February hasn't been a kind month to the Jackets. They started with a win over Wake Forest on February 1st, and after a Wednesday loss to Notre Dame will finish the month at 2-6, losing 5 of their last 6 and three in a row. Yet, as bad as many fans are feeling now about the Jackets, this one provided at least a little hope.
Yes, the Jackets already beat Notre Dame. Yes, Notre Dame is also hovering around .500 and isn't really impressing anyone this year. But they're in their first ACC season after leaving the Big East, and somehow, they seem to me like a noticeably more legitimate team than Wake Forest and Boston College (Georgia Tech's only other victims in ACC play).
Georgia Tech went in to South Bend tonight and really took the Fighting Irish to the wire, and that's without their two leaders having even a decent game. Daniel Miller scored 6 points with 7 rebounds and 3 blocks (decent numbers for a lot of centers, not for Miller), and Trae Golden never got on the board with 10 fruitless attempts from the field and only 2 assists. Even with all that going on, Robert Carter Jr. came up with 19 points and 11 rebounds (including two late 3-pointers that were incredible) and Marcus Georges-Hunt ended with 13, and at crunch time on the road, these Jackets were right there with Notre Dame after a pattern of second-half collapses this season.
The end of the game saw Robert Carter miss a couple of 3-pointers, but he had really good looks at both, and so that becomes more of an "it happens" deal. But again, lots of positive from this game for the Jackets. They finished 10-20 (50%) from 3-point range, hit 8-11 FT's, and only had 6 TO's. Chris Bolden had a solid 9 points on 3-3 shooting from 3-point range. They were out-rebounded, but by a small 36-34 margin. The Jackets were even able to hold Notre Dame to a 5-21 (23.8%) mark from 3-point range.
How folks feel about "moral victories" varies, but for a team that's struggled as Tech has this year, it's nice to at least appreciate the positives. It goes in the loss column against a below-average ACC team, but the Jackets still showed some good stuff tonight and gave an admirable effort. Here's to hoping this performance provided plenty to build on for Coach Gregory's crew, and they can hold their own in Greensboro before making a strong comeback next year.
Did you watch the game? Believe in "moral victories", at least at this point? Completely checked out from this season?