A week after losing to Maryland on a buzzer-beating three, the Jackets took the court at Alexander Memorial Coliseum this past Saturday, Feb. 27 to face Boston College. Tech shot 52 percent from the floor and went 11-for-12 from the free throw line on their way to a 73-68 win. Three days later, the Jackets headed up to South Carolina to face Clemson, this time losing 91-80.
The loss puts Tech at 7-8 in the ACC and 19-10 overall with one game left.
Against Boston College, the Jackets looked polished. A three-pointer by sophomore guard Iman Shumpert gave Tech a 3-0 lead to start the game, and they never looked back. Despite shooting 50 percent from field goal range, the Eagles were unable to mount a consistent enough attack to take the lead from the Jackets.
By the 9:24 mark, the Jackets had built a 10-point advantage, going up 24-14 on a jumper by senior forward Zachary Peacock. BC cut the lead to three on a three-pointer from forward Joe Trapani, but Peacock and Shumpert hit consecutive layups to give Tech a seven-point edge heading into the break.
Another Shumpert layup followed by a jumper by freshman forward Glen Rice, Jr. put the Jackets ahead by 11 to open the second. From there, Tech maintained their lead for the majority of the period.
Eagles’ guard Reggie Jackson hit a three with 10 minutes to play to pull his team within 9, but a dunk by freshman forward Derrick Favors and a three-pointer from Shumpert quickly dashed the Boston College comeback, putting Tech up 59-45 with 8:28 remaining.
The Eagles came within single-digits three more times over the next eight minutes, but each time the Jackets responded to maintain their comfortable advantage.
Although BC hit three consecutive shots in the last 14 seconds of play, they were unable to top the Jackets in time, giving Tech the 73-68 win.
Shumpert was Tech’s top scorer on the day, shooting 10-for-16 and notching 24 points. He also led the Jackets in the turnover column, though, with six in the game.
“When he’s good, he’s really good,” said Tech head coach Paul Hewitt. “Obviously the six turnovers, I think at least four of those turnovers should’ve been shot attempts by him…[but] you’d rather have a guy who wants to get his teammates involved than a guy who is taking bad shots.”
Another positive sign was the Jackets’ quality effort from the free throw line. Three of the four players who got to the stripe hit 100 percent of their shots, and the team’s 91.7 percent for the game was their best all season.
“It was a good win, and now we just got to get ready to play against Clemson,” Hewitt said after the game.
In the Clemson game, Tech’s road woes continued. They stayed close in the first half, but the Tigers were able to pull away in the second, rallying behind the noisy crowd present for their final home game of the season.
The teams battled for the edge early in the first, swapping leads three times in just over five minutes of play. A jumper by Favors at the 11:06 mark gave Tech a five-point advantage, but they were unable to pull away.
Clemson stole the lead back just one minute later behind back-to-back buckets by brothers Devin and Trevor Booker, putting the Tigers in front 20-19.
The Jackets responded, though, building a 28-22 lead with 6:58 remaining. Again they were unable to maintain the differential, and the Tigers hit some key three-pointers to tie the score at 32 with 4:32 left in the half.
The teams continued to fight for the advantage, tying three more times in the remaining minutes, but Clemson guard Andre Young hit a long three as time expired to thrust the Tigers on top 44-41 headed into halftime.
Clemson continued to shoot well from beyond the arc, and their offensive attack proved too much for the Jackets in the second. The Tigers opened the period with eight straight points, and by the 14:45 mark they had gone ahead 66-48.
Although they were able to cut into the lead several times, Tech was not able to bring themselves back within single-digits, and Clemson maintained control of the game to seal the 91-80 win.
Both teams shot well, but the Jackets were unable to overcome the Tigers’ 44 percent mark on three-point shooting. Entering Tuesday’s game, Tech was No. 2 in the nation in opponent field goal percentage, allowing opposing teams to hit just 37.5 percent of their shots, but the Tigers took advantage of their open three-point attempts.
The Jackets had four players in double-figures on the night, led by Rice with 17 points.
“Clemson just had a really great shooting night tonight,” Hewitt said after the game, courtesy of ramblinwreck.com.
Tech heads home this weekend for their final game before the ACC tournament to face Virginia Tech. The Jackets will look to break even in ACC play as they host the 22-7 Hokies.