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Starting Five: Georgia Tech (10-11, 3-5) vs. Clemson (15-7, 4-4)

Feb. 4, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

TECH LEADING SCORER: Iman Shumpert, 16.6 ppg
TECH LEADING SCORER, ACC: Iman Shumpert, 17.9 ppg

CLEMSON LEADING SCORER: Stitt Demontez, 13.5 ppg
CLEMSON LEADING SCORER, ACC: Stitt Demontez, 14.9 ppg

TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Iman Shumpert, 5.9 rpg


TECH PPG: 69.9/68.1 (ACC)
OPP. PPG: 66.5/66.5 (ACC)

CLEMSON PPG: 68.5/68.2 (ACC)
OPP. PPG: 59.8/63.2 (ACC)

Clemson Player to Watch: Jerai Grant: The 6-8, 230-pound senior center is a load on the blocks. The son of former Oklahoma and NBA star Harvey Grant and nephew of former Clemson great and NBA star Horace Grant, Jerai is 18th in the ACC in scoring (12.6 ppg), tied for eighth in rebounding (7.5 rpg) and tied for third in blocks (2.1 bpg) and offensive rebounds (3.4 orpg). Grant is shooting a team-leading 58.4 percent, and put on a clinic against the Jackets on Jan. 12, as he poured in his career-high 20 points on 5-for-6 shooting and 10-for-11 at the foul line.

Georgia Tech will have to turn it around quickly in attempting to bounce back from a heart-breaking loss Thursday night in Miami and end a two-game losing streak in ACC play when they take on Clemson at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Tip-off is at 1:00 p.m.

On Thursday, Glen Rice put in a career-high 28 points but it wasn’t enough as the Yellow Jackets fell to the Hurricanes, 59-57. Tech trailed 48-27 with 13:37 left but went on a 30-10 run to close to within one, 58-57, with 20 seconds remaining. The Jackets had a shot for a tie, but Iman Shumpert was called for a charge with nine seconds left, leaving Tech short. Shumpert had 17 on the night.

Clemson suffered a tough loss as well its last time out, losing, 49-47, to Virginia in Charlottesville. Like the Jackets, the Tigers put on a late rush but also fell short. Clemson trailed by double-digits for most of the second half before going on a late 19-4 run to tie the game with 49 seconds left. But, down two with 26 seconds left, Demontez Stitt missed the first of a one-and-one and the Cavs sealed the game at the foul line. Andre Young had a team-high 13, for Clemson, which saw a modest two-game win streak snapped. They’ve lost three of five games.

Tech still holds a slim one-game lead, 59-58, in their most frequently played ACC rivalry and is 27-14 at AMC. In the first meeting this season, Clemson shot 69.2 percent from the floor, a school record for an ACC game, and set an overall school record by shooting 17-for-20 in the second half, including 9-for-9 from three, in demolishing Tech, 87-62.

Today’s game can be seen on the ACC Network (WATL-TV in Atlanta) with Mike Hogewood doing the play-by-play and Mike Gminski providing color analysis. As always, the game can be heard on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network’s flagship stations WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM). Wes Durham and Randy Waters call the action. Fans also can follow the game on

Here now, the starting five for today’s game.

Not As Much Comes For Three: The last time the Yellow Jackets faced the Tigers, they surrendered 11 three-pointers in 14 tries. But since that game they’ve allowed an average of 3.6 per game. In the four home games since then the Jackets have allowed a total of five and only one in their last two games, including shutting out Maryland. In those four games, opponents have shot 5-for-44, a paltry 11.3 percent. Clemson is shooting only 30.0 percent from three in road games and is coming off a 3-for-18 performance from three at Virginia.

The Best Offense Is a Good Defense: Georgia Tech shot a season-low 27.4 percent, and managed only 4-for-28 from three against Miami, yet stayed around thanks to a ball-hawking defense that forced Miami to cough the ball up 28 times. The 28 turnovers are an opponent’s season-high and Tech had six different players record at least two steals, led by Shumpert, who had five. Tech’s ability to force steals shouldn’t have been surprising, as they lead the ACC in steals (10.0 spg), and turnover margin (plus-3.75) while Miami is second-worst in turnover. margin (minus-2.25). Clemson is obviously better at taking care of the ball (plus-.12), and is as thrifty as Tech, as they are third in the ACC in steals (7.4 spg).

Four Score…: The Jackets offense was basically a two-man game on Thursday night, as after Rice and Shumpert, Tech had 12 points, with those coming from Mfon Udofia and Brian Oliver, who each had six points. The four scorers, obviously, are the fewest in a game this season, but that shouldn’t have been a shock as the rest of the team took a total of five shots, with Jason Morris taking two shots and Lance Storrs, Moe Miller and Daniel Miller taking one each.

Hey 19: One good sign for Tech on Thursday was the team’s ability to get to the foul line. Tech outscored Miami 19-10 from there, marking only the second time in the last nine games that they had more points than their opponent at the charity stripe. The 19 free throws were the most since the Dec. 31, 2010 victory over Mercer, when they made 27 free throws. Over the first eight ACC games, Tech has averaged 10.4 points at the line per game but had made 10 or fewer in six of those games.

Back In Style: After going through a mini-slump, Glen Rice has bounced back big time over the last two games. Since enduring back-to-back games where he combined for nine points, 12 rebounds and four assists, Rice had his third double-double of the year (16-12) as well as his second-best assists game (five) against Maryland, then followed that by scoring his career-high 28 at Miami. His nine field goals against “The U” also matched his season high. Coincidentally, Rice’s single-game scoring high prior to this season came against Clemson, last March 2 at Littlejohn Coliseum, when he scored 17 points. He had 12 on 5-for-15 shooting, 2-for-3 from three, in his return to Littlejohn this year.

The Sixth Man: Brian Oliver’s streak of games with at least one three-point field goal came to an end on Thursday. Probably still recovering from the flu, which forced him to sit out against Maryland, Oliver shot 0-for-6 from three. He had been shutout in three of four games to end the calendar year but came into 2011 hitting at least one three in seven straight games, capped by making four threes in the victory over Virginia Tech, his best game in ACC play and second-best total on the year, before being forced to sit against Maryland.


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