The Thrillerdome strikes again! Wednesday night, with a top 25 team in the building for the first time this year, the Jackets pulled out their best performance of the season to send the Hurricanes home with a loss. Josh Okogie led the way for Tech with thirty points and nine rebounds en route to a 64-54 win over #15 Miami. The win built upon a theme from last season of big home wins and was Josh Pastner’s fourth win over a top 15 team in just 20 ACC games.
As could have been predicted with two strong defenses facing off, both teams struggled from the field for much of the night. Despite Tech finishing the night shooting just 39% with a lone three pointer, their effort on the defensive side of the ball, particularly in the second half, ended up winning them the game. After an average first half shooting the ball for the Hurricanes, the Tech defense locked them down in the second period of play, holding Miami to just eight made field goals on 29% shooting. The Jackets used a nearly seven minute field goal drought by Miami to stretch a two point lead into a 12 point lead and made sure to never lose the lead again. The Hurricanes came into the game with four players averaging over 10 points per game, but Tech did a great job making sure none of the Miami players were able to singlehandedly take the game over. Only one Hurricane, Dewan Huell, ended the game in double figures, with thirteen points.
Georgia Tech came into Wednesday night’s matchup ranked outside the top 200 in offensive efficiency and were coming face to face with a top five defensive team in the country. For most of the game, the offense looked like it had for much of the year and the Yellow Jackets were struggling to find easy buckets. After their defense helped put them up by 12, a five minute scoring drought saw the lead cut back down to two. Tech went on to make their final six field goals of the night, never letting Miami get back in front.
Josh Okogie was the star of the night for the Jackets, delivering a 30 point scoring performance to go along with nine rebounds and three steals. The thirty point outing was the third highest of his career, behind 38 and 35 point games a season ago. Josh was able to deliver such an outstanding performance by getting easy buckets and getting to the line. The sophomore guard was one of the best in the country a season ago at getting to the line and was able to do it 12 times tonight, make nine of his freebies. With the thirty point effort, Okogie is now averaging 18 points per game on the season.
Point guard Jose Alvarado made multiple freshman mistakes tonight, resulting in seven turnovers and no assists. However, the tough NYC native made up for it with two of the most important plays of the game. With Tech clinging to a five point lead and under three minutes to play, Alvarado came up with a strip of Bruce Brown, was subsequently fouled, and went on to drain both free throws. Just over a minute later, Alvarado came out of nowhere to block a Chris Lykes three point attempt, and flew down the court with the ball to make an open layup which stretched the lead back to double digits and essentially sealed the game. Alvarado finished the game with a pair of steals and pair of blocks.
Next up for the Jackets is a matchup on Saturday with 7-8 Yale who will be coming off a week of rest after beating Kennesaw State 89-74 last Saturday. The game will tip off from McCamish at 7:30 ET.