In Brad Brownell's View
Overall thoughts: “It was a really gutsy performance by my guys. We knew GT was going to come in here ready to play and with a lot of confidence after the way they played against Wake. They came out firing and I thought we were maybe a half step slow the first few minutes. I thought our defense the last 30-35 minutes was really good. Offensively, it was really good to just get production from a bunch of different guys.
"I told our guys yesterday that I was going to play every guy in the first half and that we would need our bench and our post players that don’t play as much to step up, especially defensively. I thought the way they play inside-out, that foul trouble might be an issue, especially with Milt (Jennings) and (Devin) Booker. And, fatigue. It was an issue. GT does a really good job off a make or miss and they play very hard defensively, so some games are physical. They are pretty physical to play against, especially when it’s our third game in five nights. Rod was cramping, so just finding a way to win was very good.”
On playing 4 games in 9 days and staying tough: “We needed to win a game like this. Obviously, when we lost a tough one like Florida State it really hurt. And, NC State too for that matter. We were right there. To steal one in an unbelievable environment there would have been awesome, but to be able to come back twice like we have and hold tough, and winning our two home games, was huge for us. We are still trying to learn how to win and how to do things. A lot of guys in our program have to learn how to make big plays.
"Those were big free throws from KJ at the end. He had the ball at the end against Florida State and the potential to make a play and he really didn’t do it. Those guys have to realize they are the guys. You can’t always get the ball to Book. As much as you want to, that’s not always going to be an option. Milt isn’t a guy who creates as much, so those other guys need to step up to win some games. They need to make plays at the end of games. Today, it was free throws, which was good. It’s a learning experience for all of the young guys.”
Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory
Overall thoughts: “Give Clemson credit because I think they’re playing really well right now. They had a couple of tough losses on the road to North Carolina State and to Florida State. Obviously they played well this weekend against Virginia Tech, and they played well again tonight. They know where their points come from. They do a good job of sharing the ball. Those two seniors inside do a good job. You’ve got to pay close attention to them. They got a lot of good basketball from different guys tonight. I’m disappointed in the last ten minutes of the first half.
“I’m disappointed in our inability to control the basketball and take care of the basketball. I thought that was a big key in the game. Our rebounding in the first half was atrocious, and we responded pretty well in the second half. But we’re at a point as a team where we’re not good enough to play 20 good minutes of basketball and win in this league. You have to play 40, so give them credit because over a 40-minute period, they played better than we did. In this league, it’s not who’s better than who. It’s who plays best for 40 minutes, and they did that tonight.”
On Clemson’s rebounding edge in the first half: “We didn’t have the physical and mental toughness that you need to rebound the ball against Clemson. I’ve known Brad for a long time, and his teams, night in and night out, are some of the toughest teams around. Whether they’re young or old, big or small, it doesn’t matter. They’re tough, they play hard, they’re physical, and if you don’t match that, you’re going to get your brains beat in on the glass and in other areas. That’s what happened. Our guys responded well. Give our guys credit. They’re as resilient a bunch as I’ve seen. Being resilient means you screwed up a little bit to start off. I’d rather be really good all the way through than be resilient. It’s not a bad trait when you’re rebuilding.”
On the last two minutes of the first half: “We turned the ball over. That was the key. We turned the ball over and they got second shots. They got some runouts, so our defense couldn’t set. They shot 45 percent because they got transition baskets off turnovers and they got some second shots. It’s hard to overcome, especially on the road.”
* With Tuesday’s 63-60 win, Clemson has now won six in a row in the series, and eight in a row in Littlejohn Coliseum over Georgia Tech in improving to 62-59 all-time against the Jackets.
* Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell is undefeated in five games against Georgia Tech, as his Tiger teams swept the Yellow Jackets in both 2010-11 and 2011-12.
* Clemson is now 17-4 at home under Brownell in ACC play. The Tigers were 7-1 in his first season, 2010-11, and 6-2 last season. Clemson has now won four straight at home after dropping its opener to Florida State on Jan. 5.
* The Tigers trailed by as many as 10 in the first half, when Tech had a 20-10 lead. It is the largest deficit overcome for a victory in any game this season for the Tigers. The previous largest deficit overcome was a six-point deficit against Marist on Nov. 25. It was the largest deficit overcome since Clemson won last season over Virginia Tech on Senior Day, 58-56, after trailing by 10 in the opening half.
* Clemson held Georgia Tech without a point for the final 5:02 of the first half. Georgia Tech next scored at the 18:17 mark of the second half, a total scoreless drought of 6:45. Clemson scored ten points during that stretch.
* The Tigers had 12 steals in the game, their second-highest total of the season behind the 16 they nabbed against The Citadel on Jan. 1.
* Clemson shot just 6-of-12 (.500) from the free throw line, their lowest mark of the season with a minimum of ten attempts. That comes one game after shooting 23-29 (.793) in the last game against Virginia Tech.
* Georgia Tech outrebounded Clemson, 35-34. Clemson had been 3-5 this season when losing that margin and 8-3 when coming out ahead.
* Clemson improved to 11-2 when leading at halftime. Clemson is just 1-6 when tied or behind at the half.
* After allowing Tech to make 9-of-11 to start the game, the Clemson defense clamped down to hold the Jackets to .325 (14-43) from that point on. Clemson was consistent, shooting .457 in the first and .455 in the second half.
* Clemson scored 21 points off 17 Georgia Tech turnovers. It was the sixth time Clemson has scored 20-plus off opponent turnovers, and Clemson is 6-0 in those games.
* Nine players scored a field goal for the Tigers on Tuesday. That is the second time in the last three games that has occurred for Clemson. The Tigers’ season-high is 10 players with at least one field goal, in a winning effort last December against Florida A&M.
* Devin Booker had four assists in the game, with all four coming in the first half, setting a new career-high. His previous best was three, which he accomplished five times in his career, most recently on Mar. 1, 2012 against Virginia Tech.
* Booker scored eight points in Tuesday’s game and now needs just five to become the 36th member of the 1,000-point club at Clemson.
* K.J. McDaniels finished with 15 points, his third straight game in double figures. For the season, he’s hit double figures 12 times. McDaniels also added five rebounds, four on the offensive end. He went 1-for-5 from behind the arc, and 4-of-6 inside of it, and made 4-of-6 free throws, two of which helped preserve the victory.
* McDaniels also had a block and a steal in the same game, which he has accomplished in 12 of the last 16 games. McDaniels leads Clemson in both categories on the season (41 blocks, 26 steals).
* Bernard Sullivan hit a three-pointer at the 13:30 mark of the first half. It was the first three-point make of his career on his fifth career attempt. Sullivan scored seven points in the game, matching a career-high that he set against Virginia Tech last season on Feb. 4, 2012.
* Damarcus Harrison recorded four steals, setting a new career-high. His previous best was three, which he set earlier this season against South Carolina State. Harrison tied a career high with 34 minutes played in the game, which he’s done in two straight contests.
* Rod Hall ended a season-long dunk drought with an emphatic slam on the fast break pass from Harrison with 16:55 to play in the second half.
* Milton Jennings had a game-high nine rebounds and has now had five or more boards in all eight of Clemson’s ACC games, averaging 8.0 per game during that stretch.