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Yellow Jackets Lose Alvarado, Game 80-69

The team showed some good fight in the second half but fell short

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech lost more than just a game on Sunday against visiting Duke. The Yellow Jackets did lose, 80-69, but the biggest loss came with 8:14 left in the first half when starting PG Jose Alvarado fouled Duke’s Javin DeLaurier and landed awkwardly on his left arm, likely suffering a fracture. During a long media timeout, Alvarado walked to the locker room with trainers and ESPN declined to show the replay of the gruesome fall. At halftime, the freshmen emerged from the locker room with his left arm in a cast above his elbow and his arm in a sling. After a brief appearance on the court, he was taken to a local hospital for X-Rays and other imaging to determine the extent of the damage.

Though Alvarado’s injury will be the big story for Yellow Jacket fans, there was still a game to be played. At the time of the injury, the Yellow Jackets were down 26-10 and struggling to gain any traction against Duke’s pressure. On the other end, Duke was scoring almost at will. Stunned by the loss of Alvarado, the Jackets continued to struggle the rest of the half and entered the locker room down 43-26.

The second half started with more of the same. The Blue Devils started the half on an 8-point run and led by as much as 26 points. Looking for a spark, Coach Josh Pastner turned to a pair of freshmen that had largely been buried on the bench since the start of ACC play. Evan Cole and Moses Wright played most of the second half and, combined with stellar play from Josh Okogie, made things at least a little bit interesting down the stretch. The Yellow Jackets held Duke without a field goal for about 5 minutes and went on a 15-2 run to close the lead down to 65-53 on a Moses Wright dunk with 7:01 remaining. From there, Tech was able to keep within shouting distance of Duke but never quite got within single digits. With 1:48 left, Evan Cole rebounded a missed Tadric Jackson 3-pointer and slammed it home to close the lead to 10 points, the closest Tech would get in the second half.

Duke was without super freshman Marvin Bagley III, who was held out of the game to nurse a knee injury. The Blue Devils were led in scoring by Grayson Allen, who scored 23 points, his first 20-point game since December 30th. Georgia native Wendell Carter Jr recorded a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Josh Okogie was the star for Georgia Tech, playing the full game and scoring 29 points on 7/18 shooting. After Alvarado’s injury, Okogie stepped up and shouldered a share of the point guard duties along with Brandon Alston and Jackson. Evan Cole finished second on the team in scoring, playing 21 minutes off the bench and recording a career-high 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block as well as playing fairly good defense on Grayson Allen when the Jackets went to man. Moses Wright played 20 minutes off the bench and scored 9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. It’s hard to overstate the loss of Jose Alvarado for the Yellow Jackets, but it’s probably safe to say that Cole and Wright will have a considerably bigger role on the team going forward.

With the loss, Georgia Tech falls to 11-14 and 4-8 in conference play. The Jackets’ next game is at Wake Forest on Wednesday, February 14th. The game will tip at 9:00 pm and will be aired on regional affiliates.

EDIT: Per Josh Pastner’s post game comments, Jose Alvarado suffered a dislocated elbow and will likely miss the remainder of the season.