Georgia Tech did its best to get back in the game against No. 18 Clemson and erased an 8-point deficit in the final four minutes but the Yellow Jackets just couldn’t finish it.
Clemson’s Marcquise Reed quieted the sellout crowd at McCamish Pavilion when he drove the lane and dropped in the go-ahead basket, giving the Tigers a 72-70 win over Georgia Tech on Sunday.
After Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie missed a heavily contested layup on the other end, Reed was fouled and sent to the line with 4.9 seconds left.
Reed missed the free throw and Ben Lammers grabbed the rebound for Georgia Tech and threw an outlet pass to Okogie. He advanced the ball to Jose Alvarado, but his long 3-point try came after the buzzer.
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Okogie, who tied the game with a pair of free throws with 1:32 remaining, finished with 26 points.
The loss was the fourth straight for Georgia Tech (10-11, 3-5), all of them coming against nationally ranked teams.
Three who mattered
Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie: The sophomore made 7 of 10, include 2 of 4 on 3-pointers, to score 26 points, four shy of his season high. Okogie also had six rebounds and four assists.
Georgia Tech forward A.D. Gueye: The junior was a force around the basket and scored 14 points, 10 in the first half. Gueye left for a minute with an injury in the second half, but quickly returned and finished the game. He also had a team-high nine rebounds and two assists.
Clemson guard Gabe DeVoe: The 6-foot-4 senior guard roasted Georgia Tech for a career-high 25 points, 14 above his average. DeVoe was especially deadly on 3-pointers, making 5 of 8.
Georgia Tech had rallied to cut Clemson’s lead when they gave up back-to-back turnovers that resulted in baskets. Jose Alvarado’s bad pass was picked off and led to a layup by Shelton Mitchell. Okogie lost the ball on the next trip and DeVoe scored on a layup. Suddenly the lead was back to seven points and made the comeback a lot tougher.
OK on the TOs: Georgia Tech had only nine turnovers, a number that coach Josh Pastner considers acceptable. Clemson scored 12 points off the gifts.
Another bad second-half start: The old slow-start reared its head in the second half. Georgia Tech led 38-36 at halftime, Clemson outscored the Yellow Jackets 12-2 to start the final half. Clemson had a 48-40 lead with 14:33 left.
Can’t stop the treys: Georgia Tech had shown a good perimeter defense all season. Clemson shredded that image by making 10 of 21 3-pointers. It was the most 3-pointers allowed since giving up 12 against Coppin State.
Georgia Tech announcing change: Play-by-play man Andy Demetra got sick prior to the women’s game and could not answer the bell. Georgia Tech alum Wiley Ballard, who calls the school’s baseball games, was the fill-in. Ballard was already on hand to record an audition audio for the game, so he was prepared and ready to go.
The Bosh reaction: Former Georgia Tech standout Chris Bosh was at a pregame meet-and-greet, which caused lines to nearly wrap around the concourse. The school also gave away 2,000 Bosh jerseys to students.
In the house: Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was in attendance on Sunday, as was former Georgia Tech standout Marcus Georges-Hunt.
Georgia Tech hosts Syracuse on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion.