Tech Falls to Clemson in Close Game
By Rebecca Washney
Atlanta— The Yellow Jackets extend their four-game losing streak after falling to Clemson 72-70 in a close game Sunday night at McCamish Pavilion. “It’s not the first time this has happened to us in the ACC, where I thought we played well and lost the game,” Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner said.
In the end, it was the 3-point shots that made the difference, Georgia Tech (10-11, 3-5 ACC) making only 45.5 percent of their 3-point shots and Clemson (17-4, 6-3 ACC), making 47.6 percent.
Clemson senior guard Gabe DeVoe hit 15 points with his 3-pointers alone, getting his career-high with 25 points total. “I was really proud with the way our guys competed tonight,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “We just hung in there.” Tech took the lead early in the first half, junior forward Abdoulaye Gueye putting the first points on the board and Tech scoring the game’s first seven points. The Yellow Jackets held the lead for the first 22:12 of the game and made 75 percent of their shots, 12 out of 16.
The highest point gap for Tech was leading by 12 points in the first half, and they held a 38-30 advantage with just a minute and a half to go before halftime. “We played well for the most part, and what I felt what would hurt us was two things; we had that lead in the first half, but we just haven’t been able to bury a team,” Pastner said. “The second thing is in the start of the second half [Elijah] Thomas got a couple of buckets on Ben [Lammers], and we got a little cold there, and that made the difference in the game.”
The Jackets ended the first half leading 36-38 but fell behind quickly in the second half, allowing Clemson to score the next 13 points and take the lead. The remainder of the game saw Tech making only 13 of their 36 shots, a mere 36.1 percent. In the last 41 seconds of play Josh Okogie drew a foul and tied up the game by making both of his free throws, but Clemson’s Marcquise Reed came back quickly with a layup to end the game at 72-70. Okogie led the scoring for Tech with 26 points, followed by Abdoulaye Gueye with 14. Senior center Ben Lammers had only 10 points, and nine rebounds, and freshman Jose Alvarado scored 11 points.
The Jackets had only nine turnovers, a huge improvement since totaling 49 turnovers in the last three games. “We took care of the ball for the most part,” Pastner said. “We only had nine turnovers, three in the first half and six in the second half.” Alvarado got a lot of playing time, racking up 40 minutes of the available 200 minutes, Pastner crediting his amount of playing to time to helping Alvarado develop for the future. Pastner, who has previously mentioned this would be a hard year for the young team, is still happy with the way the team is improving and growing.
“I really like this team, our team, we’re getting better,” Pastner said. “I know it doesn’t show maybe on the scoreboard and I understand that’s what we’re being judged by, but I’m telling you we’re getting better. Individual guys are getting better. I see the big picture, and I have a clear vision of where we’re headed.”
Georgia Tech faces Syracuse next at McCamish Pavilion, Wednesday, Jan. 31.
Photos By: William Curtis