After dropping four straight games, the Yellow Jackets were looking to bounce back at home against the Panthers from right down the road. It’s worth noting that three of those four recent losses were to ranked opponents, so winning this game would certainly help rebuild confidence prior to major conference play. Some good news before I get started - this game did NOT go to quadruple overtime… only one this time.
The starting lineup for the Jackets consisted of Devoe, Usher, Khalid, Howard, and Deivon Smith. Offensively, Georgia Tech did a great job capitalizing on open looks early in the game, shooting over 70% for much of the first half. Georgia Tech jumped out to a nice lead and held it for the entire first half. The team did continue the trend of turning the ball over quite a bit, something that has been a thorn in our side the past few weeks. Fortunately, the defense returned the favor, forcing 6 Georgia State first half turnovers.
In the first twenty minutes of play, Khalid and Usher were the leading scorers for Georgia Tech, which was a sight for sore eyes considering this team has been looking for an offensive weapon other than Devoe. At one point, the lead was 15, but at the half, Tech led 40-33 while shooting over 50% from the field and exactly 50% from beyond the 3-pt line. AND! The Jackets won the rebound battle 19-14.
The second half, however, got off to a much different start. A combination of turnovers and cold shooting allowed Georgia State to crawl back into the game, closing the gap to 2 at the under-12. In the first 8 minutes of the second half, the Jackets only scored 4 points…
Georgia State took their first lead with about ten minutes to go in the game, and the Pavilion started to sound like a home game for the Panthers. Foul trouble for a few Tech players, including Devoe and Khalid, forced Pastner into some unconventional lineups, with Tristan Maxwell seeing significant minutes in the middle of the second half. Not to mention - Deebo Coleman was unavailable for the game. Michael Devoe came back in the game, but couldn’t seem to find a rhythm, missing from deep a number of times and missing a number of key free throws with roughly two minutes left. Shortly after, Devoe picked up his fifth foul and would sit the remainder of the game.
The game stayed closed, and Usher hit two crucial free throws to tie the game with 20 seconds left, but Georgia State’s aggressive defense limited the Tech offense to 19 second-half points while forcing 11 second-half turnovers. The Panthers missed a last second shot, and the game would go to overtime.
Tech returned to its first half form at the start of overtime and took a quick 9-point lead. Usher had 9 of Tech’s first 11 points in OT and would finish as the game’s leading scorer (30 points, 10 rebounds). Tech shut down State on the other end, and fortunately didn’t have to endure back-to-back losses to Georgia State.
Tech improves to 6-5 on the season and has a quick turnaround Thursday night against Alabama A&M. See you then. Go Jackets!