CLEMSON – Naz Bohannon and a stout defense helped Clemson overcome a 13-point deficit in a dramatic 68-65 win over Georgia Tech Wednesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum. The win extends the Tigers’ winning streak to three games following a six-game losing streak, and it breaks a four-game losing streak to the Yellow Jackets.
Clemson improves to 15-15 overall and 7-12 in the ACC, while Georgia Tech falls to 11-19 and 4-15.
Bohannon came up big for the Tigers as he scored all nine of his points in the final six minutes of the game, including seven of Clemson’s final nine points and game-winning points – a layup and one – for the final margin.
The Tigers got the ball with 42 seconds remaining and were patient in their final offensive set as Bohannon drove the lane, made the layup, and the free throw for the 68-65 lead.
The teams traded baskets for much of the first half, with three ties and five different lead changes. Al-Amir Dawes hit a layup at the 8:59 mark, putting Clemson ahead 20-19 – the last time the Tigers led in the half as Tech scored nine of the next 11 points and raced out to a 29-22 lead.
Alex Hemenway began a 5-0 Clemson run with a 3-pointer, making it 29-25. Twenty seconds later, Collins stole the ball and drove the length of the court for a dunk, making it 29-27 Tech with just 3:32 remaining in the half.
The Tigers failed to score over the final 3:32, and Tech took a 33-27 lead into halftime.
Clemson cut Georgia Tech’s lead to just one point twice during the first two minutes of the second half, including a three-point play by Ben Middlebrooks to make it 35-34 with 17:56 to play. Georgia Tech promptly went on a 9-0 run over the next four minutes to open up a 49-36 lead.
The Yellow Jackets continued to hold the Tigers at bay with a 55-44 lead with 9:36 to play, but a layup by Ian Schieffelin started a 12-0 run – including a pair of three-pointers by Dawes – over the next three minutes to give Clemson’s first lead at 56-55 since early in the first half.
Georgia Tech reeled off the next four points to take a 60-56 lead, but Chase Hunter answered with a three – his first points of the game – and Naz Bohannon followed with a short one-handed jumper to put the Tigers back in front at 61-60 with 3:07 to play.
Bohannon’s runner put Clemson up 63-61 with 1:30 to play, but Georgia Tech answered with a Deebo Coleman three-point play for a 64-63 Yellow Jacket lead. David Collins hit a layup for a one-point Clemson lead, and Tech’s Howard hit one from the charity stripe to tie the game at 65-65 with 42 seconds to play.
Clemson closes out the regular season Saturday at 2 pm as it hosts Virginia Tech. The ACC Tournament begins next week in Brooklyn, New York.
Story by Nikki Hood