Peacock comes through at the line

ATLANTA -- For those Georgia Tech basketball fans who believe in good omens, Tuesday night's game with No. 17 Clemson had plenty of them for the 19th-ranked Yellow Jackets.

For the second time in as many games, Zachery Peacock had the game in his hands.

And for the second straight time, the 6-foot-8, 235-pound senior delivered -- this time, with a pair of free throws with three seconds remaining to lift Tech to a 66-64 victory before a lively crowd of 8,738 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Freshman Derrick Favors had perhaps the best game of his young career with 17 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots as the Jackets (14-4) followed up with a win just three days after a victory over then-No. 12 North Carolina on Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C.

It marked the first time since the Final Four season of 2003-04 in which the Jackets (14-4) have defeated ranked teams in back-to-back games.

And at 3-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Tech is now above .500 in league play for the first time since Jan. 8, 2006.

"It's a big win," said Tech post and Norcross grad Gani Lawal, who posted his eighth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds despite being limited to just 20 minutes because of foul trouble. "I haven't had time to do the research on that, but I'm happy we got our third (ACC) win, and now we can go after our fourth."

Both teams got off to a sloppy start, committing a combined six turnovers and missing a combined five free throws in six attempts by the second media timeout with 11:23 left in the first half.

However, when the teams were able to hold on to the ball, each of their Gwinnett grads were able to have an early impact.

Wesleyan grad Tanner Smith had a hand in Clemson's first three baskets with a 3-pointer and two assists as the Tigers built as much as a 9-2 lead following Jerai Grant's layup just 3:11 into the game.

"We had the pace we wanted (at the start)," said Smith, who finished with 10 points, six rebounds and three assists. "We kind of enforced our style, but then we let up a little."

Lawal helped the Jackets fight back, and when he completed his second dunk in as many possessions with 10:10 left in the half, Tech had vaulted into a 13-11 lead.

A 17-8 run over a 4:13 stretch capped by Favors converting two alley-oops from Glen Rice Jr. -- the latter a three-point play -- helped the Jackets build their biggest lead of the game at 31-21 with 3:28 left in the opening frame.

But Clemson rallied for an 8-4 run over the final 3:09 to pull back to within 35-29 by intermission.

And after Tech was able to build its lead back up to as much as nine at 43-34, the Tigers quickly rallied with a 14-3 run, capped by a Smith 3-pointer. Devin Booker than stole the inbound pass as Tech tookits first lead in almost 18 minutes at 48-47 with 11:58 to play.

The game then became a see-saw affair, with three lead changes and five ties, and neither team leading by more than four points.

Each team had a chance to hold for the last shot in the final 35 seconds, only to commit turnovers, which gave Tech the ball back with 9 seconds left.

The Jackets then inbounded and found Peacock, their third option on the play, who was fouled by Trevor Booker -- who led all scorers with 19 points -- with three seconds left.

Peacock then calmly stepped to the line and rattled home both free throws to put the Jackets up 66-64.

"I don't know how it is, but (the ball) is managing to wind up in my hands," Peacock said. "It's a walk in the park -- just practicing shooting free throws."

Clemson had one more chance after a timeout, but Lawal helped disrupt Grant's inbound near halfcourt.

And Rice -- who had perhaps the best game of his freshman season with nine points, four rebounds, four assists and two blocks -- fell on the loose ball as the buzzer sounded to give Tech the win.