Georgia Tech played arguably their best game of the year Saturday night. The Jackets marched into the Carrier Dome and flat out showed up Syracuse on both ends of the ball. After letting a game slip away on Wednesday to #9 Virginia Tech, this is a game that Georgia Tech certainly needed.
The first half of this game was just how everyone expected it to be, close and a defensive battle. Neither team really got anything going, but the Jackets, led by AD Gueye and James Banks, tallied 20 points in the paint in the first half. The Jackets went into the half with a 27-26 lead but it really should have been more because Tech shot 50% to Syracuse’s 32%.
Early in the second half is where the Jackets made their move to pull away. Curtis Haywood and Jose Alvarado fueled a furious 24-7 run in the first 7:48 of the second half. Everyone was flying around on defense, forcing turnovers, and Haywood was lighting it up from deep. Tech continued to find the soft spot in the middle of the zone and were able to either make a move and score or find the open shooter. Pastner found something in Jim Boeheim’s famous zone defense and had the Orange struggling for answers.
Once Georgia Tech went up 51-33 after a Haywood 3, Syracuse made a little run led by Buddy Boeheim. The young shooter hit back to back 3s after a ‘Cuse layup to cut it to 10. After that, the Jackets never looked back as Evan Cole got loose on the inbound play following the timeout to really shift the momentum back to Tech for the remainder of the game.
It did seem like Syracuse was getting poised to make a run late as their full court press was giving the Jackets fits, but the young squad was able to figure the press out and made some big buckets and free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
Georgia Tech’s 73 points was the 3rd most Syracuse had given up all year and their 59.5% strike from the field was the highest against the Syracuse zone all season long. There was little bad mixed as the Jackets turned it over 21 times but they did also force 17 turnovers.
This is a big win early in ACC play and puts the Jackets at 2-1 in league play and 10-6 overall. Up next for Tech is a trip up to Clemson on Wednesday night with a 9:00 tip.
— WreckHavocATL (@wreckhavocatl) January 13, 2019
By: Bret Anderson