Led by seniors Jerai Grant and Demontez Stitt, the Clemson Tigers went on a 22-0 run in the first half and held off Georgia Tech late to win 65-56 Saturday afternoon at Alexander Memorial. With the loss, Tech falls to 10-12 and 3-6 in ACC play while Clemson improves to 16-7 and 5-4 in the conference.
With 9:15 remaining in the first half, Daniel Miller hit a layup to give the Jackets a 19-8 lead. Tech was playing a stifling defense, holding Clemson to single digits in scoring and forcing 10 Tiger turnovers in 10 minutes of play. Fast forward to 2:13 left in the half, and Clemson led 30-19, having scored 22 straight points and held Tech scoreless for over seven minutes.
"The cliché is that basketball is a game of runs. We had our run early and offensively we just missed some shots [during theirs]. Certainly, their defense had something to do with it but I know that we are capable of shooting the basketball better," said Coach Paul Hewitt.
The first half was definitely not an exhibition of quality offensive play. The two teams combined for 23 turnovers on only 11 assists and had connected on just 22 field goals.
Tech came out of the locker room playing much better and tied the game seven minutes in at 40-40. The Jackets were never able to take the lead however in the half and Clemson pushed their margin into double digits to secure the victory.
Tech was led in scoring by Iman Shumpert with 17 points. The junior guard also had a game-high eight rebounds. Glen Rice Jr. and Mfon Udofia both got to double figures with 10 apiece. The Jackets shot 41% from the field and have yet to break 50% in a game this season. Tech really struggled from behind the arc, connecting on only 2-of-15 for 13%.
Clemson guard Demontez Stitt had 16 points and played solid defense on Shumpert all afternoon, forcing him to take tough shots.
With the win, Clemson sweeps the season series and ties the all-time record between the two schools at 59-59.
The Tigers improve to 5-4 in league play and join a crowded middle of the pack in the ACC, tied for fourth with three other teams. They play next on Tuesday night when they host Boston College. Tech will get a few days off before hosting FSU Thursday night.