Originally created 11/29/06

Jackets clinch victory



ATLANTA - Georgia Tech waited the entire 2005-06 season for someone to step up in the clinch.

Seven games into the 2006-07 season, the Yellow Jackets have found that player. His name, appropriately, is Lewis Clinch.

The sophomore guard poured in 20 points Tuesday as No. 21 Georgia Tech defeated Penn State 77-73 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Clinch upped his scoring average to a team-best 17.4 points and has scored 14 or more in each game. The Yellow Jackets head into Sunday's Atlantic Coast Conference opener against Miami with a 6-1 record.

Clinch's consistency is something the Jackets missed in finishing 11-17 a year ago. Anthony Morrow led the team in scoring with 16 points a game, but he could be as lackluster as he could be spectacular. He scored 20 or more points in seven games but 10 or less in five, including three ACC games, as opponents focused on defending him.

Clinch is less likely to be so streaky. He is shooting better than 55 percent from the field and close to 50 percent from 3-point range. Clinch made 8 of 13 shots Tuesday, including 4 of 8 3-pointers.

Clinch scored seven points in a five-possession flourish early in the second half. Clinch's baskets answered a short-lived Penn State run, keeping Georgia Tech in the lead.

Three other Yellow Jackets joined Clinch in double figures. Anthony Morrow added 15 points and Javaris Crittenton 14 while forward Jeremis Smith chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds.

Clinch is clearly the go-to scorer. Morrow is still working back into shape after missing most of the preseason with a stress fracture in his back. And Georgia Tech's second-leading scorers, Thaddeus Young and Crittenton, are both true freshmen.

Young sat out Tuesday's game because of tendonitis in his knee..

Reach Adam Van Brimmer at (404) 589-8424 or adam.vanbrimmer@morris.com.