets.
Clemson and Syracuse met twice last season with each winning by double figures on its own court.
--Field Level Media