After Georgia Tech's solid win in Athens last Friday most of us were reassured that this year's team was much improved over last year's in most of their problem areas: turnovers and shooting. Some of those old demons came to visit on a chilly Wednesday night in Atlanta, when coach Brian Gregory's former team came for a visit and handed the Jackets their first loss of the season, 82-72.
Things started out right for Tech, who opened up with an early 7-point run consisting of two Daniel Miller scores and an open three by Marcus Georges-Hunt. Miller (who finished with a team-high 20 points) even had a block in there for good measure, and it looked like Tech would be taking care of business all night long down low. About a minute and a half into the game, Dayton took out their starting center Matt Kavanaugh and rotated in Forward Devin Oliver. Oliver was able to deal with Miller a bit more, but he was not totally neutralized. The Jackets had a few TOs here and there (and got a few back), but things were going as well as we've seen in the first three games until there were about nine minutes left in the half. Tech then started to get turnover happy. There were three in a row for four Dayton points to pull the flyers within five. The Jackets responded and took the lead back to seven, however the turnovers did not go away. Dayton went on an 18-4 run near the end of the half on four Tech turnovers to go into the locker room with a 39-32 lead.
Seven points may not seem all that insurmountable, but it sure felt that way. Tech tightened up and only gave away 7 of their 19 turnovers in the second half and even out-rebounded the Flyers 16-13. The more I look at the second half statistics, actually, the more I wonder how we lost this game. Tech shot 48% from the field and 76% from the charity stripe, you can't get much better than that. They just looked...frantic. Almost every turnover in this game came off a bad pass made by someone trying to force a play in the middle. The Flyers did a great job of crashing the basket all night and preventing Miller, Robert Carter, and Kammeon Holsey from getting easy buckets and did a fantastic job playing man defense despite being a smaller team than the Jackets. They were active in the paint and with their hands, and just beat Tech on their end of the floor all night long.
Travis Jorgenson had a nasty leg injury after an attempted layup and looks to have re-injured his knee. He's going to get an MRI on it tonight to see how it is.
Tech's next game is Sunday at 2P.M. at home against North Carolina A&T. Look to see Tech bounce back in that one, I'd say big time.