Posted: Friday, March 14th 2014 at 10:00am
Clemson knocks off Tech in second round of ACC tourney
By The Associated Press
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Still smarting from letting a game slip away in overtime, Clemson refused to let it happen again.
Damarcus Harrison scored six of his 12 points in the final minute of OT to help the Tigers beat Georgia Tech 69-65 in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Thursday night.
Clemson blew a five-point lead in the final seconds of what became an overtime loss to Pittsburgh five nights earlier in the regular season finale that gave the Panthers the No. 5 seed in this tournament.
"The guys didn't want the same thing to happen from the Pitt game," Clemson's Jaron Blossomgame said. "We didn't want to come out in overtime and have them jump on us early. We just had to hold our composure and go out there and compete like we did in the second half."
All-ACC guard K.J. McDaniels scored 18 points on 4-of-15 shooting to help the sixth-seeded Tigers (20-11) earn their second ACC tournament victory since 2008.
Next up: No. 7 Duke (24-7), the tournament's third seed, on Friday night in the quarterfinals.
Clemson beat the Blue Devils in their only regular-season meeting 72-59 on Jan. 11 and Harrison called that one "our best win so far."
Trae Golden scored 23 points and Robert Carter Jr. added 13 points for the 11th-seeded Yellow Jackets (16-17).
Daniel Miller sent Georgia Tech to overtime for a second-straight night by hitting a fadeaway jumper that tied it at 55 with 0.9 seconds left in regulation.
"Our guys showed a pretty good amount of fight," Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said.
Harrison put Clemson ahead to stay when his full-court layup with 44.1 seconds left in OT made it 63-62.
Tech's Corey Heyward was called for an offensive foul for colliding into Harrison while handing off to Golden with 26.9 seconds left. Harrison hit four free throws in the final 26.1 seconds, sandwiching those sets around a pair from Landry Nnoko, to put the Tigers up 69-62.
Golden then hit a meaningless 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left for the final margin.
Rod Hall had 10 points for the Tigers, who held Georgia Tech to 37 percent shooting and haven't allowed a team to reach 70 points in regulation since North Carolina did it on Jan. 26.
They beat Georgia Tech three times this season by a combined 16 points.
McDaniels had to work for his points: He played with a protective strap around his left shoulder and hit 10 of 11 free throws. Brownell says his star guard has been fighting the shoulder injury for about a week.
"KJ's battling right now," Brownell said. "Unfortunately, I think it's getting progressively a little more problematic. We're trying to rest him and do some things to try to help him, but you can tell it's bothering him."
Kammeon Holsey finished with 10 points for the Yellow Jackets, who at times appeared gassed late after needing OT to beat Boston College in the first round Thursday night and had their three-game winning streak snapped.
"Obviously, a tough way to end a pretty good run," Gregory said. "We did a lot of good things tonight and it's been like many of the games that we've played against Clemson, back and forth. ... It usually comes down to making plays at the end of a game, and they made more than we did."
They went without a field goal for 7 minutes late in regulation in this one before Golden hit a high bank shot to pull them to 55-53 with 55.8 seconds left.
Golden's drive down the left side of the lane bounced off the rim and off the hands of both McDaniels and Marcus Georges-Hunt and directly to Miller - whose fadeaway jumper swished through with 0.9 seconds left.
Hall's long baseball pass for McDaniels was broken up by Georges-Hunt as the buzzer sounded to end regulation.
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