CLEMSON — Rod Hall wasn’t going to let a bad play at the end of regulation spoil his Senior Day.
Hall scored five of his 15 points in overtime to lead Clemson to a 70-63 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday after the Tigers had blown all of a 23-point lead. Hall the ball in his hands, tied at 60-all, with the clock winding down in regulation when he lost the handle to lead to extra time.
An angry Hall counseled his teammates before overtime to stay focused, knowing he would make up for that miscue. He did a few moments later, hitting two foul shots and a basket to push Clemson’s lead to 66-60. Georgia Tech could not recover.
“I knew I was going to redeem myself when I got a chance to make a play,” said Hall, honored along with fellow senior Damarcus Harrison in pre and postgame ceremonies.
Hall’s heroics capped a game of incredible swings.
Clemson (16-12, 8-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) broke on top 30-7 as Georgia Tech (12-16, 3-14) missed its first 14 shots. But the Yellow Jackets used a 22-6 run over the final seven minutes to catch up in front of the stunned Clemson crowd.
But the Yellow Jackets shooting touch disappeared once more in overtime as they shot just 1 of 10 from the field.
Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory went to a press at the end to help the rally in regulation. “But you’ve got to score to press and we didn’t score,” Gregory said.
The extra period, though, was all Clemson with Donte Grantham getting a layup and Hall scoring the next four points to build a 66-60 lead. Georgia Tech could not get closer and lost for the 10th straight time at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Jaron Blossomgame had 19 points to lead Clemson and Harrison added 15 before fouling out in regulation.
Marcus Georges-Hunt had 20 points for Georgia Tech.
Clemson was up 30-7 in the first half and still comfortably ahead 54-38 on Rod Hall’s bucket with 6:55 to go. That’s when the Yellow Jackets found their stroke. Jackson started with a 3-pointer before Georges-Hunt’s three-point play. When Travis Jorgenson followed with a 3, Georgia Tech had the lead in single digits, 54-47.
Georges-Hunt had six straight points in the final 90 seconds and Josh Heath made two foul shots with to tie the game at 60-all. Hall dribbled away the ball late in Clemson’s following possession to bring on overtime.
The Yellow Jackets missed three attempts on their first possession in overtime. Gregory thought if just one of those had fallen, it might’ve been enough to topple a Clemson club reeling the previous few minutes. Instead, Hall regrouped his teammates to keep grinding.
“Sometimes you let your foot off the pedal and that’s what happened,” Harrison said. “We kept our heads strong and we fought back.”
Both Clemson and Georgia Tech had lost four of their past five ACC games with the Yellow Jackets win in their stretch coming against the Tigers, 63-52, on Feb. 16.
This one, though, was all Clemson, in a large part to the awful shooting performance in the first half by the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets have lost 12 of their 14 ACC games by a combined 46 points, that includes overtime defeats at Notre Dame, at Duke and at Clemson.
Clemson: Tigers coach Brad Brownell won eight ACC games for the fourth time in his first five seasons, which had not been accomplished previously in program history.
Senior Day brought stories from Clemson coach Brad Brownell, who told the crowd after the game that the school division that might miss senior Damarcus Harrison the most was parking services. “He had some issues” with parking violations, Brownell joked, before adding that he and his parents got things straightened out.
Georgia Tech shot 5 of 34 (14.8 percent) in the first period and overtime. It shot 16 of 29 in the second period during its rally.
Georgia Tech closes ACC regular-season play at home Tuesday night against No. 15 North Carolina.
Clemson is home against North Carolina State on Tuesday night.