Clemson continues to walk that fine line between victory and defeat in ACC basketball. The Tigers held off Georgia Tech 63-60 Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum before an announced crowd of 7059 to win their second straight league game and improve to 4-4 in the ACC. Both of Clemson’s wins in the current streak were by single digits. Three of their ACC losses were by 5, 4 and 3 points.
Its Clemson’s sixth straight win over Georgia Tech, five in a row under coach Brad Brownell who has never lost to the Yellow Jackets.
KJ McDaniels again played a huge roll in the victory. The sophomore forward canned a pair of free throws with 16.4 seconds to play to put Clemson up by three. Tech ran a play against a tough Clemson defense but the best they could get was a three from the deep left corner by Brandon Reed. It missed the mark and the Tigers celebrated again in front of the home fans.
Clemson behind by ten points in the first half at 22-12, but a 12-4 pulled the Tigers within two. And they closed the half with a 10-0 run for a 36-30 halftime lead.
The Tigers stretched their lead to 11 at 43-32 early in the second half but the Yellow Jackets chipped away cutting the lead to 61-59 on a rebound dunk by Daniel Miller off a Clemson turnover with 27.7 seconds to play. The Jackets quickly fouled Damarcus Harrison who missed the front end of a one and one.
Tech had the chance to tie the game with 17.2 second left but Mfon Udofia made only one of two foul shots to leave the Yellow Jackets down a point. McDaniels was then fouled and he made his two shots to give the Tigers their final three point cushion.
“It was a really gutsy performance by my guys,” said Clemson coach Brad Brownell. “We knew Georgia Tech was going to come in here ready to play and with a lot of confidence after the way they played against Wake. They came out firing and I thought we were maybe a half step slow the first few minutes. I thought our defense the last 30-35 minutes was really good.”
McDaniels led Clemson with 15 points and was the only Tigers in double figures. Milton Jennings scored 9 points and had 9 rebounds in 28 minutes before fouling out. Tech’s Miller led all scorers with 16 points.
Tuesday night’s game was Clemson’s second in three days and fourth in nine days. They went 2-2 over the stretch losing on the road to NC State and Florida State and winning at home against Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. The Tigers return to action Saturday afternoon at Boston College.