Hammonds, Tigers Swat Yellow Jackets


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CLEMSON - This time there was no hangover.

Clemson rebounded from last Sunday's gut-wrenching loss at North Carolina by dominating visiting Georgia Tech Thursday night at Littlejohn Coliseum, 82-67. The victory improved the Tigers to 18-6 overall, 6-4 in the ACC. Clemson has won five of six league games at home.

The first time the Tigers lost to the Tar Heels, 90-88 at Littlejohn in the first ACC game of the season, Oliver Purnell's team also fell the next time out to UNC-Charlotte - also at home.

But there were no such worries on this night, as Clemson jumped out to an 8-0 lead at game's beginning and held serve the entire night.

?Anytime you can get out to a quick start, it?s good," said Purnell. "We were able to quickly establish ourselves tonight. This sets up another big ball game against NC State. We?d love to get another one on the road.?

The Tigers led by 12 at the half, and by as many as 25 over the final 20 minutes.

They did it behind yet another fantastic night from senior Cliff Hammonds. Hammonds, averaging 20 points a game over his last three, finished the night with 22. He hit 4-of-6 shots from behind the 3-point arc, and also kept the Yellow Jackets (11-12, 4-5) honest with his patented drives to the basket.

?I can?t imagine anyone playing better than he is," Purnell said. "He?s scoring, he?s guarding, he?s handling the basketball, he?s handling pressure. The biggest thing he?s giving us right now is leadership.?

Demontez Stitt, in his second game back from knee surgery, again came off the bench to score 13. James Mays added 11.

Clemson shot 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) from the 3-point line, and turned in a 71.9 percent (23-of-32) performance from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Clemson held the Yellow Jackets to just 2-of-15 from behind the 3-point line.

?We kept the pedal to the metal, in trucking terms," said Purnell. "It was nice to see; we wanted our defense to get better, because we let up last game. We pride ourselves on playing hard; if you watch us, you can see that.?

Zack Peacock topped Tech with 12 points, while Jeremis Smith added 10.

Clemson is back in action at 3 p.m. Saturday, traveling to N.C. State.

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