In their first ACC Tournament win since 2011, Clemson advances to the third round to face the Duke Blue Devils tonight at the Greensboro Coliseum. The Tigers defeated Georgia Tech for the third time this season and won their 20th game for the first time since 2011. Clemson has never before been 3-0 in a season against the Yellow Jackets. The last time the Tigers beat a single team three times in one season was in 2005 (Maryland). This also marks only the 13th time in Clemson basketball history that the team won 20 games in a single season. Twenty wins is also the most in program history for a team coming off a losing season (13-18 in the 2012-2013 season).
Georgia Tech was ahead for the majority of the first half and left Clemson playing catch-up. For the sixth time this season, Clemson rallied from a halftime deficit to win the game. During the game, the Tigers shot 86% at the free throw line, making 25 of 29. In the final seconds of regulation, Georgia Tech’s Daniel Miller sunk a jump shot that tied the game at 55, sending them into overtime for the second night in a row. Georgia Tech also played into overtime against Boston College last night.
K.J. McDaniels scored in the double digits for the 28th time this season with 18 points, even though he only made four field goals and was playing with an injured shoulder. He made 10 of his 11 free throws of the night. McDaniels blocked two shots, bringing his season total up to 85.
Damarcus Harrison and Rod Hall joined McDaniels in double digit scoring, Harrison with 12 with 10 after halftime, and Hall with 10, all after halftime. Harrison also grabbed seven rebounds and had two steals. Nnoko blocked six shots, Blossomgame grabbed nine rebounds, and Djitte scored four points, his most since he also scored four against Virginia.
Coming off the loss against Pitt last week, Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said, “The Pitt loss was brutal in a lot of ways. To be honest, we just moved past it. We had a meeting on Sunday where we just said the regular season was over. It was the start of a new season, and we needed to play our best basketball now.”
Clemson will face Duke tonight for a chance to advance to the semifinals on Saturday as well as for redemption and possible a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The last time the Tigers and the Blue Devils faced off, Clemson defeated Duke, ranked 16th at the time. Clemson’s K.J. McDaniels was voted the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and Duke’s Jabari Parker was voted Freshman Player of the Year. Tonight’s matchup is either going to be a blowout or one of the best games of the tournament.