ATLANTA — — Georgia Tech returned from a 17-day layoff with one of its most impressive showings of the season, routing No. 20 Clemson 83-65 as three players scored more than 20 points Wednesday night.
Michael Devoe led the way with 22 points, while Moses Wright and Jordan Usher chipped in with 21 apiece.
The Yellow Jackets (7-3, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) built a nine-point halftime lead and pulled away after the break to hand the Tigers their second straight blowout loss.
Coach Josh Pastner was worried that his team might be rusty after having four straight games postponed because of COVID-19 protocols.
Not to worry. The Yellow Jackets picked up where they left off to stretch their winning streak to five in a row, further bolstering their hopes of finally reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010.
Clemson, on the other hand, has looked like a different team since going 11 days without a game because of the pandemic.
The Tigers (9-3, 3-3) returned from their unscheduled break last Saturday and were embarrassed at home by Virginia, 85-50.
Now, a second straight game that got out of hand.
Clemson went more than four minutes without scoring to start the second half, allowing Georgia Tech to stretch its lead to 53-35. The Yellow Jackets led by as many as 22.
Aamir Simms scored 19 points to lead the Tigers, who shot 52% from the field and were hurt badly by 20 turnovers.
The defense wasn’t much better.
Georgia Tech worked the ball inside and out to continually get open looks against the Tigers. The Yellow Jackets connected on 57% of their shots, including 16 of 26 from 3-point range.
Wright scored 17 points in the first half, his production divvied up between four thunderous dunks along with a pair of shots beyond the arc.
Usher chipped in with 13 points by halftime , making 3 of 4 from long range. Devoe was perfect on his three shots beyond the stripe, accounting for all of his 9 points.
Georgia Tech led 44-35 at the half.
Clemson: The Tigers have to figure out what happened to their defense during the layoff. They surrendered an average of 57.6 points through their first 10 games, but the last two opponents have gotten far too many easy shots.
Georgia Tech: Pastner’s team isn’t very big or deep, but the Yellow Jackets are getting the sort of play they hoped for from an experienced group of starters. The three-guard lineup gave the Tigers fits.
Clemson: Heads to Tallahassee on Saturday to face Florida State.
Georgia Tech: Plays its second straight game against a ranked team when it travels to No. 13 Virginia on Saturday night.