In front of another wild McCamish Pavilion crowd, the Georgia Tech basketball team dominated Belmont 71-57 and moved onto the NIT quarterfinals for the second consecutive season. Lured out by the promise of free doughnuts and student tickets courtesy of Coach Josh Pastner, the Yellow Jacket faithful packed the house to support their team one final time. The win was the Jacket’s 17th at home, breaking the school record previously held by the 2006-2007 team.
The Bruins jumped out to an early lead but Tech put together a 14-2 run out of the first TV timeout to seize control in the first half. The Yellow Jacket offense went cold as the half ran on and Belmont clawed away at the lead, led by PG Austin Luke. The Bruins briefly took a 26-25 lead with under two minutes left in the half but Tech answered and went to the break on a 5-0 run to reclaim the lead. The Jackets never looked back. Tech exploded out of the locker room and blew the game wide open, starting the half on a 24-5 run and putting the game out of reach.
Tech won this game by doing what they’ve done well all year. The defense was intense, hounding Belmont’s guards and forcing bad shots and 17 turnovers. Ben Lammers controlled the paint and won his match up with Bruins’ star, Evan Bradds. Bradds, one of the most efficient scorers in the country, was held to 10 points on 4-12 shooting. On offense, the Jackets shared the ball as well as they have all season, assisting on an insane 23 of 26 field goals.
The Yellow Jackets were led by senior Quinton Stephens, who was outstanding in his last home game. Stephens scored a career-high 23 points on 10-17 shooting, including a couple of NBA-level three pointers in the first half. Q added in 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and some excellent all-around defense. Second in scoring was freshman Josh Okogie with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Ben Lammers recorded his 15th double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Tadric Jackson added 12 off the bench, 10 of which came in the first half.
The Jackets will have a quick turnaround for the next round of the NIT. They will travel to Oxoford, Mississippi for a Tuesday night game against Ole Miss. The Rebels knocked off top seeded Syracuse yesterday. The winner will advance to the NIT semifinals in Madison Square Garden.