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Yellow Jacket Roundup: Let’s All Just Play Syracuse

Georgia Tech women’s basketball gets their turn against a bushel of teams that just can’t figure out the Institute.

And we’re on the way to win 400.
Georgia Tech Athletics/Danny Karnik

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - Tech’s first super-weekend of the spring brought swimming and diving, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s tennis home while track and field and women’s tennis hit the road.

No. 14 Women’s Tennis

Coming off their final four appearance, the Jackets get back to work after a few fall tournaments in Ann Arbor. Tech went a clean 4-4 in singles and 2-2 in doubles in the first day of competition Saturday, with the tournament continuing through Monday. Regardless, I wouldn’t write too much into this. Lineups are in flux, eight singles matches is uncommon, and we didn’t take any awful losses. More on this team next week with more data, and hopefully an intrepid reporting trip up to Ken Byers Tennis Complex.

This Week: Tech hosts the ITA Kickoff Weekend at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.

No. 20/NR Swimming and Diving

The no. 20 Tech men took the vote-receiving Gamecocks down to the wire, defeating the guests by a narrow six point margin, while the women weren’t quite so lucky, falling by a significant bit to South Carolina.

The best part about dual meet swimming is when the meet hinges on the final swim of the meet, typically the 400 Freestyle Relay. The action Saturday at the McAuley Aquatic Center did not fail to disappoint. The Tech men broke 3:00.00, a significant barrier in the event, to take first, while the B relay took care of business by finishing third, as well. Oddly, there were just two relay events, but Tech took first in the 200 Medley Relay to begin the meet, their best event as a team. Freshman Kyle Barone won the 100 backstroke, while Tim Slanschek lead a sweep of the 200 Butterfly, while Corben Miles did the same in the 50 Freestyle. Meanwhile, Camryn Hidalgo swept the women’s diving events, and Emily Ilgenfritz, Iris Wang, and Kristen Hepler got wins of their own.

This Week: Tech hosts Denver Friday and Saturday at the McAuley Aquatic Center.

Women’s Basketball

Thursday, January 11th: Georgia Tech (12 - 6) falls on the road to Clemson (13 - 5), 71-61.

Sunday, January 13th: Georgia Tech (13 - 6) upsets no. 12 Syracuse (15 - 3), 65-55.

Apologies to readers last week, I missed the score at the end of the Louisville line. Tech still did lose though, sadly.

That said, it was once again another 1-1 week for the Jackets. As I was sitting down to write this, I had decided that the loss on the road at Clemson - what is it with historic success, or lack of it, in Littlejohn Coliseum for Tech teams? - was a bad one. Upon further consideration, Tech played them competitively, led by Elizabeth Balogun’s 23 point effort, and they’re 4-1 in conference play, and a very similar record to the Yellow Jackets. That said, we had a shot to beat them, and led early, but didn’t. Tech was out-rebounded, which is not usual, and allowed 45% shooting, which is extremely hard to overcome. Winning the home leg of this annual pair of games is a definite possibility, and would be, frankly, ideal.

However, Tech got a win that was much more impressive than the loss was unfortunate when they returned to the friendly confines of McCamish Pavilion to host the no. 12 Syracuse Orange. In what would become their second home win over a top 15 team, Tech came out strong, leading 12-5 towards the end of the first quarter. However, Syracuse was able to quickly close the gap, leading 15-12 at the end of the frame. Once Syracuse figured out the Tech offense and was able to adjust, the Jackets were smothered. Tech trailed by 10 at the half, 35-25, and opened the half with a huge three pointer by Balogun, but the Orange answered with a pair of their own. It was a dagger.

But then it wasn’t. Tech tightened the ropes, and Lorela Cubaj and Kierra Fletcher were able to shatter the suffocating Syracuse full court press. Syracuse led 46-35, until they didn’t - Tech didn’t allow a point off of the free throw line the rest of the quarter, finishing the third trailing by just two. With about half of the final quarter to play, Francesca Pan hit a shot from three point land best described as “obviously going in as soon as it left her hands” to tie the game. Tech forced a stop, and took a lead they’d never give back, finishing the game on a 16-3 run, and outscored their guests 40-20 in the second half. Tech was able to not just eke out a win, but to take command of a deficit and muscle their way to victory, and it was a thoroughly convincing win.

Notably, Fletcher and Balogun each put up more than 20 points, and Pan’s double-double and clutch shooting was not to be ignored. Tech won the battle on the glass, and was sure to lock down the Orange’s top scoring threat. That’s good scouting, effective adjustments, and executing their bread and butter - rebounding and defense - at its finest. The 2,106 in attendence, about normal for ACC based on the eye test, did a fantastic job making themselves heard, especially as Tech came to life in the second half. This is Tech’s highest ranked victory in half a decade, and Tech’s young players were excellent in the win. Tech was on the bubble in the bracketology debate, but this should give this exciting team a healthy push in the right direction.

This Week: It’s Tech’s bye during the week, while they rest up on campus before hosting the North Carolina State Wolfpack at the same time, same place next Sunday. Definitely worth checking out.

Men’s Tennis

Cole Gromley, Carlos Divar and Philip Gresk were able to steal wins against no. 16 Illinois on Saturday, as Tech went 3-6 in a rather large set of nine singles matches. This was the first time the whole gang was in one place, in holiday weekend exhibition play at Ken Byers. Allowing myself the same leeway I did for women’s tennis, I’ll refrain from bold strokes, having not yet seen the boys in action until later this afternoon as Tech hosts the school from Athens at 2:00 PM in the swinging racket version of Clean, Old Fashioned Hate, but Tech’s 1-2-3-4 seems like it could be pretty competitive this spring.

This Week: Clean, Old Fashioned Hate today at Ken Byers today, followed by two mid-majors from the state of South Carolina later in the week.

Track and Field

Tech sends two long jumpers to Indoor ACCs after the first day of the trip to Nashville. Additionally, the sprints saw some good runs, as well as the men’s distance medley relay, which speaks to Alan Drosky’s extensive work with the cross country and distance track events. Track doesn’t figure to be a national contender, but the hurdles and distance really have come into their own over the past calendar year. I sometimes fail to realize just how strong Tech’s “field” part of track and field team is, but they’re looking great, too, as exhibited by the long jumping prowess. They seem to be trending in the right direction.

This Week: Tech heads to Clemson for the Bob Pollock Invitational.

For Men’s Basketball Coverage:

Click Here (but be warned)

This Week on the Flats:

BOLD for home, REGULAR for away, ITALIC for time and location

Women’s Tennis at the MLK Invitational
All day, Ann Arbor, MI

Men’s Tennis hosts the MLK Tournament
All day, Ken Byers Tennis Complex

Men’s Basketball vs. Notre Dame
7:00 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ACC Network Extra / Regional Affiliates, and the Georgia Tech IMG Basketball Radio Network (WCNN 680 AM / 93.7 FM Atlanta)

Men’s Tennis vs. The Citadel
2:00 PM, Ken Byers Tennis Complex

Thursday: OFF

Swimming and Diving vs. Denver
3:00 PM, McAuley Aquatic Center, ACC Network Extra

Track and Field at the Bob Pollock Invitational
All day, Clemson, SC

Women’s Tennis hosts ITA Kickoff Weekend
All day, Ken Byers Tennis Complex

Swimming and Diving vs. Denver
11:00 AM, McAuley Aquatic Center, ACC Network Extra

Men’s Basketball at Duke
12:00 PM, Durham, NC, ACC Network Extra / Raycom Sports and the Georgia Tech IMG Basketball Radio Network (WCNN 680 AM / 93.7 FM Atlanta)

Track and Field at the Bob Pollock Invitational
All day, Clemson, SC

Women’s Tennis hosts ITA Kickoff Weekend
All day, Ken Byers Tennis Complex

Women’s Basketball vs. North Carolina State
2:00 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1

Men’s Tennis vs. Furman
3:30 PM, Ken Byers Tennis Complex

Women’s Tennis hosts ITA Kickoff Weekend
All day, Ken Byers Tennis Complex