CLEMSON - The most consistent thing about Clemson during its now seven-game
losing streak has been its inconsistency.
The Tigers' most recent loss - 74-50 Wednesday night to Georgia Tech in
Littlejohn Coliseum - was a lesson in offensive futility for the entire
evening. This after a scintillating performance in a 98-88 loss to No. 1 Duke
just four days earlier.
"I always think we're going to play over our heads, but tonight we didn't,"
Clemson (11-12, 2-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) head coach Larry Shyatt said.
"We dug such an (early) hole it made it very difficult for us."
Georgia Tech (10-13, 3-7), now winners of three straight, effectively put the
game away by halftime.
B.J. Elder (19 points) scored eight consecutive points - two 3-pointers and a
highlight reel reverse jam off a steal - to key a 22-6 run over a span of
eight minutes in the first half. The spurt took the Yellow Jackets' lead from
15-13 to 37-19 with just over 4:00 to go, and by halftime the margin was an
even 20, 44-24.
Elder's long-range marksmanship was the rule for Georgia Tech in the half,
rather than the exception. The Yellow Jackets hit 9-of-15 shots from behind
the arc in the first 20 minutes, the ninth time Clemson has given up at least
that many treys in a game at Littlejohn this season.
"It's all about hitting shots," said Tech coach Paul Hewitt. "When you hit
some shots it can make this game look easy."
Hitting shots is something Clemson struggled with all evening.
The Tigers connected on just 34 percent (17-of-50) of its field goals, and
made only 12-of-24 free throws. Guards Ed Scott and Tony Stockman combined to
3-of-17 from the field and 1-of-5 from the line.
"We wanted to throw them off balance by changing defenses and our pressure
out front," Hewitt said. "We didn't do anything special, just changing from
man-to-man to a zone, then mixing up our pressure. We tried to do that for a
long stretch of the game."
Shyatt tried to shake up things by pulling four starters - Stockman, Jamar
McKnight, Chris Hobbs and Ray Henderson - early in the second half when the
Yellow Jackets lead ballooned to 24 points.
Defensively, the ploy worked. As Shyatt continued to shuttle starters and
reserves in and out of the lineup, Tech went cold and hit just two field
goals over a span of 10:32.
But the closest Clemson could get was 16, 56-40, with 7:27 left in the game.
McKnight led Clemson with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting, the only Tiger to
reach double figures.
- The 24-point margin of victory was Tech's largest ever over Clemson in
- Tech shot better than 50 percent (28-of-54) from the field for the first
time in 29 games, dating back to last season.
- Clemson's usual rebounding advantage went by the boards Wednesday. Tech
held a 35-33 overall advantage, though Clemson did collect 14 offensive
rebounds to the Yellow Jackets' eight.
- Clemson radio play-by-play voice Jim Phillips missed his first game ever at
Littlejohn Coliseum Wednesday. Phillips, in his 34th year as the Voice of the
Tigers, was out with the flu.