Coaches' Corner: Blossomgame's late-game performance 'critical' to Tigers' victory

Tech's Brian Gregory: 'It usually comes down to making plays at the end of the game. And they made more than we did, unfortunately'

Clemson's Jaron Blossomgame (5) talks to Clemson coach Brad Brownell.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

Clemson's Jaron Blossomgame (5) talks to Clemson coach Brad Brownell.

Clemson's Brad Brownell

"First of all, I want to thank those of you that are still here following us. Really proud of our team. Just found a way to win when we really weren't playing as well as we needed to to win.

"Give Georgia Tech's kids a lot of credit, their coaches a lot of credit. They outcompeted us the first 20minutes, really hurt us on the boards. I 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. Got down I think it was 49 40, got the guys into a timeout and somehow KJ and Rod kind of rallied them a little bit, Damarcus kind of rallied our troops a little bit.

"We started to up our defense. I thought Damarcus moving over to Golden helped us. His size I thought slowed some things down for them. And then we just found a way to get a few buckets and to find a way to win in overtime after we lost the lead was really special, especially since we've been in a couple of these kind of games last week."

On bouncing back from the loss to Pittsburgh: "The Pitt loss was a brutal one in a lot of ways. Obviously the inbounds play, the call at the end, questionable call at the end on whether it was good or not.

But to be honest with you, we moved past it. We had a meeting on Sunday where we just talked about the regular season was over. And it was start of a new season and we needed to play our best basketball now.

"We celebrated what we did during the season. We accomplished a lot. We did a lot more than people expected and really most of it was just doing what we did tonight. I don't know that we're more talented or better coached or anything else. I think we out tough people sometimes and find ways to win and that's a great characteristic to talk about with your team."

On K.J. McDaniels' 4-of-15 shooting night: "He's battling right now. 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. But there's no question it's bothering him. So I think that was part of it.

"I think you got to give the Georgia Tech coaches and players credit. We've played each other three times now. When you play each other this many times, I think you begin to know each other's strengths, weaknesses. You know a lot of their plays and know what everybody's trying to do and it makes it hard. It makes it harder to score.

"I think what needs to be pointed out is KJ found a way to get to the free throw line 11 times, get fouled, attack the basket, make 10 free throws and still have 18 points and six rebounds without playing his best."

On Jaron Blossomgame's late-game play: "I think it was critical. Jaron is a red shirt freshman that, most people don't know, broke his leg. He had the Kevin Ware injury the bone broke, came out of his leg. He had to have two surgeries last year, and it got infected. So he's battled, you know, through a lot of difficult things and this year hasn't been easy for him at times.

"I think he still sometimes isn't 100 percent.

But he's a competitive young man. He really fights. He's only six seven, about 215, and he's in there guarding guys six eight, six nine. I thought his rebounding late on both ends of the floor were really big. He made three out of four free throws, which we needed those. So I thought he and Damarcus made huge free throws down the stretch. His play really gave us a shot in the arm there down the stretch and helped us win.

Georgia Tech's Brian Gregory

"Obviously a tough way to end a pretty good run. 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. They had a lead and we had a lead. It usually comes down to making plays at the end of the game. And they made more than we did, unfortunately.

"You got some timely rebounds and some put-backs and we missed some timely free throws. At the same time, you know, our guys showed a pretty good amount of fight and Daniel's shot there at the end of the game to send it in to overtime, and then we had a lead in overtime.

"A tough call there at the end. I haven't seen it. So not going to comment on it.

"You got a lot of guys hurting in the locker room because I know the way we've played lately and getting the guys back healthy, guys want to continue to play. And it's unfortunate that it ends like this tonight. I appreciate everything that Daniel Miller and Kam have given us, three years. And unfortunately we didn't have Jason this year and then obviously Trae was a big bonus for us and he's done a great job in our program. So those guys will be missed."

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