First, some notes from Tech’s 86-81 win over Clemson in the ACC tournament:
It was the third time in four years that the No. 12 seed beat No. 5.
Lewis Clinch’s 32 points were the third-most by a Yellow Jacket in an ACC tournament game, behind Will Bynum’s 35 in 2005 and Mark Price’s 33 in 1983. Clinch had scored a total of 14 points in his three previous ACC tourney games.
Gani Lawal’s 7 offensive rebounds were one short of Malcolm Mackey’s Tech record, set in 1991.
Clemson is 7-8 since its 16-0 start.
Tech had 18 assists against 17 turnovers, one of the few times this season the Jackets posted more assists than turnovers.
Clinch, Iman Shumpert and Gani Lawal played 35, 33 and 32 minutes respectively. We’ll see how fresh they are against FSU. Clinch rolled his right ankle when he came down on Tanner Smith’s foot. He called it a “light roll” and said it didn’t hamper him after he got it taped up.
Lawal, who was unstoppable after a bad start, said the Jackets won because they got loose balls and came up with tough rebounds down the stretch.
“In many games this year…other teams made defining plays. If it was a 50-50 ball, they’d come up with it,” he said. “Every time Clemson came with a punch we came with a punch of our own. We really kept our intensity up and withstood their runs to make the big plays.”
Lawal (20 points, 14 rebounds) reiterated that the tournament is a “whole new season. Two and 14? We’re going to try to forget about that and have four one-game seasons in the ACC tournament.”
Looking ahead to Florida State, Lawal said the gameplan is simple: contain Toney Douglas.
“I feel he should have been player of the year,” Lawal said. “Contain Toney Douglas and attack their length and athleticism and have a real aggressive mindset.”
In the only regular-season meeting, FSU won 62-58 in Tallahassee as Douglas scored 10 of his game-high 21 in the final 5:09. The Jackets shot 34.4 percent for the game, with 18 turnovers. Lawal shot 5-for-16, Clinch shot 2-for-11, and Shumpert and Lance Storrs each went 1-for-6. Tech was 2-for-15 from beyond the arc.
Lawal recalled that a bunch of “dumb turnovers and ill-advised shots” cost Tech.
“We very well should have won that game — that’s another one” that got away, he said.
But now Clinch is hot, and the rest of the team is getting better looks because opponents are concentrating on him. Plus, Tech should have a homecourt advantage.
So what’s your prediction for Tech-FSU?