CLEMSON, S.C. — Coming up short in a nail biter at Littlejohn Coliseum, the Clemson University men’s basketball team closed out its regular season with a close loss to Georgia Tech. Playing on his Senior Night, Tevin Mack showed out for the Tigers on Friday, but the Yellow Jackets won 65-62.
Clemson (15-15, 9-11) knocked down 35.0 percent of its shots, and Georgia Tech (17-14, 11-9) finished with a shooting percentage of 42.9. Both teams sank six 3-pointers and tallied 24 points in the paint on the evening. At the foul line, the Tigers went 14-for-18, and the Yellow Jackets went 23-for-28. Defensively, Clemson forced 19 turnovers, which led to 25 Clemson points. The Tigers recorded 30 rebounds, 11 steals and 10 assists.
Mack led Clemson with 19 points, going 6-for-18 from the field and making 4-of-6 free throws. Aamir Simms compiled 12 points and eight rebounds in his 21st double-digit scoring output of the season, and Curran Scott registered 11 points and four boards.
The Tigers went on several runs over the course of the game, including a 9-0 run in the first half that saw Clemson go up 17-12. Mack made 3-balls on back-to-back possessions to put the Tigers up by five at the 11:17 mark. Georgia Tech responded with a 10-0 run that culminated in the Yellow Jackets taking a 5-point lead later in the half. Georgia Tech went on to lead 39-28 at halftime.
Mack and Scott braced the Tigers with nine points apiece in the first half, and Clemson came out firing to start the second half, connecting on treys on its first two possessions. Also in the second half, Simms cut Clemson’s deficit down to one by going on a 7-0 run by himself. The Tigers converted several turnovers into points in the second half, going up by nine with 5:15 remaining. However, the Yellow Jackets fought back and eventually closed out the game on a 6-0 run. Mack shot a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it clanged off the iron, resulting in Georgia Tech securing the 65-62 victory.
Next up for the Tigers is the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., which will take place March 10-14 at Greensboro Coliseum.
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POSTGAME QUOTESHead Coach Brad BrownellOpening statement:“We let one get away. We didn’t guard Georgia Tech well, and there wasn’t enough effort and positive energy out there. We rallied at halftime and really played great the first 15 minutes of the second half. We played a stretch just about as good as we could have. Georgia Tech’s hard to guard. That’s why they’re playing as well as anyone in the league here down the stretch. They do a good job of isolating and finding matchups and 1-on-1s.”
On the keys to the game:“Give [Georgia Tech] credit. They played well down the stretch. We made two mistakes on ball screen coverages in the last five minutes. I just hate it. The way we’ve played at home this year, and to let them get away with one in the last time we’ll be in Littlejohn this year, is tough.”
On Tevin Mack’s performance:
“He played well tonight. It’s great to see him go off with a good performance. He had a good week of practice, and once we got back from Virginia Tech, he had a great practice. He got in a good rhythm there in the second half and helped us take the lead.”
Georgia Tech Head Coach Josh Pastner
Opening statement:“I’m a big Coach Brownell fan. I think Clemson’s really good and very well-coached. I think [Brownell] is one of the best coaches in the country, and I think their team is really good. I just want to give a shout-out to the team, Brownell and his staff. I’m really proud of our young men. To be able to win a game like that against a Clemson team is great. When we had the lead in the first half, they stormed back, and we found a way late to be able to get a win.”
On the keys to the game:“The players saved me. I didn’t do a great job in the middle part of the second half with some of my play calling, which is a credit to Clemson’s defense. I can’t give enough credit to my staff. My staff is incredible. They’ve done such a good job of keeping me aligned and getting our guys better.”
On Georgia Tech’s season:“To get to 11 ACC wins, that’s only been done three times altogether in Georgia Tech’s history. We’ve had five ACC road wins for the first time since 1995-96. We had six-straight ACC home wins to end the season, which was also the first time since 1995-96. This team has really set a great tone.”
Clemson wing Tevin Mack
On late moments of the second half
“I think we fought hard in the second half. Started off good for the first ten minutes of the second half. We held them to 11 points up to that point. We made some errors on offense, silly turnovers, and then just didn’t get stops on defense down the stretch that we needed to get to win the game.”