March 4, 2006
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CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – Akin Akingbala had a career-high 22 points, and Shawan Robinson scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half to rally Clemson to a 95-82 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Akingbala and Robinson, both seniors, closed their regular season careers in stellar fashion as the Tigers (18-11, 7-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) recorded their highest victory total since the 1998-99 team won 20.
Vernon Hamilton led Clemson with 24 points off the bench and had four steals to set the school career record.
Both Akingbala and Robinson started slowly, though, combining for only 9 points in the first half as Clemson fell behind 37-34 at the break.
After halftime, the pair got going and sent the Tigers to their fourth win in their last five games.
Akingbala had three straight baskets to start the second half before Robinson got going from the outside with the first of his five 3-pointers in the period.
Robinson tied things at 48-all with another long-range basket, then hit two more in the next two minutes as Clemson moved in front 56-50.
When Georgia Tech (11-16, 4-12) cut the lead to 70-69 on Lewis Clinch’s 3-pointer with 6:13 to go, Akingbala followed a missed 3-pointer by Robinson with a putback for the Tigers.
Clinch had a basket to draw the Yellow Jackets back within a point. But Sam Perry had a basket and a free throw, and Robinson another 3-pointer for a 78-71 lead.
Georgia Tech’s slide from one of the ACC’s elite teams continued. The Yellow Jackets have lost 13 of their past 15 games and head to next week’s ACC tournament as a 10th or 11th seed.
Clinch led Georgia Tech with 22 points, while Zam Fredrick had 17 and Ra’Sean Dickey added 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Clemson heads the league tournament no worse than a ninth seed.
Hamilton’s four steals gave him 196 for his three seasons, surpassing the old mark of 194 held by Terrell McIntyre (1995-99).
Akingbala’s point total better his old mark of 21, set twice earlier this season.
Dickey’s inside play and Anthony Morrow’s outside shooting pushed the Yellow Jackets in front. Morrow had 11 points on three first-half 3-pointers along with seven rebounds in the opening period. Dickey had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Dickey’s tip in tied things at 33-all with 1:56 to go, then after Fredrick’s jumper, added one more driving layup seconds before halftime as Georgia Tech led 37-34 at the break.
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