CLEMSON -- Brad Brownell says he has a defense-first philosophy, but the first-year Clemson coach with Hoosier DNA also knows something about shooting. When Tanner Smith met with the new assistant staff this spring, he heard Brownell was adept at improving players' shooting mechanics. So when Brownell spoke about shooting, Smith listened. Brownell told the junior wing he was fading on his shot. He needed to keep his shoulders forward. The full-time head coach and part-time shooting specialist has worked with his entire roster on the skill perhaps most responsible for half-court efficiency: shooting. It appears the coaching is working. As Clemson travels to Maryland (11-7, 1-3 ACC) today, the Tigers are an improved shooting team from a year ago with essentially the same roster. Last season, the Tigers shot 30 percent from 3-point range in ACC play. This season, Clemson (13-5, 2-2) is shooting 43 percent from 3 in ACC contests. Despite the loss of Trevor Booker and the double-teams he commanded, the Tigers are shooting 45.6 percent overall, nearly identical to last season's 45.7 mark. Undersized and undermanned at North Carolina on Tuesday, the Tigers remained in the game, thanks to seven different players connecting on 3s. "Our shot selection has been better and just the new offense and guys getting used to it," Smith said. "I think you are seeing guys taking better shots. Shots are just more open, and you have more mature players, another year of shooting and that kind of stuff under our belts." Brownell preaches to his players the importance of each possession. The word efficiency is echoed again and again. Efficiency is tied to shooting, and its shooting and working in the half-court offense that Brownell has allocated more time toward than former coach Oliver Purnell. "I certainly think we put time into. We work at it," Brownell said of shooting. "Hopefully we have had some positive effect on our guys, and they are shooting the ball better because of that." "We've tried to give them some freedom. There are times we quick shoot, and that is difficult for me, but I also think our guys have been hesitant through the years and at times look unsure of themselves. I don't want them thinking about it so I'm willing to give them some leeway offensively as long as they are defending like I want them to defend." With Smith likely out for several weeks due to a knee sprain, North Augusta's Bryan Narcisse will likely step into the starting lineup today at Maryland. Brownell wanted Narcisse to improve his jump-shot so he could play small forward in addition to power forward. Narcisee took 300 jump-shots a day this summer, and the work appears to have paid off as he's shooting 38 percent from 3 after attempting just eight 3s last season, shooting 25 percent. "(Brownell) is trusting me a little bit more, more freedom," Narcisse said. "But with that comes responsibility, and I have to work a lot more. This offseason I worked on shooting. I had to shoot the jumpshot a lot better so I can come in and play the three and the four. "Working with our motion (offense), our spacing throughout practice that allows us to get good shots. We are just putting in the time, the work, and we have a lot more confidence."