Commentary: Another Heartbreaking Loss


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON — Sooner or later it's bound to happen.


One of these nights Clemson is going to come out and score points in bunches,
and the opposition isn't going set a school offensive record and steal the
Tigers' thunder, not to mention the game.


Unfortunately, Wednesday wasn't that night.


Despite 41 points from Will Solomon, despite three other Tigers in double
figures, despite a thrilling comeback from 16 points down with 6:49 to go,
despite scoring 108 points...


Clemson still couldn't beat Georgia Tech at Littlejohn Coliseum.


The Yellow Jackets set a school ACC record for points in regulation (111) and
placed five players in double figures en route to dealing Clemson it's third
straight loss. This despite missing 5-of-6 free throws in the final 23
seconds and giving Solomon two wide-open looks in the final 16 ticks.


The first shot, a 15-footer from just right of the foul line, would have tied
the game at 110. The second, a 3-pointer from left of the key, would have put
Clemson ahead 111-110 with six seconds remaining.


But neither shot connected, and the disappointment shared by most of the
Littlejohn Coliseum patrons was exceeded only by the collective sigh of
relief coming from the Georgia Tech players, coaches and fans.


You have to feel bad for Clemson, yet at the same time admire the way Larry
Shyatt continues to get his team motivated to play.


This season alone there's been a one-point loss to then No. 7 Seton Hall,
rallying from 18 down to pull within two points late before losing to
Cincinnati in the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic, falling on a buzzer-beater in
overtime to Washington in the same tournament, being within four points of
highly-ranked Maryland in the final two minutes and trailing Wake Forest by
five inside the last three minutes on the road.


Yet despite each of these disheartening losses, Shyatt's Tigers continue to
put forth maximum effort. Even in the aftermath of Wednesday's defeat, you
get the sense No. 12 Virginia is going to get all it can handle when it comes
calling this Saturday.


The downside to all this is obvious: Clemson the program, or Shyatt the
coach, will get precious little respect until the team wins one of these
close games against superior teams.


And even though the improvement of this Tiger team over last year's version
should be easily noticed by even the most cynical critic, none of it matters
— outside of the locker room.


Inside, there is a coaching staff and group of players who believe. They
believe in themselves, they believe in the system, they believe the program
in headed in the right direction.


Now all they have to do is make believers out of everyone else, which may
prove to be the most daunting task of all.


Georgia Tech 111, CLEMSON 108

GEORGIA TECH (11-7)

Babul 5-7 3-3 14, Lewis 5-7 0-0 13, Jones 6-8 14-19 26, Akins 0-4
0-0 0, Fein 8-13 0-2 23, LaBarrie 2-4 3-4 7, Vines 3-6 0-2 9,
Lane 4-9 6-9 17, Brooks 1-1 0-0 2, Isenhour 0-0 0-0 0. Totals
34-59 26-39 111.

CLEMSON (10-9)

Clifton 2-6 2-2 7, Hobbs 2-5 1-3 5, Henderson 3-4 6-6 12,
Stockman 4-9 10-12 20, Solomon 13-22 8-9 41, McKnight 2-7 0-0 5,
Braddick 0-1 4-4 4, Nagys 0-0 2-2 2, Bains 4-4 1-4 12. Totals
30-58 34-42 108.

Halftime-Georgia Tech 59, Clemson 53. 3-Point goals-Georgia Tech
17-31 (Babul 1-1, Lewis 3-4, Akins 0-4, Fein 7-9, LaBarrie 0-2,
Vines 3-4, Lane 3-7), Clemson 14-28 (Clifton 1-4, Stockman 2-7,
Solomon 7-12, McKnight 1-2, Bains 3-3). Fouled out-Babul, Akins,
Vines, Hobbs, Henderson. Rebounds-Georgia Tech 27 (Jones 7),
Clemson 36 (Braddick 6). Assists-Georgia Tech 24 (Jones, Akins
6), Clemson 15 (Stockman 6). Total fouls-Georgia Tech 32, Clemson
31.

A-N/A.


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