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.