Feb. 8, 2005
By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – B.J. Elder scored 11 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer, in his first game in more than a month, leading Georgia Tech to a 70-62 victory over Clemson on Tuesday night.
Elder, the team’s leading scorer, had missed all nine of Georgia Tech’s Atlantic Coast Conference games with a left hamstring strained in a loss to Kansas on Jan. 1. Maybe that’s why Tech (14-7, 5-5), the national runner up a year ago, slid from the top 10 when Elder was injured to outside the rankings this week after losing five of its past nine games.
After a so-so opening half, Elder proved he was exactly what the Yellow Jackets were missing.
With the Yellow Jackets down 52-50, Elder took a pass deep in the left corner and nailed his only three of the game. Isma’il Muhammad followed with an inside basket, then Elder took control again, hitting a short leaner and finishing a crisp drive to the hoop for an easy two to put Georgia Tech up 59-54.
At the next time out, Elder’s teammates rushed to midcourt to bump chests with their star as Georgia Tech fans behind the bench cheered loudly.
Elder closed his scoring with a pair of foul shots and the Yellow Jackets won their fourth straight over Clemson (11-11, 2-8).
Sharrod Ford, the Tigers top scorer who came in with three straight double-doubles, was held to 3 points – 12 fewer than his average – on 1 of 5 shooting and no rebounds.
The Tigers only field goal during a six-minute stretch late in the game came on Olu Babalola’s 3-pointer with 1:17 to go. But by then, Elder and the Jackets were ahead 67-59 and had things well in hand.
Babalola had 12 points, tops on the Tigers.
Early on, things didn’t look so rosy for Georgia Tech, even with Elder back in action. He played tentatively, missing three of his four shots and committing two turnovers in the opening period.
The Yellow Jackets were just as off, turning the ball over turned the ball over on six straight possessions during one stretch of the half and finished with 14 turnovers.
Clemson, meanwhile, caught fire. The Tigers started 4 of 15 from the field, but finished making 11 of their last 15 shots to take a 35-27 lead at the break.