ATLANTA - Georgia Tech's locker room is seldom quiet after a game.
Wins typically prompt loud celebrations. Losses, speeches of frustration.
That's what made the scene following Saturday's 73-63 loss to Clemson so surreal to Jeremis Smith.
"Coach didn't really have much to say after the game in the locker room, and neither did the players," Smith said. "We were all sitting there like, What went wrong?"
Only Murphy's law could sum up the Yellow Jackets' failings. Everything went wrong in the final 14 minutes of the loss at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
- Clemson outscored Georgia Tech, 23-6.
- Georgia Tech went 3-for-18 from the field and 0-for-8 from behind the 3-point line.
- The Yellow Jackets committed seven of their season-high 27 turnovers.
All against a 2-3 zone defense, one every player is accustomed to playing against by the time they reach junior high.
"If we played tomorrow, they wouldn't be 3-for-18," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "When that happens, you stay with it and try to make some hay out of the opportunity.
"You're always slightly surprised when good shooters miss some shots, but it happens. That is why you throw the zone out there."
The Jackets (9-7, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) zoned out against the Clemson defense. Their three baskets in the final 14 minutes consisted of a D'Andre Bell baseline jumper, an Anthony Morrow layup and a Ra'Sean Dickey putback.
Morrow and backcourt mate Zam Fredrick combined to go 1-for-11 during the stretch, including 0--for-7 from 3-point range.
And their inaccuracy knocked the Jackets' offense out of rhythm, coach Paul Hewitt said.
"When you get into a good flow, then all the sudden you see all the openings," he said. "I think after we threw it in there, and it didn't happen, every possession became magnified."
Clemson (14-5, 3-3) made just six of its final 11 free throws but held on for the victory anyway.
Center Akin Akingbala led the Tigers with a game-high 19 points.
Reach Adam Van Brimmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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