Marcquise Reed saw the matchup he wanted and drove to the basket.
The senior guard felt confident making the turn near the baseline, getting just the space he needed to beat a power forward to the rim.
“I had a four-man on me and just tried to make a play,” Reed said. “If there’s a four-man on me, I’m going to drive it.”
Gabe DeVoe scored a career-high 25 points, Reed hit a decisive layup in the closing seconds and No. 18 Clemson held off Georgia Tech 72-70 on Sunday night.
The Tigers (17-4, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) snapped a three-game road losing streak. They took their first lead on Elijah Thomas’ three-point play early in the second half and didn’t trail again even though Georgia Tech tied it at 70-all on two free throws by Josh Okogie with 41.2 seconds remaining.
Okogie missed an ensuing layup that set up Reed’s layup at the 25-second mark. It nearly fell apart for Clemson when Reed, with 3 seconds remaining, whiffed on his only free throw attempt of the game and his first in 15 attempts overall. Ben Lammers rebounded for Georgia Tech, but time expired before Jose Alvarado’s long 3-point attempt bounced off the rim.
“I was really proud with the way our guys competed tonight,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “We just hung in there.”
Okogie finished with 26 points, and Abdoulaye Gueye added 14 for Georgia Tech (10-11, 3-5), which has dropped four straight.
“It’s not the first time this has happened to us in the ACC where I thought we played well and lost the game,” Jackets coach Josh Pastner said. “We played well for the most part.”
Clemson needed a dominant performance after getting blown out last Tuesday at No. 2 Virginia, and they did it by trimming their turnover total to seven, 12 less than the season high they committed against the Cavaliers.
Lammers’ lengthy one-handed putback gave the Jackets their first 10-point lead with 13:03 left in the first half. They were up by 12 twice before DeVoe’s layup made it 29-24 at the 5:47 mark. Shelton Mitchell converted a four-point play in the last minute of the first half to make it 38-36 at intermission.
DeVoe kept the score close in the first half with 18 points. He finished 5 for 8 beyond the arc.
“He shot it great from range tonight, especially when we were struggling against the zone,” Brownell said. “Our backcourt guys here played really well.”
Clemson: After scoring just 36 points in the debacle at Virginia, the Tigers proved to themselves they can win on the road without Donte Grantham, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week against Notre Dame. The senior forward was second on the team with 14.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. ... Reed had 13 points and a career-high 11 assists. ... DeVoe hit a 3 to make it 46-40, marking the first time this season that he’s scored four 3s in the first half and hit one in the second. ... Brownell improved to 13-4 against Georgia Tech. ... The Tigers have won 14 of the last 18 in the series. ... The victory moved Clemson into a third-place tie with No. 4 Duke in the ACC standings
Georgia Tech: In their second season under Pastner, the Jackets are 5-7 against ranked opponents, 5-3 at home. ... Lammers had 10 points and nine rebounds. ... Alvarado scored 11. ... The Jackets committed just nine turnovers after totaling 49 in the last three games. ... In its last game, an 11-point loss at Florida State, Georgia Tech allowed the Seminoles to shoot 59.3 percent, a season-high against the defense. Clemson shot 45.2.
GET TO THE RIM
Clemson lost its most accurate 3-point shooter when Grantham went down, but the Tigers’ bigger problem is taking the ball to the rim. They began the game with the ACC’s fourth-fewest free-throw attempts and ended a 51-minute streak without a two-shot attempt late in the first half when Mitchell hit a pair of free throws. Clemson took just nine foul shots, 10 less than the Jackets.
Clemson: Hosts No. 10 North Carolina on Tuesday night.
Georgia Tech: Hosts Syracuse on Wednesday night.
No. 18 CLEMSON 72, GEORGIA TECH 70
CLEMSON (17-4): Simms 2-8 1-2 5, Thomas 4-10 1-1 9, Reed 6-14 0-1 13, Mitchell 5-9 3-3 17, DeVoe 10-15 0-0 25, William 1-1 0-0 2, Skara 0-2 0-0 0, Donnal 0-0 1-2 1, Trapp 0-2 0-0 0, Spencer 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-62 6-9 72.
GEORGIA TECH (10-11): Gueye 7-14 0-0 14, Lammers 5-13 0-1 10, Okogie 7-10 10-12 26, Alston 2-5 0-0 6, Alvarado 3-6 4-5 11, Haywood 0-1 0-0 0, Jackson 1-3 1-1 3. Totals 25-52 15-19 70.
Halftime—Georgia Tech 38-36. 3-Point Goals—Clemson 10-21 (DeVoe 5-8, Mitchell 4-6, Reed 1-4, Simms 0-3), Georgia Tech 5-11 (Okogie 2-4, Alston 2-4, Alvarado 1-2, Haywood 0-1). Fouled Out—Thomas. Rebounds—Clemson 31 (Simms, Thomas, Reed 5), Georgia Tech 26 (Lammers 9). Assists—Clemson 14 (Reed 11), Georgia Tech 16 (Alvarado 5). Total Fouls—Clemson 20, Georgia Tech 12. A—8,600 (8,600).
Old Dominion 88, Charlotte 66: 49ers redshirt freshman Ryan Murphy tallied a career-high 27 points on nine-of-11 shooting to lead host Charlotte (5-14, 1-7 C-USA) in a loss to the visiting Monarchs (16-4, 7-1). Murphy also was six-for-six from 3-point range. Jon Davis added 14 points, along with a game-high nine assists. Austin Ajukwa added eight points and three boards.
Louisville 96, Wake Forest 77: The host Cardinals (16-5, 6-2 ACC) overcame a slow start to shoot 51 percent and beat the Demon Deacons (8-13, 1-8). Chaundee Brown had 20 points, Bryant Crawford 19 and Doral Moore 16 with 13 rebounds for Wake Forest, which shot 48 percent, outrebounded Louisville 39-32 and committed 20 turnovers for 28 Cardinals points.
Johnson C. Smith 76, Winston-Salem 75: Robert Davis scored 29 points with seven rebounds, both team highs, and Roddric Ross added 23 as the Golden Bulls (12-7, 5-2 CIAA) rallied to beat the Rams (4-15, 2-8). Christian Kirchman added 10 points and five assists. Anthony Harper pulled down seven rebounds as well. The Golden Bulls hit 70 percent from the free-throw line.
Observer staff contributed to this report.