GREENSBORO, N.C. – For the 10th consecutive game, Clemson left Georgia Tech feeling like a Ramblin’ Wreck.
And that means the Tigers won’t have to leave Greensboro or the ACC Tournament just yet.
Damarcus Harrison came up big in overtime with key points and a key drawn foul to lift Clemson to a 69-65 victory over the Yellow Jackets early this morning at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Big shot Blossomgame
Blossomgame late scores key win
Harrison drove the length of the court for a layup to give Clemson a 63-62 lead with 44 seconds left in O.T. and took a foul with :26 remaining to put the ball back in the Tigers’ hands.
“We just wanted to fight as hard as we could,” Harrison said. “We guarded harder and got in transition. They told me to deny the ball and he pretty much just ran me over.”
Harrison then drained two freebies to make the score 65-62 and Landry Nnoko sealed the deal with :17 to go when he hit two freebies.
Harrison put the finishing touches on the game at the line.
“Really proud of our team,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “Just found a way to win when we really weren’t playing as well as we needed to to win. I thought Georgia Tech … give their kids a lot of credit, their coaches a lot of credit. They outcompeted us the first 20 minutes; really hurt us on the boards.
Thought we were a little nervous offensively and turned the ball over a lot but settled into the game a little bit better and just tried to fight.
No. 3 Duke (24-7) awaits Clemson (20-11) today in another post-9 p.m. tip.
The Blue Devils are 3-2 in their last five games but defeated North Carolina 93-81 in their regular season finale last Saturday.
Clemson won the regular season meeting between the teams at Littlejohn Coliseum.
“I think that was probably like our best win so far in the regular season,” Harrison said. “It was a big conference win for us. But I just think it was big and it was important. But looking forward to the game (today).”
Harrison finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, while K.J. McDaniels chipped in 18.
Rod Hall added 12 points.
Georgia Tech, paced by Trae Golden’s 23 points, ends its season at 16-17.
“Obviously a tough way to end a pretty good run,” Yellow Jackets coach Brian Gregory said. “We did a lot of good things tonight and it’s been like many of the games that we played against Clemson, back and forth.”
McDaniels had difficulty finding the range early on, and with less than 10 minutes to play he was 3-of-11 from the floor and 0-for-3 from 3-point range.
With just 2:53 showing on the game clock he picked up his fourth foul – and although he had 14 points, 8 came from the free throw line.
“He is battling right now,” Brownell said of his All-ACC performer. “He’s had a shoulder injury for about a week now, or two. Unfortunately, I think it’s progressively getting a little more problematic. We’re trying to rest him and do some things to help him with it.”
Despite McDaniel’s struggles, the eventual winners kept plugging away.
With 7:51 remaining the Yellow Jackets pulled in front 49-40 on a Marcus Georges-Hunt jumper and were starting to generate some space between themselves and the team that has owned them in recent years.
McDaniels got two points back at the line to cut the deficit to 49-42; a Hall layup made it 49-44; and Harrison drained a three at 6:21 to turn this one into a one possession game at 49-47.
It was tied at 51-all with 4:15 to go when Blossomgame hit a pair of foul shots, and Blossomgame then gave the Tigers a lead when he scored following a Yellow Jacket turnover.
He made it 55-51 on a jumper to cap off a 15-2 run.
The score stood at 55-53 with 19 seconds remaining in regulation and Tech with the ball.
The Jackets tied it up on Daniel Miller’s jumper with just one second to go, forcing the second consecutive overtime for both teams.
The first half was typical of most Clemson games, with plenty of bodies under the basket and lots of scrambling for loose balls.
Harrison comes up clutch in ACC Tourney
Harrison big on offense, defense
Tech got the best of the situation early on, taking care of the basketball and converting Clemson turnovers into points.
But then the Yellow Jacket began to lose the handle and the Tigers started to gain the upper hand.
The result was a period that saw seven lead changes and six ties. And despite hitting just 33 percent from the field, Georgia Tech grabbed a 29-27 lead at intermission when Robert Carter Jr. drained a 3-pointer just inside the horn.
Neither team was running away with any statistical category, although Tech did have 12 offensive rebounds to Clemson’s five.
No player on either side boasted double digits after 20 minutes; McDaniels had 9 points for the Tigers and Kammeon Holsey was also good for 9 Jacket points.
Still, the ultimate outcome was the same as it has been time and time again.
The Tigers downed Georgia Tech 54-41 in Clemson on Feb. 4 and followed up with a 63-55 victory in Atlanta 17 days later.
Follow Scott Adamson on Twitter @adamsonslAIM.