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Georgia Tech Basketball: Jackets Struggle Against Tough Opponent, Fall to Duke 79-57

Expectations were low for this young, injured Jackets team. Jackets loss puts them at 9-6 on the season, winless so far in the ACC.

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

I think we can all say that the expectations for this game were very low. Georgia Tech was without one of their best players on both offense and defense, Robert Carter Jr. Unfortunately they could not replace him and the Jackets lost a very one sided effort, especially in the second half, by a final score of 79 to 57. On this same day, Carter Jr. underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and is expected to miss 1-2 months. Haven't had the "in" to figure out how bad it was when the surgeons got in there.

This game started in a very teasing way. First off, the lineup was a bit different, with Holsey and Morris filling spots for Carter Jr. and Bolden. This was a typical Tech versus a top opponent- keeping with them, never really pulling away but holding on for dear life. In a game full of runs, this Georgia Tech does a pretty good job putting together runs that compete with some of the best. They shot very well in the first half at over 50% from the field and 33% from three. They limited the success of the Blue Devils around the arc but the Jackets were unable to stop Duke in the paint. At the end of the half, the Jackets trailed by 1, but I knew that the lead would not be ours unless we stepped up our offensive game.

The Jackets have relied heavily on their defensive post presence and went into the half out-rebounding the #16 Blue Devils. This was with sacrifice however, as a large majority of our starters and bench contributors were in early foul trouble with 2 or 3 at the half. The second half started on a 0-8 run, from two huge three pointers and an early shooting foul. The Jackets kept struggling, only seeming to produce on quick transition or by feeding Daniel Miller in the paint. This quick play caused a handful of unforced turnovers, especially from Solomon Poole and some missed shots by Trae Golden. It seemed that the offensive scheme that Gregory had laid out was never put into action, as players took things into their own hands, and unsuccessfully.

A late game run, led by Suliamon, gave Duke the win. Rodney Hood put up 27 points for the game. The Jackets were out-rebounded for the first time this season and shot 49 percent from the field. This stat is much better than the Jackets season average, but it wasn't enough. Marcus Georges-Hunt lead the scoring with 18 points. Daniel Miller recorded 14 points and 8 rebounds and looked like a high caliber draft pick. While the Jackets lost this one, I was very impressed with their efforts as they fought with their backs against the wall (injured, away, and against Duke). Here are some notes:

The Good:

  • Offensive shooting
  • Rebounding the first half
  • Effort in the paint and on defense
  • Points in the paint- Outscored Duke by 2

The Bad:

  • Turnovers
  • Offensive play calling
  • 2nd point chances- 2 for Jackets, 10 for Blue Devils (second chance opportunities)

The Ugly:

  • Solomon Poole
  • One sided foul distribution
  • Perimeter Defense- you can't give good players open shots
  • Free throw shooting- 0% (0-6)

Honestly we did quite a few things good against a great team. In the same way, we also did an AWFUL job in a handful of things.

What do y'all think? Did we play better than expected? Worse? Are we on the rise or struggling? How will we fair in the ACC?