Clemson Falls to Georgia Tech, 66-56


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ATLANTA -- Clemson has finished its regular season, but it’s still not clear how much improvement there was during Larry Shyatt’s fifth year.


With Shyatt’s job hanging in the balance, the Tigers could have finished in fifth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a win over Georgia Tech. However, a second-half surge gave the Yellow Jackets(14-13, 7-9) a 66-56 win over the Tigers (15-12, 6-10).

It left the Tigers having to wait for games involving North Carolina and Virginia on Sunday to see when their next game will be. Clemson can still end up in the Thursday conference tournament play-in game for the fifth straight season or could end up as high as sixth in the league.

“We’ll be the sixth, seventh or eighth seed,” said Shyatt. “We will go there with the attitude that we have to go the NCAA tournament to be champions of this tournament or we will have our name called out for another tournament Sunday evening.”

Ed Scott cut Tech’s lead to 51-46 on a jumper with 7:11 left in the game. However, Clemson didn’t hit another field goal for four minutes.

Tech’s David Nelson made a layup and hit a free throw to give Tech a 54-46 lead with 5:30 left in the game. A Chris Bosh dunk and two free throws by Barry Elder put Tech up by 11 with 5:00 left in the game. Isma’il Muhammad tipped in a miss by Bosh to give Tech a 60-48 lead. Clemson never cut the lead to less than eight the rest of the game.

“That was exactly the time and play (Nelson’s layup) where I thought the game was more or less in either team’s hands,” said Shyatt. “I really thought we got three good looks at it. As I recall, one of them was a missed dunk by ford and one was a missed layup by Ed Scott. We got good shots. We just didn’t finish them.”

Clemson’s biggest lead came in the first half after Tomas Nagys hit a shot to give the Tigers a 23-17 lead with 8:00 left in the period. The lead lasted until a dunk by Bosh with 2:00 left in the first half that put Tech up 27-25.

Two free throws by Ed Scott gave Clemson a 29-28 lead with 45 seconds left in the half and Clemson was poised to take the last shot of the half with that lead. A steal and a layup by Elder gave the Yellow Jackets a 30-29 lead at the half.

“I thought we had good control of the first half and we really limited their fast break points. Second half they did get a little surge on us, but I was proud that at the nine-minute mark we had cut that down to five again. We were back in the game with a nice three by Babalola.”

Babalola, who lead the Tigers with 17 points, hit a three pointer with 17:50 left in the game to tie Georgia Tech 34.34. Two free throws by Nagys tied the game again 36-36, but it was the last time the Tigers would be that close.

Tech went on an 11-0 run over the next six minutes. A layup by Jarrett Jack gave Tech a 47-36 lead with 11:00 left in the game.

“You know, they pounded us on the glass,” said Shyatt. “And that is something that has not been symptomatic of this team. I think they won the bulk of this battle on the glass. Actually on both ends. Us missing short shots and them battling and getting extra shots off missed shots.”

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