GAME NOTES: Two teams looking to make a late push up the conference standings collide at McCamish Pavilion on Thursday, as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets play host to the Clemson Tigers in an ACC affair.
Brad Brownell's Tigers have had plenty of issues with consistency this season and as a result, are sporting a mediocre 12-11 record overall. Things have been even tougher in ACC play, with Clemson currently on a three-game skein that has dropped the team to a mere 4-7 in-conference. Last weekend, the Tigers suffered a heart-breaking 58-57 home loss to NC State.
Brian Gregory's Yellow Jackets are one of the nation's youngest squads and have suffered their own issues in that regard. Georgia Tech is a half game behind Clemson in the conference standings at just 3-7, but two of those wins have come in the month of February, including a 64-54 road win at Virginia Tech this past weekend.
This is a highly competitive series, with Clemson clinging to a 62-59 advantage all-time. The Tigers have won the last six meetings and are seeking the regular-season sweep after recording a 63-60 victory at home on Jan. 29.
For the second time in conference play this year, Clemson was done in by a last-second 3-pointer, this time by NC State's Scott Wood which propelled the Wolfpack to a one-point win last time out. Despite Clemson shooting just .386 from the floor in the game, three Tigers notched double figures in the loss, led by Jordan Roper's 17 points. K.J. McDaniels and Devin Booker finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Consistent scoring has been a problem for Clemson this year, as the team comes in averaging just 63.0 ppg. Still, strong defensive play, featuring scoring defense of just 58.0 ppg allowed has kept the team competitive. Booker leads the team in both scoring (12.3 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg) from his center position. McDaniels (11.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and Milton Jennings (10.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg) complete the frontcourt.
Although the Yellow Jackets shot under 40 percent from the floor against Virginia Tech, the team was able to earn a double-digit win by holding the Hokies to an ugly .306 performance, while outrebounding the home team 49-35. Marcus Georges-Hunt and Kammeon Holsey led the way offensively for Georgia Tech with 13 points apiece.
Georgia Tech is currently starting three freshmen game-in and game-out. The offensive production has been sluggish at times at a modest 65.0 ppg, but the defensive effort has been much more consistent, with Tech limiting foes to just 59.3 ppg and holding them under 40 percent shooting (.381). Georges-Hunt is one of the freshmen and is the only player on the roster currently averaging double-figure scoring at 10.4 ppg. Another freshman, Robert Carter Jr. is just below that mark (9.8 ppg) and paces the Yellow Jackets on the boards (6.7 rpg).
The Tigers have really struggled on the road, while the young Yellow Jackets have had most of their success on their home floor. That should be enough of an advantage for Georgia Tech in this one.
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