CLEMSON -- Sophomore guard Terrence Oglesby likened the past week's message from Clemson's coaches to when his parents caught him acting up.
They weren't mad, they'd say. But they were rather disappointed.
Sunday night's 73-59 victory against Georgia Tech probably sufficed as an act of contrition for 10th-ranked Clemson, even if it might not have washed away the sting of consecutive losses to top-5 opponents.
What the Tigers (17-2, 3-2 ACC) lacked in sharp execution for a while, they compensated for with resolution and effort.
It paid off with a second-half explosion that kept the last-place Yellow Jackets (9-10, 0-6) winless in the conference.
"We wanted to get that winning feeling back," point guard Demontez Stitt said.
If nothing else, Clemson stopped the bleeding as it embarks on another pair of challenging league games -- Thursday at Virginia Tech and Feb. 4 against No. 2 Duke.
Oglesby paved the way with 18 points on five 3-pointers, one of four players in double figures despite the fact Clemson shot just 37.5 percent.
Junior forward Trevor Booker had 11 points to go with 11 rebounds, while sophomore reserve forward Jerai Grant also provided a huge lift defensively, adding 10 points and getting the second-half start.
Forward Gani Lawal notched 14 points and 12 rebounds for Georgia Tech, which has dropped five straight and is off to its worst ACC start in seven years.
"We talked about their being a point when they'd get really physical with us, and we'd have to survive that stretch," Yellow Jackets coach Paul Hewitt said. "They kind of got one flurry, and that was it."
Clemson coach Oliver Purnell had hoped back-to-back losses to No. 1 Wake Forest and No. 5 North Carolina had at least opened the Tigers' eyes to their varied shortcomings.
One of those had been Clemson's doldrums at the beginning and end of halves, and it looked like more of the same when Georgia Tech bounded to a 7-0 lead in the opening 2 1/2 minutes.
The Tigers quickly recovered, though, erasing the deficit by holding the Yellow Jackets scoreless the next eight possessions.
Then, as if to prove Purnell's point, reserve swingman David Potter drained a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left in the half to put Clemson ahead for good, 37-34. And momentum remained in their favor as a result, as they surged into the second half with a 7-0 run that served as the springboard for the rout.
Even after Georgia Tech broke the ice on a 3-pointer with 17:07 remaining, the Tigers poured it on, expanding their margin to 19 as the Yellow Jackets notched just three points the next eight-plus minutes.
"So many games are won and lost in that period of time," Purnell said. "This one was probably won in that period of time."
That said, Purnell was equally displeased with Clemson's offensive performance in the final six minutes, as its halfcourt offense was plagued by poor decisions and forced shots.
Remarkably, its free throw shooting (14-of-19 in the second half) conspired with Georgia Tech's own offensive miseries (40.4 percent shooting) to prevent the outcome from being jeopardized.
All in all, the Tigers seemingly succeeded made strides with the bullet points on Purnell's checklist.
Purnell urged the team at halftime to share the ball more, which yielded several open looks early in the second half. The offense flowed through Booker, whose 2-for-7 outing was more the product of triple teams.
Clemson's press gradually wore on Georgia Tech, and the team actually out-rebounded the ACC's leader in rebounding margin by four.
"Our confidence level had gone down a little bit," Booker said. "But with this win, it went back to where it was before."