Clemson Men’s Basketball: PJ Hall is returning to form

Clemson sophomore forward PJ Hall (24) reacts after making a three-point shot against Wake Forest during the second half at Littlejohn Coliseum Friday, December 2, 2022.Clemson Basketball Vs Wake Forest University Acc
Clemson sophomore forward PJ Hall (24) reacts after making a three-point shot against Wake Forest during the second half at Littlejohn Coliseum Friday, December 2, 2022.Clemson Basketball Vs Wake Forest University Acc /
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Clemson Men’s Basketball is having its best run since the 2017-18 Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

The Tigers are 7-0 in the ACC and lead the conference standings. They just defeated the Duke Blue Devils 72-64 in Littlejohn Coliseum.

One of the major reasons they were victorious Saturday evening is junior center PJ Hall, who scored 26 points on 10/16 shooting. He also grabbed four rebounds. All of this while only playing 26 minutes.

Senior guard Brevin Galloway was also key, contributing 17 points and four rebounds.

For much of this season, Hunter Tyson and Chase Hunter have been pacing the Tigers. Both have led Clemson in most of the box scores. Saturday night they were well contained by the Duke defense. Galloway’s output was key for the Tigers against the Devils, but Hall’s emergence in the game could be the most important event for the team’s immediate future.

Hall suffered a kneecap injury (subluxed patella) in July. He missed months of practice time. While he did return to action sooner than expected, he understandably wasn’t the same player that was the centerpiece of the Tigers’ 2021 campaign.

The Tigers had to adjust around Hall’s recovery. While Tyson and Hunter eventually emerged as leaders on the court, Clemson did suffer from some growing pains as they figured out their identity. The two infamous Quad 4 losses were symptoms of those growing pains.

Now that the Tigers sit atop the ACC standings, they are not flying under the radar any longer, and neither are Tyson or Hunter. As teams learn more about Clemson’s leaders in points, rebounds, and assists, the Tigers will need other players to step up when opponents key on Tyson and Hunter.

Hall re-emergence couldn’t come at a better time for Clemson Men’s Basketball

Hall’s performance is an indication that he is ready to re-emerge as a focal point of this offense. The Tigers will now have three key players that opponents will have to take into account when game planning. Along with offensive contributions from Galloway and strong rebounding efforts from Ian Schieffelin and Ben Middlebrooks, Clemson will present a formidable test for league opponents.

Often when star players return after being out of action, teams can have a hard time maintaining the chemistry they had developed while the player was absent. They can often try to force the player’s involvement in the game plan, and the results can be negative.

Hall’s low-key return allowed Tyson and Hunter to take the reins while he slowly regained his strength and form. That strategy appears to have paid off as the Tigers now play with the lead in the ACC.

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