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Tech Basketball Escapes Against Bethune-Cookman 68-65

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Tech avoids catastrophe in a Thanksgiving hangover game on the backs of Devoe and Banks

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Game Recap

Georgia Tech (3-2, 1-0) defeated Bethune-Cookman (5-3) on Sunday night, but it wasn’t pretty. The Jackets started off the game without their star center, James Banks, due to disciplinary reasons. Fortunately Banks was able to check in with about 15 minutes to go in the first half, but Tech found themselves quickly in a 20-10 hole. The Jackets kept fighting and found themselves down just 2 (36-34) at half after Bubba Parham’s buzzer beating shot to end the half. The Jackets tried to pull away several times in the second half but the Wildcats kept fighting and never let Georgia Tech lead by more than 4 points. In the end, Devoe put the team on his back offensively, scoring 9 of the final 11 points for the Jackets, including the and-one layup with 7 seconds to go. The layup and free throw sealed the game for Pastner’s squad in the end as Leon Redd missed a 24 foot 3-pointer as time expired. The Jackets came away victorious 68-65 in a game that was much closer than it should have been.

Game Notes

  • Michael Devoe continues to be sensational for Georgia Tech and is well on his way to being on an All-ACC team this season. The sophomore guard scored 27 points on 11-16 shooting and was responsible for almost half of Tech’s total points.
  • James Banks was huge on the defensive end of the floor tonight with a career high 8 blocks in just 28 minutes. Bethune-Cookman’s big, Cletrell Pope had a block on Banks early in the game and that seemed to ignite James’s career night. Banks nearly missed a triple double finishing with 12 points 10 rebounds and 8 blocks.
  • Rebounding was a PROBLEM tonight. The Jackets were out-rebounded 40-32 and 20-10 on the offensive glass. Cletrell Pope had 11 offensive rebounds, leading to many second chance points for the Wildcats. Banks altered many of Bethune-Cookman’s shots by blocking it or just by his sheer presence, but the supporting cast failed to box out on numerous occasions.
  • 3-point shooting continues to be a problem. The Jackets were 2-10 tonight and nobody made a 3-pointer outside of Devoe (2-4).
  • Feels weird saying this, but the turnover problem slightly improved tonight. The Jackets had a season low 13 turnovers, but still lost the turnover battle 13-12. This should hopefully be better when Jose Alvarado returns against Kentucky.
  • Moses Wright had a nice game. The junior big had 12 points and 12 rebounds on 6-8 shooting. There were a couple of plays that he forced and that can be seen with his 4 turnovers.

Highlights

  • Great ball movement and quick passes resulted in an easy slam for Evan Cole. Khalid Moore passed to Moses Wright, who caused the zone to collapse and found a cutting Evan Cole for the dunk. This was textbook zone-beating offense.
  • Bubba Parham drives into the lane and used his instincts to make a phenomenal pass to Moses Wright for an easy dunk.
  • Moses Wright takes matters into his own hands with the one handed flush.
  • Michael Devoe makes the game-winning and-one layup with the clock winding down.
  • Overall game highlights here courtesy of the ACC Digital Network.

Final Thoughts

  • Georgia Tech hit one of Pastner’s keys to the game tonight: make more free throws than the other team attempts. The Jackets made 14 free throws, while the Wildcats only attempted 11. However, I don’t think Pastner is happy about this because the Jackets missed 11 free throws and shot 56% from the line. This has been a recurring problem this season and has arguably cost the team 2 wins already. The Jackets will need to significantly improve from the charity stripe if they want to sniff the NCAA Tournament.
  • Tech desperately need Bubba Parham to gain confidence. Parham was a volume scorer and elite 3-point shooter at VMI, but has failed to make more than 3 shots in a game for Georgia Tech. He finished with 6 points and 0 3-point field goals in 34 minutes. Hopefully this changes soon, because he has the talent to be much better than this.
  • Georgia Tech frequently loses games they shouldn’t around this time and is fortunate to avoid a loss tonight. Tech cannot repeat tonight’s performance or they will lose against better teams. As Pastner has said many times, they need to survive until Jose Alvarado and Jordan Usher return. It is imperative that they avoid bad losses without these key players in order to keep their tournament hopes alive.

Georgia Tech will be back in action on Wednesday night in McCamish against Nebraska. This game will be a part of the B1G vs ACC Challenge.

When: December 4th at 7:15pm
Where to Watch: ESPNU