Video courtesy of ACC Digital Network

ATLANTA, GA – Ankle issues? No time for rest? No big deal for Ben Lammers.

Coming on the heels of a 40 minute game at Miami, Lammers put his own heels to work in a pivotal ACC home tilt against Syracuse.

Going the full 40 minutes for the second consecutive game, Lammers was elite on both ends of the court Sunday night. He dropped in a cool 23 points on 11 of 18 shooting. He added 7 rebounds, with 4 coming on the offensive glass. When Syracuse possessed the ball, Lammers disrupted the Orange offense via 7 blocks, 3 steals and several more altered shots.

Put that all together and you have an All-ACC performance from the junior big man from San Antonio.

Most importantly, Lammers’ efforts led the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (16-11, 7-7) to a crucial 71-65 victory over the Syracuse Orange (16-12, 8-7) in a clash of two NCAA tournament bubble teams.

“Ben has just gotten better and better and better and better and better,” said Tech head coach Josh Pastner. “He just gets better and better and better. He’s fantastic.”

Pastner’s emphasis on ‘better’ is also an apt description of Georgia Tech’s track during the 2016-17 season, in large part due to Lammers’ continued progression.

One man does not make a team, and one cannot underestimate the contributions from others.

Senior captain Quinton Stephens also went the full 40 minutes Sunday night while battling through his own injury issues.

“I was bouncy,” said Stephens. “I was ready. You can’t get more jacked up than having a sellout crowd, playing a good Syracuse, playing with my teammates. So I mean, that energy’s contagious.”

Stephens was solid across the board, adding 7 points, 6 rebounds and a career-high 8 assists.

Sunday’s game was one of streaks. Syracuse held a 9 point lead with just over a minute to go in the first half. Georgia Tech closed the half with a 6-0 run, highlighted by a Tadric Jackson 3-point buzzer beater. The Jackets’ run continued over to the 2nd half, stretching to 26-5 over 11+ minutes of game time.

Half of Georgia Tech’s 26 points during the run came from Jackson, who finished with 20 points on 8 of 15 shooting. The junior guard from Tifton, GA has provided a much-needed spark from the bench in Tech’s last three ACC home games, each resulting in a win. Prior to tonight’s effort Jackson poured in 25 vs. Notre Dame and 29 vs. Boston College, with nearly every point valuable to the outcome.

The Jackets led by as much as 13 points. Syracuse’s last gasp effort fell short. Sparked by an effective full court press, the Orange closed the margin to 2 points with under 30 seconds to play but could not pull even.

Georgia Tech is now 7-7 in ACC play with an opportunity to pull above .500 on Tuesday. Up next is the Jackets’ second of two games vs. North Carolina State, a squad looking to heal open wounds and avenge an earlier loss to Tech.

Taking care of business at home on Tuesday is important, and it’s another opportunity for the Jackets to build their resume for something bigger.

Video courtesy of ACC Digital Network

ATLANTA, GA – “It was a tale of two halves,” said Tech head coach Josh Pastner.

Following an offensively inept first half, one in which Georgia Tech (15-10, 6-6) shot just 16.7% with 5 made field goals and 10 turnovers, the Yellow Jackets surged in the second on their way to a 65-54 win over Boston College (9-17, 2-11).

Tech’s two halves were simply a dichotomy. Comparing the first vs. the second, respectively:

  • 15 vs. 50 – the total number of points scored by the Jackets
  • 17% vs. 66% – the Jackets’ field goal percentage
  • 7 vs. 14 – the total number of free throw attempts by the Jackets
  • 10 vs. 4 – the total number of turnovers by the Jackets

“I’ve never seen anything like it in the first half,” said Pastner. “I went in there [during the first half under 4 timeout] and told them, guys, I’ve been in basketball 25-30 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s gotta turn our way. I said ‘God bless all of y’all’. I said we’re due to make a lay-up here or there.”

Sure enough, the shots started falling.

Tech shooting guard Tadric Jackson led the Jackets throughout the ballgame on the scoreboard. Despite early struggles around the rim of his own, he dropped in 9 of the team’s 15 first half points. He raised the stakes in the second with 20 points more, giving him a new career high of 29.

“Towards the end of the first half he really started to drive the ball,” said Eagles head coach Jim Christian. “[He’s] a good post-up guard, so in that area he’s a little bit of a match-up problem for us, a big guard like that. He played really well.”

Jackson’s 29 points were also the 9th most by a Georgia Tech player in an ACC game.

Point guard Justin Moore, forward Josh Okogie and center Ben Lammers also stuffed the stat sheet while playing big minutes.

Moore, healthy for the first time in weeks, added 5 points, 6 assists and 8 rebounds in 27 minutes. He hit just his second 3-pointer of the season to give Tech a 34-32 lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the way. Moore’s work on the glass earned praised from his teammates and coaches.

“Our guards did a great job of rebounding,” said Okogie. “Justin had about 8 rebounds, so that’s big for him.”

“I thought Justin Moore was fantastic,” said Pastner. “Eight defensive rebounds, 6 assists, 1 turnover and [he] hits the biggest three to give us the lead.”

Okogie’s continued aggression on both ends of the court allowed him to notch his second career double-double with 12 points and 12 defensive rebounds. He tacked on 2 blocks and 2 steals in 39 minutes.

Double-doubles are nothing new to Lammers who reeled in his 12th of the season with 15 points and 17 rebounds. Lammers was 2 boards shy of the Georgia Tech record in ACC games.

With 12 ACC games down, the Yellow Jackets are .500 in league play at 6-6. Tech has exceeded nearly all preseason expectations already. But why stop here?

The possibility of an NCAA tournament bid is now squarely on the table. Next up is a visit to Miami on Wednesday, a game the experts surely expect Tech to lose. It is the next opportunity for the Jackets to prove the pundits wrong, and it’s another chance to prove they belong in the big dance.