Tigers Fall in Atlanta

Once again, the Clemson basketball team found itself in a tight one on the road with five minutes to play against a team likely headed to the NCAA Tournament. <br>

But as has been the case in many of those same scenarios, the Tigers went ice cold and the other team took advantage of it.

Clemson missed its last 13 shots in the last 7:44 and only scored one point in over the final five minutes to surrender the lead and allow Georgia Tech to pull away and get the 64-56 victory Saturday afternoon at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

The Tigers end the regular season 15-14 overall and 5-11 in the ACC. They have secured themselves as either the No. 9 or No. 10 seed for next week's ACC Tournament in Washington D.C. Georgia Tech appears to have secured an berth to the NCAA Tournament by improving to 17-10 and 8-8 in the ACC.

Despite the loss, Clemson coach Oliver Purnell believes his team has a real shot to go far in the ACC Tournament.

"I just feel like our level of play in February has been very, very good," he said. "Today, I thought it was ok, except for the free throw shooting and the rebounds. But it gives me a lot of confidence going in because if we can clean things up and improve, we've got a chance to do some damage."

Those rebounds and free throws Purnell spoke of were just a big of an issue against the Yellow Jackets as the scoreless drought in the final five minutes were.

Clemson was a brutal 9-of-24 from the free throw line and was outrebounded 46-33, the largest deficit for the Tigers under Purnell. Georgia Tech also held an 18-15 advantage in offensive rebounds.

"If we're shooting free throws well, they're chasing us and it's a different deal," Purnell said of the closing minutes. "We let them get to the offensive glass much too much. But the initial defense was pretty good. What it says is that they're playing extremely hard and you've got to be even more focused."

Georgia Tech center Luke Schenscher was the main reason for the rebounding edge as he had 15 boards, 11 of which were offensive. He also scored 11 points.

Guard Jarrett Jack led the Yellow Jackets in scoring with 18 points, while teammate B.J. Elder added 17 of his own.

The only player to score in double digits was center Sharrod Ford, who had 22 points and six rebounds. That's a far cry from the three points and zero rebounds he had in the first meeting between the two teams.

The Tigers trailed 35-28 at halftime mainly because they made just 37.9 percent of their shots, while Georgia Tech drilled 51.7 percent of its attempts.

Things didn't get any better for Clemson as it shot 36.2 percent for the game.

However, Clemson came out in the second half on a quick run and tied it at 35-35 with 17:59 remaining in the game. The teams went back-and-forth before the Tigers grabbed a two-point lead at 43-41 with 13:09 to play.

But turnovers, missed shots and missed free throws ensued for Clemson and resulted in the Yellow Jackets pulling away.

"We're making some critical errors," Purnell said. "We turned the ball over at critical times. If we clean those things up then we've got a chance to make some noise.

"We're playing a decent level, if we raise it up a notch, there's no question we can play with anybody."

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