GAME NOTES: The second round of the ACC Tournament will end on Thursday evening, when the sixth-seeded Clemson Tigers take on the 11th-seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Greensboro Coliseum.
The winner of this game will move into Friday's quarterfinal round against three-seed Duke.
Clemson boasted some of the nation's best defensive play this season, but that didn't propel the Tigers into conference contention. Brad Brownell's squad had a marquee win in mid-January over Duke, but nothing of real note after that. The team did however, win four of its last six games to finish with a winning record in league play at 10-8 and is just one win from recording the 13th 20- win season in school history.
Georgia Tech really had a problem with consistent play in the ACC this season, finishing with a 6-12 league mark, but the team was able to build some momentum at season's end with back-to-back victories, including a huge road win at Syracuse (67-62). The team's good fortunes carried over into first- round action on Wednesday, as the Yellow Jackets outlasted Boston College, 73-70 in overtime.
Clemson posted its fourth straight regular-season sweep of the Georgia Tech this season and has won nine straight meetings overall to take a 65-59 lead in the all-time series.
Tech almost let one slip away on Wednesday, as Boston College went on a 10-0 run to tie the game with under a minute to play, forcing overtime. However, the Yellow Jackets went on a 7-3 run in the waning moments of the extra session to earn the win and advance. Robert Carter Jr. led the way with a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds. Marcus Georges-Hunt poured in 18 points, while Trae Golden and Kammeon Holsey tacked on 14 and 12 points, respectively. As they proved against BC, the Yellow Jackets possess some balance and scoring depth, as four players ended the regular season averaging double figures. Golden entered the postseason leading the team in both scoring (12.9 ppg) and assists (3.1 apg). Georges-Hunt (11.6 ppg), Daniel Miller (11.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and Carter (11.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg) are all capable as well.
Allowing just 57.6 ppg, the Tigers finished in the top five in the nation in scoring defense, albeit second in the ACC (behind Virginia). Opponents shot just .397 from the floor against Clemson this year (tied for second in the ACC), including a league-low .281 from behind the arc. With that kind of defensive play, Clemson was able to mask its lack of scoring depth for the most part. Still, K.J. McDaniels had a big season, as the 6-foot-6 junior earned All-ACC First-Team honors, averaging 17.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Rod Hall is a distant second in the scoring column at 9.6 ppg, but tops on the team in assists (4.0 apg).
The Tigers have had the Yellow Jackets' number for some time and should be able to continue their success thanks to another stellar defensive effort.
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