Bulldogs Hand Tigers First Loss
ATHENS, Ga. – Mike Mercer scored a career high 22 points and Georgia held off a late Clemson rally for a 72-69 victory over the Tigers before 9,204 Wednesday at Stegeman Coliseum.
The loss was the first of the year of the Tigers (11-1) who were off to its best start since the 1996-1996 season. With its eighth victory, Georgia (8-3) matched its total all of last season.
Clemson picked off a pass with just under 40 seconds to play and Hamilton drove to the left of the lane, but his floating shot came up short. Georgia's Younes Idrissi tipped the ball to Billy Humphrey, who fed Levi Stukes on a breakaway layup with 11 seconds remaining to put the Bulldogs up by three.
Clemson's Shawan Robinson long game-tying 3-point attempt came up well short before the buzzer.
"I thought our defense wasn't consistent enough throughout the night, particularly the offensive glass,” said Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell. “The defense got us back in the ball game but we didn’t sustain it enough coming down the stretch.”
Stukes finished with 17 points, six rebounds and five steals for the Bulldogs.
Clemson got 14 points from freshman K.C. Rivers and 11 from Sam Perry. Clemson played its first game without sophomore forward James Mays, who was declared academically ineligible for the rest of the season before the game. Mays was averaging 9.2 points and 7.6 rebounds a game.