Clemson beats Georgia Tech for seventh straight time
Clemson got 19 points from Marcquise Reed, while David Skara dropped in 13 more as the Tigers beat Georgia Tech, 65-42, Wednesday night at the McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta. It marked the Tigers’ seventh straight win over the Yellow Jackets.
The 23-point win was Clemson’s third straight double-digit victory over an ACC opponent, the first time the program has done that since the 1974-’75 season. The Tigers beat Pittsburgh by 13 points last week and Wake Forest by 27 points this past Sunday.
In the last two games, Clemson (14-8, 4-5 ACC) has allowed just 79 points, or less than one point per minute. That is the fewest amount of points ever allowed by a Clemson team in back-to-back ACC games.
“We played really well tonight,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said on the Clemson Sports Network after the game. “Our guys had tremendous focus and energy the last two days. We had a great shoot-around. I really felt like we were going to play well.”
The Tigers’ 23-point win in Atlanta was the program’s largest margin of victory at Georgia Tech.
“It was another tremendous defensive performance,” Brownell said. “Our guys have really … I know the last four games in the league, our guys have defended at a really high level and have been very competitive.”
Skara was the main guy on the defensive end against the Yellow Jackets. He held Tech’s Jose Alvarado, its leading scorer, to three points on just 1-of-10 shooting.
“He has been an unbelievable defensive player for us and obviously throughout his career,” Brownell said. “Again, here recently, he has done a really good job against good players. Today he was guarding a point guard. He has guarded two-guard. He has guarded wings and obviously at times he has had to guard a power forward.
“His versatility defensively is outstanding and his willingness to take on that role.”
The Clemson senior also contributed on the offensive end. His 13 points marked the first time in his career at Clemson he scored in double digits during an ACC game. He finished the night 5 of 9 from the field.
The Tigers finished the second half shooting 62.5 percent from the field. Down the stretch, Reed, Skara and Aamir Simms finished Georgia Tech off with late baskets. Simms finished with 13 points as well.
“For (Skara) and Aamir to play as well as they did offensively, when those guys play well offensively, that is when our team gets to a different level,” Brownell said.
Overall, Clemson shot 27 of 55 from the field, 49.1 percent. The Tigers were 15 of 24 from the field in the last 20 minutes. They finished 6 of 17 from behind the arc.
The Tigers were 21 of 38 inside the arc.
“I am just so happy to see our guys awarded,” Brownell said. “They have been working really hard this year. We hung in there pretty good and our guys are just playing with good confidence. We had a little bit of a stretch where we were struggling offensively, but our rhythm in the middle to the end of the second half is when we really separated.”
Clemson also finished with 39 rebounds, including 11 off the offensive glass. The Tigers had 17 assists on 27 made baskets.
On the defensive side, they had seven steals and seven blocked shots. Tech was just 13 of 43 from the field. The Yellow Jackets scored just 18 points in the second half.
Clemson led by as many as 17 points in the first half, before Tech rallied and cut the lead to nine, 33-24, at the break. In the second half, the Tigers upped the lead to 14 points before Elijah Thomas picked up his third foul, which forced him to sit down for about six minutes.
With Thomas on the bench, Georgia Tech (11-12, 3-7 ACC) rallied and cut the lead to eight points, 41-33, with 12:10 to play in the game. But, Clemson outscored Georgia Tech 24-9 after that, including a 13-4 run in the final 6:16 of the game.
The Tigers will host Virginia Tech at noon on Saturday at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.
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