Clemson coach Oliver Purnell had previously said he might play freshman center Catalin Baciu more because big men Raymond Sykes and Jerai Grant had struggled finishing around the basket.
Baciu remained on the bench for the entirety of Sunday’s game, perhaps in part because of Grant’s response.
Grant tallied 10 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting, but his interior defense equally contributed to the 6-foot-9 sophomore matching a season-high with 21 minutes.
Purnell started Grant in the second half instead of Sykes because the Tigers had outscored the Yellow Jackets by 14 when Grant was on the floor in the first half.
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“He did a good job with (Tyler) Hansbrough up at UNC in terms of just matching his physicalness,” Purnell said. “He just continued to play that way.”
Not so masterpiece. Senior wing K.C. Rivers has now played in 84 wins, most by any individual in program history. Cliff Hammonds (2004-08) and Elden Campbell (1986-90) had 83.
But Rivers’ shooting woes have coincided with a sufficient dip in Clemson’s shooting.
Rivers went 2-for-7 for 6 points and has failed to reach double digits three of the past four games while shooting 34.3 percent the past six games.
The Tigers, who shot 37.5 percent, have made 42.4 percent or worse each of the past six games, with four of those dipping below 40 percent.
And ones. At 0-6 in the ACC, Georgia Tech is off to its worst conference start since 2001-02, when it dropped the opening seven league games. .æ.æ. Sophomore point guard Demontez Stitt had five assists, matching his high the previous nine games. .æ.æ. Clemson’s 74.2 percent free-throw percentage marked its third-best showing in games with more than 10 attempts. It made 16 of 18 (88.9) against Wofford and 16 of 20 (80.0) at USC.