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Clemson Tigers (17-4) prevail from a late run by Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-11) with a game winning layup.
Marquise Reed was able to elevate his game in the second half to surge the Tigers past the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech opened up fast from the tip going on a 7-0 run ignited by junior forward Abdoulaye Gueye four points. Clemson was able to counter hitting three straight 3-pointers to tie the game 9-9.
Gueye’s presence early set the tone and tempo of the game. He was able to block a shot and force turnovers on the defensive side and the offense was ran through him. “Right now, [Abdoulaye] AD has been one of our best scorers when he gets the ball. He has a pretty nice jump hook,” stated coach Josh Pastner.
The Yellow Jackets led 26-15 midway through the first quarter.
Clemson’s 15 points came from all behind the arc going 5-8. Clemson didn’t score their first inside of three point range until the 6:53 mark. This sparked a 7-0 run to bring them back within five points. “I was just proud of how our guys competed tonight and we just hung in there,” stated Clemson’s head coach Brad Browned.
Both teams sparked by their defense found it hard to score. Clemson ended the half with a 6-0 run and got within two, 38-36.
Senior guard Guard Devoe led the Tigers with 18 points in the first half going 4-5 from three-point land.
Georgia Tech came out flat going scoreless in the first five minutes while Clemson started the half with a 7-0 run. Devoe continued to be the engine for the Tigers scoring quick five points including a three-pointer.
“We’re young in a lot of areas, that we are counting on guys to produce for us,” stated Pastner.
With a little over 10 minutes left in the second half, the Yellow Jackets was able to get the Tigers in the one-and-one penalty but didn’t take advantage of it by getting to the free-throw line.
Clemson led throughout the second half and built up the lead as much as eight points. The Yellow Jackets were able to go on mini-runs but Clemson would respond with either Devoe or guard Shelton Mitchell hitting shots to sustain the lead.
With under two minutes left, after a pair of free-throws by Josh Okogie, Georgia Tech caused a turnover and Okogie scored on a layup plus the foul.
On the next possession, Okogie hit a wide open three-pointer to bring the Yellow Jackets within two, 70-68 with 1:32 left.
Georgia Tech got another key stop on the defense and Okogie collected a offensive rebound and drew the foul, which he made both free-throws tying the game.
On the ensuing possession, Clemson’s guard Reed penetrated on the mismatch with Gueye on him and scored on a layup to give Clemson a 72-70 lead with 24 seconds left. ” I kinda look at the match-ups and if a [forward] four is on me, I’m going to drive it,’ stated Reed.
With no timeouts, Okogie drove down the lane and wasn’t able to hit the layup and the rebound went of of Ben Lammers hand.
Devoe led Clemson with 25 points, Okogie had a game high of 26 points going 7-10 and added six rebounds.
Georgia Tech host the Syracuse Orange on January 31st.