Clemson Upsets Georgia Tech
Posted February 5, 2003 11:10 a.m. EST
CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson's Edward Scott made the game-winning shot Wednesday, and his strong defense on Georgia Tech's last attempt may have saved things for the Tigers.
But the senior captain's best move might have come a day earlier. He called a team meeting Tuesday to clear the air during Clemson's disheartening four-game losing streak.
"I don't think we were quite slumping our shoulders. We were just getting out of what we were used to doing," said Scott, who scored 18 points, including a 12-foot jumper with 21 seconds left in the Tigers 69-67 victory Wednesday night. "By having the meeting, everybody came together."
Each Tiger was asked to speak. They agreed the team, which hadn't cracked 60 points in nearly three weeks since their last victory, needed to move with a quicker, up-tempo pace instead of their deliberate, pound it in style. The result? A career-high 25 for sophomore shooting guard Chey Christie and their biggest offensive output since beating Virginia here, 78-77 on Jan. 18.
"We threw the ball over the top three or four times," Clemson coach Larry Shyatt said. "Whatever the reason, we probably got ourselves six-eight easier points than we've been getting."
Scott was the hero for the Tigers (12-6, 2-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) down the stretch.
Clemson had surrendered a 13-point lead and trailed 65-61 with 2:45 to go when Scott took over. His first jump shot cut the margin in half and his two foul shots tied things with 2:04 left.
After Ed Nelson put Georgia Tech in front one last time on his free throws, 67-65, Tomas Nagys answered with foul shots to tie the game once more.
Marvin Lewis missed a 3-pointer from the right corner on Georgia Tech's next possession and the ball rolled out of bounds and back to Clemson.
Scott, a fearless senior who's Clemson's top scorer this year, took the inbounds pass, dribbled left across the circle, then back around right to drill the winning shot.
The 6-foot Scott had taken a shot to the ribs minutes earlier and didn't think he could outjump Nelson. "So I was just hoping to get him up in the air," Scott said. "He controlled himself well and kind of got back on his heels, so I knew I had the chance for a quick shot."
The Yellow Jackets (11-8, 4-4) had plenty of time to recover, but could not. Ed Nelson lost possession, which led to a tie-up situation with the arrow pointing Georgia Tech's way.
They inbounded one last time, but Lewis' 3-pointer with Scott in his face bounced away as time ran out.
"We had the last play, but we couldn't take advantage of the situation," said Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt, whose team has lost its last six on the road. "I thought we had a good look and went up clean. Unfortunately, it fell short."
Jarrett Jack and Chris Bosh had 15 points apiece for Georgia Tech. B.J. Elder, who came in averaging 16 points a game, was held to 10 on 4-of-11 shooting.
It was all Christie for Clemson early on. He had 10 points as the Tigers built their biggest lead in an ACC game this year, 24-11.
But Tech slowly chipped away. Bosh's three-point play capped an 18-8 run that cut the lead to 32-29.
Elder, shooting two foul shots for Bosh as he was attended to for a bloody nose, put Georgia Tech ahead 55-54 for the first time since it led 2-0.
Shyatt was proud of his team's resolve when it looked like another close game - the Tigers lost ACC games to North Carolina, Florida State and Maryland by a combined 8 points - might slip away. "I've never seen this team fold in a tight game," he said. "This ball club has not experienced that and I don't expect them to."