With the leaves finally beginning to change here on the Flats of Atlanta, that means it’s time for basketball season. After taking care of ACC Media Days, the uniform reveal/homecoming concert, and the closed scrimmage, this year’s edition of the Yellow Jackets were finally unveiled at home Saturday evening, hosting the Florida Institute of Technology Panthers, a Division II institution in the Sunshine State Conference colloquially dubbed “Countdown College,” and largely centered around Florida’s healthy space industries.
The Short Version:
The Jackets started out slow, trading baskets back and forth with the visitors, and spotting them various small leads. They tried to pull away a little with the presumptive starters still on the floor, but with a large switch in personnel came a large swing in fortunes for the Jackets. The Panthers even took a 14-12 lead before the Jackets not only took control, but identified it, claimed it, seized it, and throttled their guests into submission. Tech entered the break up 36-17, in the midst of a torrential run that yielded just three points for Florida Tech while yours truly battered the boards at each end of the courts and hauled in 36. The Jackets led by as many as 54 and outscored the visitors 51-19 in the second half. The Jackets emptied the bench, save for Michael Devoe, on their way to the 51 point victory.
The View from Row Four:
Ethan Kreager: “I thought the freshmen, Moore and Sjolund, both looked really good, and I was glad that we were shooting more threes. I also hope that we keep pressing full court into the regular season because we did that really well.”
Akshay Easwaran: “That slow start could have super killed the Jackets but they got it going and kept piling it on. However, it’s an exhibition so you can’t take too much away - but appreciate it for what it is. Tech definitely needs to clean up some things - we looked sloppy a lot of the game, in my opinion, but, in the end we won a game we were definitely supposed to win.”
Cade Lawson: “Honestly...not [too many takeaways]. It’s hard for anything to stand out against that team. Evan Cole had some good putbacks, and they seemed to be playing way more on the perimeter than driving, probably since they’re so small. Ogbonda fouls a lot, which could be concerning, but he’s not a starter - he’s pretty important for depth unless Banks gets to be eligible, though.”
Jake Grant: “I think that Sjolund had a nice shot, and our shooting from three-point-land looked way better than it had. I’m comfortable with them taking that volume with Sjolund, Alston, and the rest looking good from far out. The defense seemed to be better as the game went on, save the last two minutes, especially when we went on that run. We got out, jumped the lanes, and started playing more aggressively - that’s when things started really going our way. Moore can jump. Shembari can play pretty great. It’ll be interesting to see this team against St. John’s, Tennessee, and Northwestern coming up soon.”
Sundry Saturday Thoughts:
- The home white uniforms looked much better in play than they did at the uniform reveal. They’re sharp, well-defined, and look good under the brighter lights. The court looks nice with the giant new half-court logo.
- Uniform reveal event thoughts: well-produced, and a fun night. It would be very welcomed to have another introductory concert/basketball promotional event last year. Massive props to the Athletic Association and the great folks up in the marketing department and ideation for putting on a quality evening in McCamish Pavilion. Can’t say enough for what they do to make events, be they regular games or the special events like this happen in a memorable, special way, and, for all of that, they often don’t get the credit they earn for making attending Georgia Tech events an enjoyable, memorable, and worthwhile experience. The adidas uniforms looked great, the artist was engaging, and it was cool to see Coaches Pastner and Joseph out on the floor in the competitions beforehand. All in all, it was a very well-done night.
- Season ticket holder shirts are available at each game, and student ticket claiming is back to the first-come, first-served model.
- First game is against Lamar this coming weekend, be sure to stop by the Thrillerdome - it’s always more fun live.
Sixth Man of the Year of the Game:
The West Basket. Thank you, basket, for being so impossible for Florida Tech to solve the entire second half. From the free throws that they just wouldn’t seem to sink, to the ball that got wedged between you and the glass, you did some great work. Keep it up, you ring of iron, painted bright orange.
That wraps it up for this written episode of Scions of the Southland. For more rambling, and also legitimate sports opinion, be sure to tune in later this week for the latest and greatest breaking news from non-revenue sports, to basketball, and to football - both breaking down this week’s win against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to previewing the upcoming tilt against Miami back home on the Flats under the bright lights of Bobby Dodd Stadium for the annual whiteout. As always, go Jackets!