Georgia Tech basketball fell to rival Clemson on Saturday afternoon by a final score of 70-63, marking Tech's 10th loss in 11 tries against the Tigers. Brian Gregory and company couldn't take advantage of a less-than-hostile environment at Littlejohn Coliseum, falling in overtime for the third time this season.
The first half of basketball in this game was among the worst I've ever seen. From the time it was 0-0, every single Georgia Tech player and coach was walking around with the energy and attitude of a team down by 35 with just seconds left to play. This attitude would, it seems, have a huge impact on the way Tech played in the first half -- the Jackets started off the game 0-14 from the field and wouldn't score that first basket until Marcus Georges-Hunt hit a three with 5:59 left in the first half. That's right, a college team in the ACC went 14 minutes without a single basket. Prior to that big shot by MGH, Tech was trailing Clemson 20-2.
From there, the Jackets would go on to break double digits on another Georges-Hunt basket with 3:47 left in the half. The first 20 minutes ended just as poorly as they had begun with Georges-Hunt fouling Clemson's Damarcus Harrison on a three-pointer with 0.6 seconds remaining; Harrison would go on to hit two out of three free throws to cement a 35-16 halftime lead for the Tigers. When the first half buzzer sounded, the Jackets were shooting 17% (4-24) from the floor with 9 turnovers for the game.
Most sane people (myself included) had totally written off Tech following their ugly start to the game which saw them go down by as many as 23 points. Brian Gregory and the team, however, apparently had a very different plan for how the game was going to end -- Georgia Tech would use great second half performances from freshman Tadric Jackson (12 points, 3 rebounds) and Marcus Georges-Hunt (20pts, 9reb, 3ast, 4stl) to erase the Tiger lead bit by bit.
The rally began with a 6-0 run by Tech to cut the Clemson lead to 35-22. The Tigers would maintain that cushion for the majority of the second half, until Tech opened up a 9-0 run capped off by a Travis Jorgenson three pointer at 4:38 to cut the deficit to just 7 at 54-47. Clemson would build their lead back up to 9 points before Josh Heath hit a three with 1:25 remaining to make the score 58-52 in favor of the Tigers. Marcus Georges-Hunt, continuing his fantastic play this season, immediately stole the inbound pass and got an easy layup to make it 58-54. He would follow it up with another basket to cut the Clemson lead to just two with 54.7 seconds, followed immediately by two game-tying free throws courtesy of Josh Heath to knot things up at 60-60 and send us to overtime.
The extra period, however, would prove less than friendly for the Jackets -- Clemson opened up with a 6-0 run of their own to make it 66-60 and eventually seal the win. It was a fantastic comeback in what began as an awful game, but Tech falls in Clemson by a final score of 70-63 in overtime. The Jackets drop to 12-17 (3-14 ACC) on the season and will play their final game of the regular season on Tuesday when they take on UNC at McCamish Pavilion.