Clemson sharpshooter Joe Girard III is one of the deadliest three-point shooters in college basketball. And on Saturday, he brought his best stuff when his team needed it the most, against his old team, the Syracuse Orange. He stuffed the stat sheet with 18 points (game high) and four rebounds in the win.
Following the game, Girard spoke with the television broadcast crew. “I mean it was very important. I had people text me from Syracuse that I’ve met that were saying, ‘I hope you have 30 but Syracuse wins.’
“But for me it was the complete opposite. I would have taken three points and the W. So, that’s all I cared about. And I’m glad, especially coming off a big win like North Carolina. You don’t want to kinda have a mishap in the next game and let all of your energy out. So, I’m glad we could get rolling here. We haven’t won two games in a row in a while. So, it’s big for us,” Girard noted.
He didn’t disappoint in his return to his old stomping grounds. Girard connected on four of five shots from beyond-the-arc. The win marked the first back-to-back ACC wins this season for Clemson. In their last two games, he’s averaged 19.5 points, connecting on 9 of 15 shots from three-point range.
What are his thoughts on his current team, the Clemson Tigers? “I love it. I mean, these guys are awesome. Ever since I stepped foot on campus I was really just impressed by how much everybody works and how much everybody really cares about each other. And how much fun these guys really have together. Usually, the teams that are the best off the court are the best on the court. And that’s kind of what we got here,” Girard said.
The 18-point performance for Girard meant he crossed the 2,000-point threshold in his college basketball career. The majority of those points have been scored in the Carrier Dome for the Syracuse Orange, where the Tigers won on Saturday. How much does pulling off the accomplishment against his old team mean?
“It’s insane. God works in mysterious ways. Going into the season you set goals for yourself and obviously, I knew it was somewhat in reach. But to have it happen in this building where I was blessed to be able to play for four years. It is unbelievable. I’m at a loss for words for it because of how ironic it is. So, I’m really blessed. I’ve had great teammates at ‘Cuse. Obviously here at Clemson and the coaches who have done a lot for me. So, it’s been a long time coming,” the sharpshooter said.
The Tigers got double digits from a number of their stars, Chase Hunter, P.J. Hall, and Ian Schieffelin. Hall stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Schieffelin pumped in 13 points and six rebounds. Chase Hunter also chipped in with 14 points and seven assists.
With the win, Clemson moved to 16-7 overall and 6-6 in the ACC. Syracuse dropped to 15-9 overall and 6-7 in the ACC.