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Clemson shoots down Tech
Georgia Tech’s Zachery Peacock, right, fends off Clemson’s Trevor Booker during the first half of Sunday’s game in Clemson, S.C. - photo by Mary Ann Chastain

CLEMSON, S.C. — Despite his crowd-pleasing, long-distance shooting, Terrence Oglesby knows he’s got work to do from the outside.

The Tigers’ "TO" knocked down five 3-pointers and scored 18 points Sunday night as No. 10 Clemson ended its two-game losing streak with a 73-59 win over Georgia Tech.

Oglesby was glad for the victory, yet bothered by his cold — by his standards — 5-of-13 performance outside the arc against the Yellow Jackets. "I wasn’t hitting the shots," he said. "I’m getting a lot of open shots and it’s discouraging because it’s still that close" to going in.

It was the same thing, Oglesby said, a game ago in Clemson’s 94-70 loss at No. 5 North Carolina. Sure, Oglesby led the way with 22 points, Clemson’s only double-figure scorer. But the numbers he left shaking his over were his 4-for-13 shooting on 3s.

What’s a perfect night for Olgesby? "I don’t miss 10 shots. How about that?" he said.

The shots he made helped Clemson (17-2, 3-2 ACC) recover from its two-game losing streak. The Tigers had opened the season 16-0.

But after losing a top-10 showdown to Wake Forest eight days ago, the Tigers were thumped by North Carolina — running their all-time mark to 0-54 in Chapel Hill.

The Yellow Jackets (9-10, 0-6), the ACC’s last winless team in league play, proved the perfect bounce-back opponent for the Tigers.

And Oglesby was right in the middle of things.

He had two consecutive 3-pointers as Clemson shook off a poor start to move in front 23-16. Then, after the Yellow Jackets used of a run of their own to take a 34-31 lead right before halftime, Oglesby hit two more 3s in Clemson’s 28-6 run that spanned both halves and put things away.

Still, Oglesby wouldn’t let himself off the hook. He came into this one second in the league in 3-pointers made and shooting percent from long range, so he expects to see a few more drop. Soon, he promises.

"It’s rimming in and out," he said with a determined stare. "It’s going to get better as time gets on."

Trevor Booker added 11 points and 11 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season and first in ACC play. Booker had seven points in the decisive spurt.

When Raymond Sykes jammed home a basket with 9:04 left, the Tigers were ahead 59-40 and cruising to their fifth victory in the last seven meetings with Georgia Tech.

Clemson coach Oliver Purnell wanted the Tigers to stay with their game plan even as Georgia Tech matched them early in rebounding and defensive mentality.

Plus, he knew his players wanted to erase their losing steak.

"Sometimes they listen better after a loss, especially the way we lost to North Carolina," he said.

The Yellow Jackets never got closer than 13 points after Clemson’s big run, losing their fifth straight and sixth of seven.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt says his team made too many errors that young teams make.

He’s yet to see his players hang their heads about their ACC winless streak — it’s longest since starting 0-7 in the league in 2001-02.

"Our practices have been outstanding," he said. "We just do some young things out there."

Like when David Potter got free for a 3 right before halftime that sent the Tigers into the break 37-34 when Georgia Tech had a three-point lead only a minute earlier.

"It is not a good situation to be 0-6, but we just have to get ready for the next game," he said.

Gani Lawal, the only player in the ACC to average a double-double, did it again with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The Tigers also got their trademark pressure defense in gear during their decisive run.

Georgia Tech was held to one field goal — a 3 by Shumpert — for the first 12 minutes of the second half.

It took until the second half for Booker, who came in averaging nearly 15 points a game, to get going. The 6-foot-7 junior was 0-for-3 in the first 20 minutes and the Tiger guards had difficulty finding him under the basket.

But Booker was much more active after the break, hitting two inside baskets in the first 3 minutes.

Oglesby didn’t walk off the court totally bummed about his play. He thought he moved well without the ball and drew enough defenders to open things up for a couple of inside dunks.

"I thought that part of the game is a lot more fun," he said.

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