Fifteenth-ranked Clemson overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half against Georgia Tech on Saturday, fighting back to earn a 75-67 win on Senior Day in Littlejohn Coliseum.
The key to the come-from-behind victory? It was the Clemson fans in attendance that helped propel the Tigers past the Yellow Jackets, if you ask Brad Brownell.
“I think our crowd really helped us today,” Clemson’s head coach said. “I don’t think we win this game on the road.”
Ahead by as much as 10 points early in the first half, Clemson let its foot off the gas pedal and entered halftime trailing 37-33. The Tigers then came out sluggish to start the second half, allowing Georgia Tech to quickly go on a 7-0 run and extend its lead to 44-33 with 18:09 left in the game.
The Yellow Jackets were still ahead by 11 points with under 11 minutes to play before the Tigers clawed their way back. Thanks in large part to a boost from the Tiger faithful, Clemson held Georgia Tech to just nine points the rest of the way while hitting a number of key shots en route to the win.
“We were just a little bit low energy level in the middle of the second half,” Brownell said. “We weren’t sure that we wanted to play as hard as you had to play today. Sometimes I tell our guys, if you get in a fight and you’re not ready for it, you’re never going to win. And that was kind of what happened to us today. We were ready to play, we were sharp, but we wanted to be easy once we had that lead.
“Now it’s kind of hard to pick yourself back up and do that, and the reason we were able to do it is because of our crowd. Our crowd gave us the energy that we needed to win this game. We had a couple of guys that stepped up and made plays, but again, that was what was significant to me about coming back and winning.”
Clemson senior guard Gabe DeVoe, who finished with a game-high 25 points, agreed that the Clemson fans on hand played a crucial role in the Tigers’ comeback effort.
“The crowd helped out a lot,” DeVoe said. “Early on, we didn’t really give them anything to cheer about. We weren’t really making any stops, any tough plays. But late, when we started getting stops, I think the crowd really did play a big factor.”
Clemson fans have one more chance to make an impact, as the Tigers will play their final home game of the season on Wednesday against No. 25 Florida State in Littlejohn Coliseum.