CLEMSON, S.C. — Continuing to establish himself as a clutch performer with a knack for coming up with big-time shots in crunch time, Nick Honor banked in a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining at Littlejohn Coliseum on Friday. The pull-up three from several feet behind the arc capped off a 5-0 Clemson run to close out the game, as the Tigers won a thriller over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets by a final score of 74-72.
In a contest that featured plenty of second-half scoring, Clemson (13-5, 7-5) shot 46.2 percent from the floor, while Georgia Tech (9-8, 5-6) finished with a field goal percentage of 52.0. The Tigers netted nine 3-pointers on the night and made 17-of-19 free throws. Clemson outrebounded Georgia Tech 31-24 and held the Yellow Jackets’ bench to just two points. As for the Tigers’ bench, it contributed 25 points. Additionally, Clemson scored 28 points in the paint and dished out 13 assists.
Matching his career high, Simms scored 25 points to lead all players in the scoring column. He was 9-for-16 from the field and sank a trio of 3-pointers. Honor made both of his 3-point attempts, including the aforementioned game-winner, and totaled 12 points. Jonathan Baehre and Al-Amir Dawes each scored eight points, and Clyde Trapp chipped in six points to go along with his eight rebounds. For Georgia Tech, Michael Devoe recorded 23 points, six assists and five steals.
Simms braced the Tigers out of the gate, scoring five of their first seven points. He and Olivier-Maxence Prosper knocked down a trey apiece in the early goings. An impressive 3-point play, which came via a contested layup, by Simms pulled Clemson within two points of Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets led by nine on two separate occasions in the first half, but the Tigers closed out the half with a 5-0 run to trim their deficit to four. At the half, Georgia Tech led 30-26.
Al-Amir Dawes made a circus shot of a layup as part of a 3-point play not long after the intermission ended. A pair of Hunter Tyson free throws gave Clemson the lead at 38-37. At the 13:48 mark, Honor netted a 3-pointer after receiving a feed from a driving Clyde Trapp. Later on, Trapp and Dawes made shots from beyond the arc on back-to-back possessions, with Dawes’ shot placing the Tigers ahead by three.
With 7:55 remaining, Dawes drove the lane before flinging a pass out to a wide-open Simms, who buried a go-ahead three. Clemson sported a 54-53 advantage at that point, and a back-and-forth duel was carried out the rest of the way. A dunk by Jonathan Baehre, which Simms assisted on, with approximately 11 seconds left decreased the Tigers’ deficit to one. Georgia Tech’s Jose Alvarado proceeded to miss a pair of free throws, leading to Honor banking in the game-winner from deep to give Clemson a thrilling 74-72 victory.
On Wednesday, Feb. 17, Clemson and Notre Dame (8-10, 5-7) will square off at the Joyce Center in Notre Dame, Ind. The matchup between the Tigers and the Fighting Irish is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. and air on a regional sports network (RSN).
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Head Coach Brad Brownell
Opening statement:“That was a heck of a game. Georgia Tech is hard for us to guard. Their guards are excellent with their ability to drive. We made a bunch of shots in the second half tonight and played with great confidence down the stretch. We made a lot of big plays to keep us in the game.”
On Nick Honor’s game-winner:“We set a nice ball screen at midcourt and got Nick loose, and he banked one in. That was a great fight and a terrific win.”
On Aamir Simms’ performance:“Aamir was fantastic. Being able to play through him really helped us and settled us the longer the game went on.”
On the keys to the game:“We did some nice things in terms of being aggressive. Finishing the first half the way we did gave us some energy at halftime. I thought we would play better offensively in the second half, and we did. It was a game of scoring in the second half. That doesn’t always work to our advantage, but, today, it did.”