Tigers Nip Tech to Remain Undefeated


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - Of all the plays Paul Hewitt could have been telling his Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to defend in the final seconds Saturday, the one Clemson ran couldn't have been one of them.


Junior forward James Mays took an inbound pass at midcourt and drove all the way to the basket, hitting a left-handed layup in the lane with 2.2 seconds remaining to give Clemson a stunning 75-74 victory over Tech Saturday afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum. The victory, which came before an announced crowd of 9,317, allowed the 23rd-ranked Tigers to remain the nation's only undefeated team.


Earlier Saturday, No. 1 UCLA suffered it's first loss of the season at the hand of Oregon, 68-66.


The win, which improved Clemson to 16-0 (2-0 ACC), was eerily similar to the win at Florida State earlier this week. Both final possessions began with 6.5 seconds on the clock. Both had to come the length of the floor.



Both ended with layups in traffic that, as it turned out, kept the Tigers' perfect season alive.


"I didn't want to leave the ball uncovered, and I think they passed it to the guy that we wanted to have the ball," said Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt. "I think if you have your choice between Hamilton, Hammonds or Mays taking it to the basket which one would you pick? the only thing that I told our guys was to not try and grab the rebound, but just tip it out. Don't fight over it.


"Mays just made a great play moving to his left. That's outstanding for a big man."


Mays' game-winner was the final salvo in a frenzy of big shots fired by both teams down the stretch.


It began with Yellow Jacket freshman Thaddeus Young nailing a corner 3-pointer at 3:34 remaining to pull his team within one at 69-68. Cliff Hammonds followed with a floater in the lane for Clemson at 2:55, but another Tech freshman - Jarvis Crittenton - rebounded a teammate's miss and drove for a layup to again pull the Yellow Jackets within one, 71-70, with 1:49 to go.


Both teams missed scoring opportunities over the next minute, and when Mays lost control of the ball and fouled Jeremis Smith with :33.4 remaining, Georgia Tech (11-4, 0-2) had a chance to take the lead. They did just that, 72-71, when Smith calmly hit both free throws.


But Hammonds, the hero of the FSU victory three days earlier, answered back with another driving layup in the lane with 21.1 seconds to go, putting the Tigers ahead again 73-72.


Tech wouldn't be denied, however, as Crittenton responded with a short jumper from the baseline to give the Jackets a 74-73 advantage with 6.5 seconds to go.


After a timeout, Booker's inbound pass to Mays on the Georgia Tech side of halfcourt was perfect, and Mays took care of the rest. His basket and the subsequent off-target desperation three-quarter court heave by Tech's Mouhammad Faye as time expired touched off a wild celebration on the floor - fans storming the court and dancing loud and long as the weary Yellow Jackets sulked off the floor.


"James is the second option on that play," Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell said. "We tried running it in practice (Friday) with four seconds on the clock and we didn't get the shot off. So we knew we needed at least five seconds in order to run the play."


Mays' heroics capped off a huge second half for him. He scored 14 of his 16 points and claimed five of his seven rebounds after the break.


After sitting Mays down the stretch in the first half because of foul trouble, Purnell knew the Tigers would need a big performance out of him in the second if they were to gain a victory.


"We were off a bit down the stretch in the first half with James on the bench, and I went into halftime thinking maybe I should have played him even with the two fouls," said Purnell. "But the fact that he sat out probably kept him in the game at the end. He's a big-time player, and he really elevated his game for us today when we needed it."


Mays had plenty of help, especially from Hammonds and K.C. Rivers.


While Hammonds (17 points) was hitting tough shot after tough shot in the paint, it was Rivers who kept Clemson from being further behind than 34-29 at the break. Rivers' 10 first-half points off the bench helped the Tigers erase an early eight-point deficit and turn it into a 28-20 lead heading into the final five-an-a-half minutes of the half.


But Tech closed the first half with a 14-1 run to take the five-point lead into the locker room.


Crittenton led Georgia Tech with 22 points, while Young added 15, Ra'Sean Dickey 12 and Anthony Morrow 10.


Tech's Zach Peacock was ejected from the game with 13:12 remaining for committing his second flagrant foul of the afternoon.


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VISITORS: Georgia Tech 11-4,0-2
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
32 Jeremis Smith....... f  1-1    0-0    2-2    1  2  3   4   4  1  0  0  1  21
33 Thaddeus Young...... f  7-10   1-2    0-0    1  4  5   0  15  4  5  1  1  35
04 Ra'Sean Dickey...... c  5-5    0-0    2-2    0  7  7   4  12  0  2  2  0  29
01 Javaris Crittenton.. g  7-13   0-0    8-9    2  3  5   1  22  6  3  0  1  37
11 Mouhammad Faye...... g  3-5    0-0    1-3    3  1  4   4   7  0  4  0  0  16
05 Mario West..........    1-2    0-0    0-0    1  1  2   4   2  2  1  2  1  25
13 D'Andre Bell........    0-2    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  1  0  0   7
23 Anthony Morrow......    4-10   2-6    0-0    0  4  4   2  10  0  1  0  0  15
35 Zach Peacock........    1-1    0-0    0-0    1  2  3   2   2  0  0  0  0  15
   TEAM................                            1  1             1
   Totals..............   29-49   3-9   13-16   9 25 34  22  74 13 18  5  4 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-25 52.0%   2nd Half: 16-24 66.7%   Game: 59.2%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  0-3   0.0%   2nd Half:  3-6  50.0%   Game: 33.3%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  8-9  88.9%   2nd Half:  5-7  71.4%   Game: 81.3%    0


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HOME TEAM: Clemson 16-0,2-0
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
32 Sam Perry........... f  1-2    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   3   2  0  1  0  1   9
40 James Mays.......... f  5-7    0-0    6-8    5  2  7   4  16  3  3  0  0  24
35 Trevor Booker....... c  3-6    0-0    5-6    6  1  7   2  11  1  1  1  2  33
03 Vernon Hamilton..... g  2-13   0-4    0-0    0  2  2   2   4  3  1  0  2  34
25 Cliff Hammonds...... g  6-13   2-5    3-4    0  3  3   3  17  2  1  0  1  36
01 K.C. Rivers.........    7-17   4-8    2-2    2  3  5   2  20  1  1  0  1  32
11 A.J. Tyler..........    0-1    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
12 Raymond Sykes.......    1-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   2  0  0  1  0   8
15 David Potter........    0-4    0-2    1-2    0  2  2   1   1  1  0  0  1   9
24 Matt Morris.........    0-1    0-1    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  1  0  0  0   2
42 Julius Powell.......    0-1    0-0    2-4    1  0  1   0   2  1  0  1  0  12
   TEAM................                         4     4
   Totals..............   25-66   6-21  19-26  19 14 33  18  75 13  8  3  8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-38 28.9%   2nd Half: 14-28 50.0%   Game: 37.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-14 21.4%   2nd Half:  3-7  42.9%   Game: 28.6%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-6  66.7%   2nd Half: 15-20 75.0%   Game: 73.1%    4


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Officials: Jamie Luckie, Mike Wood, Bernard Clinton
Technical fouls: Georgia Tech-None. Clemson-None.
Attendance: 9317
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Georgia Tech..................   34   40  -   74
Clemson.......................   29   46  -   75
ID-472551

Points in the paint-GT 40,CU 32. Points off turnovers-GT 12,CU 15.
2nd chance points-GT 17,CU 22. Fast break points-GT 12,CU 4.
Bench points-GT 14,CU 25. Score tied-7 times. Lead changed-11 times.
Last FG-GT 2nd-00:09, CU 2nd-00:04.
Largest lead-GT by 9 2nd-15:09, CU by 8 1st-05:31.

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