Every team responds to adversity differently. The last time Clemson faced off with Georgia Tech they lost their third straight game and went on to lose three more, part of a six-game losing streak. In the rematch they played some of their best basketball of the season, winning 74-62 tonight at Littlejohn Coliseum. Although Georgia Tech cut the lead to seven, 65-58, with just over two minutes left to play Clemson was in control for most of the game.
After giving up an early lead to go down 16-11, in the midst of a four-minute scoreless streak, Clemson looked like they might be in for another loss. Then Jaron Blossomgame took control. He scored a layup to cut the deficit to three, 16-13. Georgia Tech turned the ball over as they tried to answer and Clemson capitalized, with Blossomgame assisting on an Avry Holmes three-pointer to tie the game.
.@Coach_Brownell postgame: "Avry played with good poise and took quality shots. He played well for us tonight."— Clemson Basketball (@ClemsonMBB) February 2, 2017
Holmes led the Tigers with 18 points and was a perfect 4-of-4 from deep. Including those two baskets, Clemson closed the first half on a 21-8 run, entering the break up eight, 32-24.
In the second half, the floodgates opened and Clemson began to run away with the game. Georgia Tech made just three shots in the first ten minutes of the second half, and when Shelton Mitchell spun past his defender to hit an and-one layup with 9:34 left in the half the Tigers took a commanding 53-32 lead.
Ho-hum, Clemson up 21 in an ACC game (53-32 over GaTech 9:22)— Gene Sapakoff (@Sapakoff) February 2, 2017
Easily the Tigers' largest ACC lead this season
Shelton Mitchell!!! #AndOne— Clemson Basketball (@ClemsonMBB) February 2, 2017
GT wants another timeout, we're up 53-32 at the 9:35 mark of the 2nd half.
Georgia Tech rallied in the closing minutes, but was unable to close the gap. Clemson hit their free throws and closed the game.
In addition to Holmes, two tigers stood out: Eli Thomas, who registered his first double-double as a Tiger posting 15 points and ten rebounds, and Mitchell, who put up 15 points and three assists. Blossomgame finished 10 and Donte Grantham scored 11 as all five Clemson starters scored in double figures.
Sidy Djitte did not start in the game, presumably because of a lingering knee injury; however, he did play 19 minutes in the win. He scored just three points but was active on the boards, hauling in six rebounds and had a block.
The win was also coach Brad Brownell’s 55th ACC win, the second most in Clemson history.
Congrats to @Coach_Brownell on his 55th ACC win, second most in Clemson history! #TigerPride pic.twitter.com/WsFaLGKcgB— Clemson Basketball (@ClemsonMBB) February 2, 2017