Don’t watch the first half. Don’t ever watch the first half again. In fact, can we destroy all recordings of the first half for the sake of humanity? Please?
For those who didn’t watch this game, you got lucky. You missed possibly the worst single half performance of this team all season. And yes, I am counting that time we barely beat the worst team in all of Division 1 basketball. It was that bad.
Through 8 minutes, the Jackets had scored a whopping 2 points. Had they continued that blistering pace, they would have ended the game with 10 points. It did not get much better from there. They ended the first half shooting below 20% from the field with 10 turnovers. The only saving grace was some solid defense that kept them in the game. It helped that BC couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn, but GT still played solid defense and rebounded phenomenally. The Jackets ended the first half on a run, but still entered the break down 22-15. To the third worst defensive team on the ACC. And it wasn’t because BC was playing stifling defense either. The Yellow Jackets missed layup after layup, culminating in back-to-back missed “should have been dunk” layups from Okogie. They had decent ball movement and were plenty aggressive, they just could not finish for anything. Tadric finished the half with 7 of the Jacket’s 15 points.
Then the second half happened. Or should I say Tadric happened. He scored on the drive, from deep, and on the post-up. He created for himself when nobody else could do so. Tadric Jackson near single-handedly won this game for Georgia Tech. When nobody else could or would score, Jackson stepped up his game. Boston College started scoring in the second half, but they could not keep pace with the Jackets who ended up with 50 second half points. The credit for this win goes solely to Jackson, Ben Lammers, Josh Okogie, Josh Heath, and Justin Moore. These guys all played the first 19 minutes of the second half and put this game out of reach. With Quinton Stephens getting injured early in the game, Tech needed all these players to step up and they did.
The star of this game for the Jackets was very clearly Tadric Jackson. He didn’t add much other than scoring, just 1 rebound and assist, but his 29 points on 12-21 were essential for a team that could not shoot today. I want to give one more shout-out to the Tadric Jackson post-up. It is my favorite GT basketball move of all time, barely edging out the Marcus Georges-Hunt baseline drive. Ben Lammers struggled to get room for a shot, but still ended with 14 points on 6-13 shooting to go along with 17 rebounds. Josh Okogie struggled hard early in the game, but was able to recover to join Ben Lammers in the double-double category. He ended with 12 points on 3-11 shooting (6-8 from the line) and 12 rebounds. Jackson was responsible for getting the Georgia Tech lead, but Okogie and Lammers stepped it up very late to help GT pull away. Okogie’s best play was a beautiful baseline drive into a massive dunk. Even on his off day he was creating tons of chances for himself. Neither Heath nor Moore lit up the score sheet, adding just 5 points each, but they helped in their own ways. They combined for 13 assists and Moore also added 8 rebounds. They also combined for only 5 turnovers, with most of those in the first half. They really stepped up their game and made a difference for the Jackets.
Boston College’s offense has actually been pretty solid this year, thanks in large part to Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson. Those two had decent games, scoring 13 and 17 points respectively on 5-8 and 7-16 shooting. Robinson spent much of the game on the bench with foul trouble which greatly benefited the Jackets. Outside of those two, not much fell for Boston College. Jordan Chatman was 0-8 from the field, while fellow starters AJ Turner and Mo Jeffers went just 2-11 and 3-9 from the floor. The bench added just 5-15. The Eagles had a chance to put the game away early, but they never got an offensive rhythm going.
So how does this affect the Jacket’s bubble chances? Well it certainly doesn’t hurt the chances, but it doesn’t really help. A loss would have been devestating, but a win just keeps them floating. The next two games are going to be huge. First the Jackets head down to Coral Gables on Wednesday to face fellow bubble rider Miami, before coming back home next Sunday against a firmly-on-the-bubble Syracuse team. Remember when the Jackets beat #6 Miami on a Georges-Hunt buzzer-beating layup in 2013? Remember when they beat #7 Syracuse at the Carrier Dome in 2014? Hopefully GT sees some repeats of those performances in the upcoming week. Going 1-1 in these games would keep the Jackets at the same place they are now. Going 0-2 would put our bubble chances on life support, while 2-0 would put us into the tournament field.