Jamar McKnight also scored 22 points to help pace the Clemson scoring attack, and Ed Scott registered his 5th double-double of the year with 12 points and 11 assists.
Clemson faced a tough halfcourt press from the Yellow Jackets for most of the game, but in the end it was the Tigers who use their athleticsm and ball handling to use the pressure to work to their advantage.
"We played hard but we came out kind of sluggish in the first half, but we executed and we came out with the win in the end," said Jamar McKnight.
The first half saw both teams bolt out to small leads, but Ed Scott nailed a 25-foot 3-point shot right before the buzzer to give Clemson a 3-point lead going into the break at 37-34.
"Ed Scott has the green light in that set we were running to either dish the ball, hand it off at the top of the key, or shoot it. We usually are on the same page, and he made a big play at the end of the half," said Clemson head coach Larry Shyatt.
Clemson opened the 2nd half by bolting out to a 14-point lead, mainly by pounding the ball in to Chris Hobbs and letting him operate in the paint. Jamar McKnight also was able to break down the Yellow Jacket press and give the Tigers a much needed scoring lift.
"They were trying to pressure us in every situation and make us turn the ball over, we just had to remained focused and we did. I felt good last night and got some good rest, we just wanted to have fun and win," said McKnight.
With about 3 minutes remaining, Ed Scott buried a long 3-pointer to put Clemson ahead by 7 points (71-64). Following a made Georgia Tech free throw, Jamar McKnight then hit a short jumper to give the Tigers a comfortable 8-point cushion with just under 2 minutes remaining in the game.
Clemson would go on to make their free thows down the stretch to hold on for the 7-point win.
The win improves the Tigers to 10-5, and 1-1 in ACC play. Clemson's next game will be 7:00 Tuesday evening against ACC powerhouse Virginia.
"Another wonderful opportunity presents itself Tuesday night against undefeated Virginia. We'll have these opportunities all year to have big games," said Shyatt.
Interestingly enough, every Clemson basketball team that has beaten Georgia Tech in Atlanta has gone onto the postseason play in the same season.
"If we want to win and make it to the tournament we have to play together and thats what we did today and we talked about that in our team meeting last week. I just wanted to come out play hard and win."
"Coach Paul Hewitt and I had a few words about the similarities between our two teams after the game, but I woudn't trade this game for a momemnt. We really needed it."
"The times we didn't handle (their pressure) it was obvious because bad things happened. But we got just enough points to continue to attack it throughout the game. I thought both teams played exactly how you would think these two teams would play entering the game. I thought this game was a battle of will, and we just held on in the end."
"Of course the dissapointment from the other night was there over the last few days, but I told my guys that we are not going backwards."
"Sometimes we find all the negative quailities in things, but we are clearly better than last year, we are more athletic, and what I find best about us when we go on the road we are not excuse makers, we don't shy away from contact and the big challenge. We've already won 5 games on the road this year, which is definite improvement."
This is the only 2nd road win in ACC play the last 4 years for the Tigers.
The Tigers shot 51% from the field today.
The Tigers outrebounded Tech by a 43-35 margin. It marks the 15th game this year that Tigers have won the rebounding war.
|Box Score||Georgia Tech||Clemson|
|FIELD GOALS||25 - 65 (38.5%)||30 - 59 (50.8%)|
|3-POINT FGs||8 - 29 (27.6%)||7 - 22 (31.8%)|
|FREE THROWS||18 - 22 (81.8%)||16 - 30 (53.3%)|
|REBOUNDS (Off-Def)||35 (13 - 22)||43 (14 - 29)|