Clemson 56, Georgia Tech 53

Tigers get win in relief

Jennings comes through in clutch this time

The Associated PressFebruary 15, 2013 

Clemson Georgia Tech Basketball

Clemson forward Devin Booker (31) shoots past Georgia Tech center Daniel Miller (5) during the second half of their NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Atlanta. Clemson won 56-53. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Curtis Compton) MARIETTA DAILY OUT; GWINNETT DAILY POST OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; WXIA-TV OUT; WGCL-TV OUT

CURTIS COMPTON — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

— Clemson needed a win like this.

After an excruciating loss to N.C. State last weekend, the Tigers pulled out a close one against Georgia Tech. K.J. McDaniels scored 14 points and Milton Jennings blocked a potential tying 3-pointer at the buzzer to preserve a 56-53 victory Thursday night.

“We needed that win a lot for our psyche,” coach Brad Brownell said.

The Tigers (13-11, 5-7 ACC) extended their domination of the Yellow Jackets (13-10, 3-8), sweeping the season series and winning their seventh in a row overall.

It wasn’t easy.

Georgia Tech rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half and had a couple of chances to force overtime. Chris Bolden missed badly on a drive with about 10 seconds to go, appearing to get caught between shooting and passing, the ball floating up nowhere close to the rim. But the Yellow Jackets got another chance after Jennings made one of two free throws.

Mfon Udofia took off down the court, looking to get off a 3, and he appeared to have an open look when Daniel Miller delivered a pick to free up his teammate. But Jennings came up from behind to strip it, and the Tigers celebrated.

The play was especially sweet for Jennings.

Last Sunday, the senior forward missed the front end of a 1-and-1 that could’ve clinched it for the Tigers. Instead, he left open the door for the Wolfpack to pull out a 58-57 win on Scott Wood’s 3-pointer with a second remaining.

“I’m really happy for Milton, making a free throw down the stretch and getting the big block,” Brownell said. “He made the big plays to help us win.”

While everyone else will likely remember the block on Udofia, Jennings was proud of making the free throw that forced the Yellow Jackets to go for a shot beyond the arc.

“That free throw was the hardest free throw I ever took in my life,” he said, “just because of the situation that happened the last game.”

Marcus Georges-Hunt led Georgia Tech with 11 points. The Yellow Jackets nearly pulled out an improbable win after shooting 17 percent from the field in the first half.

They were much better in the second half, making 14 of 26 (54 percent). But the defense went south, allowing Clemson to shoot at an even better clip, 62 percent on 13-of-21 from the field. Devin Booker added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers, while Jennings had 12 points.

Robert Carter Jr. had a double-double for the Yellow Jackets, 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Clemson appeared to be firmly in control when Damarcus Harrison made an open 3 with 7:51 left, pushing the Tigers to their biggest lead of the night, 47-35.

Georgia Tech responded with a 12-4 run to make a game of it.

The Tigers hope to take that momentum into Sunday’s home game against No. 3 Miami.

“We really needed this,” Booker said.

Clemson

203656
Georgia Tech153853

CLEMSONMinFG-AFT-AOR-TRAPFPT
Hall294-101-61-3229
Roper312-50-01-2206
Harrison171-40-00-2132
Jennings304-71-20-62312
Booker396-111-13-82213
Filer110-20-00-3120
Sullivan80-00-00-2000
McDaniels324-116-81-10414
Nnoko30-00-00-0010
Totals20021-509-177-30101756

Percentages: FG .420, FT .529. 3-Point Goals: 5-12, .417 (Jennings 3-4, Roper 2-3, Hall 0-1, Harrison 0-2, McDaniels 0-2). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 9 (Booker 3, McDaniels 3, Sullivan 2, Jennings). Turnovers: 7 (Booker 2, McDaniels 2, Roper, Filer, Jennings). Steals: 5 (Booker 2, Hall 2, McDaniels).

GEORGIA TECHMinFG-AFT-AOR-TRAPFPT
Udofia292-92-20-0446
Georges-Hnt344-73-44-51411
Carter305-100-13-111210
Miller301-10-00-6232
Bolden332-83-41-3009
Jordan20-10-00-0000
Poole Jr30-10-00-1000
Reed91-70-00-2003
Holsey213-83-43-8019
Poole91-31-20-1103
Totals20019-5512-1714-4291453

Percentages: FG .345, FT .706. 3-Point Goals: 3-13, .231 (Bolden 2-4, Reed 1-4, Poole 0-1, Jordan 0-1, Udofia 0-3). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 4 (Miller 2, Bolden, Carter). Turnovers: 10 (Udofia 3, Poole 3, Bolden 2, Miller, Carter). Steals: 3 (Miller 2, Carter). Att.–6,862. Officials–Ray Natili, Bernard Clinton, Joe Lindsay.

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