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.

Video courtesy of ACC Digital Network

ATLANTA, GA - Once is chance. Twice is coincidence. Third time is a trend.

That's what we have now, after the Yellow Jackets (13-8, 5-4) knocked off their third top 15 opponent at home in three tries. This time, Georgia Tech went toe-to-toe with #14 Notre Dame and dropped the Irish 62-60 via last second dramatics.

Tied at 60 all with under 30 seconds remaining, Notre Dame held the ball with 4 seconds separating the game and shot clock. A chance for last shot or, worst case, overtime was almost within grasp. With one timeout remaining, Irish coach Mike Brey chose to let it ride and handed the keys to the game to his energizer bunny, point guard Matt Farrell.

Farrell, maestro of many pick and rolls throughout the game, tried once more. Like many times before, Farrell's attempt was met by hawkish Georgia Tech defense, this time from point guard Josh Heath. Needing to make a play with 7 seconds to go, Farrell forced up a tough one-handed leaner that hit the back iron and slid off the rim.

The rest will find its way into Georgia Tech highlights for years to come.

Jackets' shooting guard Tadric Jackson hauled in the weak side rebound, turned up court and hit freshman phenom Josh Okogie in stride down the right sideline with 2.3 seconds to go.

"I looked up at the clock and saw that I had time, saw 4 seconds on the clock," said Jackson. "The last thing I remembered I saw Josh [Okogie] just sprinting so hard, and I had no choice but to give it to him."

Upon catching the ball just over mid-court, Okogie took just one dribble and two steps en route to the game-winning layup as time expired. McCamish Pavilion roared. And Okogie, shut down and in foul trouble for much of the game, proved one play can make up for the rest.

"I knew what time was on the clock before I caught it, so when I caught the ball, I just knew I had to get going fast," said Okogie. "As soon as I laid it up, I knew it was going in."

Make no mistake about it, the outcome was no fluke. Tech led 35-31 at the half. The Jackets made a normally efficient Notre Dame offense look ordinary to the tune of 40% shooting for the game. Irish captain Steve Vasturia was held to 5 points, 10 points short of his season average, on 1 for 7 shooting.

"It was hard for us to get into any offensive rhythm," said Brey. "The guards that [Pastner] plays can all play defense. You got the shot blockers in the back. We worked like heck to get to 60 points today."

As the wins continue to mount for Georgia Tech, including those of resume-boosting variety, expectations are burgeoning in parallel. Eyes around the program are refocusing toward the NCAA tournament, a sight almost inconceivable prior to ACC play.

Joining the increasing expectations is one more unmistakable rise; that is the enthusiasm around the Georgia Tech basketball program. McCamish Pavilion was a sight to behold, game highlights aside. An oft late arriving crowd was near capacity by tip. The student section was full 30 minutes prior. Those unable to enter due to max capacity waited outside thru halftime for a chance to get in.

The excitement is back. The "Thrill" has come back to the "Thrillerdome". And the 2016-2017 Yellow Jackets have earned every bit of it.