In the night cap of a great day for Georgia Tech athletics, Josh Okogie’s 38 points set the freshman scoring record and led the Yellow Jackets to an 82-68 victory over Tulane. The Green Wave entered the game at 1-4, but all four losses came against power conference teams and they were up for the challenge Saturday night. The game got off to a slow and sloppy start as both teams struggled to find shots in the early going. There was a four minute stretch in the first half in which neither team made a field goal, combining to go 0-10 from the field in that span.
Later in the first half, it looked like the Jackets would have a chance to pull away, as Quinton Stephens got hot, scoring 11 points in quick succession. The Green Wave managed to stay right on Tech’s heels, even taking a brief 30-29 lead. Josh Okogie scored the Jackets’ final 6 points in the first half, including a jumper at the buzzer to take a 37-32 lead into the locker room.
Okogie continued his hot streak in the second half, opening up the period on a personal 7-0 run to put some distance between Tech and Tulane. Though the Green Wave would close the lead back to single digits a couple of times in the second half, they were never able to get closer than 5 points. Okogie again led the way late in the game, as he scored all 13 Yellow Jacket points after the final media timeout. In that span, the true freshman went 9-9 from the free throw line, sealing the Yellow Jacket victory.
Okogie’s 38 points came on 12-20 shooting and 13-18 from the charity stripe. He showed an ability to make his own shots, getting into positions where he could either make the basket or draw a foul. His scoring mark broke the freshman scoring record of 33 points, which was first set by Mark Price against Virginia in 1983 and matched by Dion Glover against Seton Hall in 1998. The last Yellow Jacket to score more than Okogie was Kenny Anderson, who put in 42 against Howard in 1991.
Aside from Okogie’s heroics, Ben Lammers continued his excellent start the season, recording his third double-double of the year with 19 points and 12 rebounds. He also added four blocks, giving him 28 on the season, the most in the NCAA. The only other Jacket in double figures was Quinton Stephens, who tallied 14 points and 12 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double.
This game marked Josh Heath’s return from a four game team suspension. He did not immediately return to the starting lineup, but played 23 minutes off the bench, recording 3 points and 5 assists. Tadric Jackson, one of Tech’s leaders coming into the game, struggled to make an impact, playing only 12 minutes off the bench and contributing only 3 points on 1-5 shooting.
The Jackets finished their season-opening five game home stand at 4-1. They will now take to the road for three games before taking a break for Finals. Their next game will be Tuesday at Penn State (4-3) as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The game will tip off at 7:00 pm and be broadcast on ESPNU.