Monday, March 10, 2008

CLEMSON 70, VIRGINIA TECH 69

With a 70-69 victory over Virginia Tech, Clemson won 10 ACC regular season games for just the third time it their history. But it wasn’t easy.

Demontez Stitt headed to the free throw line for two shots with his team trailing by one and 3.8 seconds to go.
Clemson fans held their breath. At least half of the Tigers' eight losses can be tied to poor foul shooting, for the worst free-throw shooting team in the ACC. It appeared the Hokies had them right where they wanted ‘em.

But the freshman calmly sank both, giving No. 24 Clemson a 70-69 victory and an improbable ending to one of the school's best seasons in years.

The Tigers (22-8, 10-6) locked up third place in the ACC, their best finish since winning the regular-season title in 1990. They will likely get a bid to the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade.

Clemson was just 11-of-21 from the free throw line, but they made them late when it really mattered.

"It was nice to win one with free throws," said James Mays, whose two foul shots with 1:31 left put Clemson ahead 68-66.
While the Tigers face a largely pressure-free ACC tournament, the Hokies (18-12, 9-7) will need at least a couple wins to feel better about their chances of making a second straight NCAA tournament. They finished fourth in the league, but their biggest non-conference win is over Big South regular-season champion UNC-Asheville.

"I'm not one to sit here and politic," said Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg, his head down and his voice barely audible. "If they think we're good enough to get in, we'll get in."

A.D. Vassallo led all scorers with 23 points. Deron Washington had 15 points and eight rebounds and Jeff Allen added 11 points and 12 boards for Virginia Tech, which has a bye in the ACC tournament for the third time in its four years in the league.

Virginia Tech's Deron Washington, center, gets an elbow to the face as he drives to the basket against Clemson's Raymond Sykes, left, and David Potter during the second half of the baketball game in Clemson, S.C., Sunday, March 9, 2008.

Clemson's Terrence Oglesby, right, shoots a three point shot over Virginia Tech's Terrell Bell during the first half. (AP PhotoS/Patrick Collard)

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