ATLANTA — Milton Jennings is still earning his way back into the good graces of Clemson coach Brad Brownell.
"He's played better since the suspension," Brownell said. "I hope it's something that can continue."
Jennings scored 15 points and K.J. McDaniels added 10 to help Clemson take an easy 56-37 victory over Georgia Tech on Tuesday night.
The Tigers (14-13, 6-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won three of four overall.
Kammeon Holsey finished with 12 points and Brandon Reed had 11 for Georgia Tech (9-18, 2-11 ACC).
The Yellow Jackets, who became the first ACC team with 11 league defeats, have dropped 10 of 11 and 14 of 16. Not since losing 40-37 at Boston College on Jan. 19, 1980, had Georgia Tech scored so few points.
Jennings, in his fifth game back since returning from an academics-related suspension, proved to be an early mismatch for Georgia Tech's defense, scoring 13 points in the first half and converting a three-point play in the final 2 minutes to give the Tigers their first double-digit lead.
Brownell did not allow Jennings, who has been suspended twice this season, to speak with reporters after the game.
"He knows he's walking on thin ice with me in terms of the way some things have gone," Brownell said. "There have been a couple of things that happened that I'm not pleased with. I'm not going to tolerate it, but at his core Milt is a good kid. He does a lot of positive things on our team and on our campus."
Devin Booker opened the second half with a dunk to make it 29-18, and Clemson held a double-digit lead for the rest of the game.
Georgia Tech's offensive output was its lowest in the series since Jan. 25, 1936. For Clemson, the 37 points allowed were the fewest in school history against an ACC regular-season opponent.
"I thought we played well defensively," Tigers senior point guard Tanner Smith said. "We really strung some shots together, and that let us get a lead."
Glen Rice Jr., Georgia Tech's leading scorer and rebounder, missed his second straight game and did not accompany the team to Philips Arena. First-year coach Brian Gregory suspended the junior guard last week for the second time this season, but did not give a reason.
Gregory would not give a timetable for Rice's potential return this season.
"That's a team situation," Gregory said. "That stays within the team. I talked about that before. That's how we handle it."
The Tigers were coming off a 74-52 loss last Saturday at North Carolina, their worst in 35 games under second-year coach Brownell, but they had little trouble taking their fifth straight victory and 10th in the last 14 series matchups with Georgia Tech.
Clemson, which held an opponent under 40 points for the first time this season, never trailed after Andre Young's 3-pointer made it 6-4.
Young finished with nine points to snap a five-game streak of scoring at least 12. The senior guard played just 12 minutes of the second half because of a sore ankle and Clemson's big lead.
"I don't think it's anything serious," Brownell said. "I'm optimistic that he'll be fine."
Georgia Tech hit five of its first 10 shots from the field, but missed 20 of its next 26 before Holsey's reverse layup cut the lead to 44-27.
In the Yellow Jackets' one-point loss, 74-73, last Saturday at Virginia Tech, all five starters scored in double figures. Against Clemson, though, center Daniel Miller had five points. Guards Mfon Udofia and Jason Morris went scoreless, missing a combined nine shots from the field against the Tigers.
For Georgia Tech, the performance was much like its 38-point output in a 32-point home loss Jan. 19 to Virginia.Comment on this story
"We were short-handed tonight and so forth," Gregory said. "We struggled to make plays. We've just got to keep getting the guys better, keep having them play hard and keep plugging away."
Clemson, which hosts North Carolina State on Saturday, stayed in a tie for seventh place in the ACC with Maryland. But to keep building on the win over Georgia Tech, Brownell knows Jennings must continue to impress on and off the court.
"He knows he's got to earn back my trust and his teammates' trust," Brownell said. "When he becomes a distraction to the team and things keep recurring, then you've got to do something about it."