Both the Jackets and Cardinals shot 36% in an ugly game that also featured 28 combined turnovers. Tech started the game with an early 7-0 lead, but trailed by one at halftime. In the second half, the Jackets could not buy a basket and a 15-2 Louisville run stretched the Cardinal lead to as many as 11. However, the Yellow Jackets never gave up and held Louisville scoreless from the 8:02 mark to the 2:30 mark as they climbed their way back into the game. Down three in the final minute, Adam Smith got clean looks on three three-point attempts, but was unable to get any of them to fall and Louisville held on by three points.
Both Charles Mitchell and Chinanu Onuaku picked up double-doubles and dominated the game for both teams. Mitchell went 6-7 for 15 points and added 12 rebounds while Onuaku went 7-10 for 17 points and pulled in 11 rebounds. Outside of Mitchell and Onuaku, neither team got much from their key contributors. Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith combined to go 8-30 for the Jackets and Trey Lewis and Damion Lee combined for 6-24 for the Cardinals.
The Louisville defense deserves a lot of credit for suffocating the Jackets all night, but there was no excuse for the 17 turnovers committed by Tech. The Jackets were sloppy with the ball, not aggressive on loose balls, and had multiple shot clock violations. Jacobs, Georges-Hunt, Smith, and Mitchell combined for 14 of the 17 turnovers.
In what has become a common theme for the Jackets in recent games, they mounted an impressive late game comeback. After comebacks against ND and Clemson, Tech did it once again tonight, but couldn't finish the job this time around. Something has clearly changed with this team and confidence is at a different level near the end of games. A loss tonight is certainly disappointing and Tech did not play well for most of the night, but the way the Jackets fought back in a tough road environment should give Tech fans hope for Saturday's finale against Pittsburgh and a potential run in the ACC Tournament.
The loss tonight drops Tech to 17-13 and 7-10 in the ACC. An already bleak shot at the NCAA tournament looks even bleaker at this point and the Jackets will now likely need a deep run in the ACC Tournament. That said, the NIT is very much in sight with one or two more wins.
Tech returns home for their final game of the season on Saturday afternoon at 2 EST. Saturday's game will be Senior Night for MGH, Smith, Mitchell, White, and Nick Jacobs and hopefully a big crowd will turn out. Pittsburgh is coming off a win over Duke last weekend and faces Virginia Tech tomorrow. Both teams will be fighting for the postseason and it should be a great game.