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Basketball: Yellow Jackets Defeat Tennessee Volunteers 69-67, Improve to 2-0

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So far, so good for the 2015-16 Georgia Tech basketball team!

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee won't be the biggest, baddest, or best team that Georgia Tech plays all season, but they're no pushover either. The Yellow Jackets hosted the Volunteers for a big early-season matchup at McCamish Pavilion on Monday night, and responded very well to the challenge.

The Jackets held a 40-38 halftime lead after leading the Volunteers for most of the first half. That lead quickly evaporated, as Tennessee jumped out to a 53-44 lead under 6 minutes into the second half, fueled by an 11-0 run. Georgia Tech answered with a 14-2 run of their own, to take a 58-55 lead only four minutes later. Though Tennessee threatened repeatedly, it was a lead the Jackets would never relinquish. With 2:20 remaining, Georgia Tech center Nick Jacobs hit a layup to give the Yellow Jackets a 69-64 lead. The Volunteers would subsequently answer with a three-pointer from senior Armani Moore as the shot clock expired to pull within 2. It was the final time that either team would score, as the Vols would miss a pair of free throws amidst several missed shots by both teams down the stretch, culminating with a missed three-pointer by Tennessee as time expired to seal Georgia Tech's 69-67 victory.

The Jackets were led by Jacobs with 23 points and 9 rebounds, and Charles Mitchell contributed a double-double with a dozen points and rebounds. Marcus Georges-Hunt also contributed 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Josh Heath had 0 points but added 5 assists and 2 rebounds. Adam Smith added 9 points, though on only 1-8 shooting from three-point range.

Through two games, the Jackets seem to have done a nice job of correcting a lot of their shortcomings from the 2014-2015 season. The team has adapted an ability to be quite effective when playing with tempo, both off of defensive rebounds in transition and in pushing the ball up the floor after giving up baskets. Additionally, they're doing a nice job of working the ball inside to a talented group of big men with Charles Mitchell, Nick Jacobs, James White, and Ben Lammers. Defensively, they consistently harassed the Volunteers and created 16 turnovers on the night, also managing to add 12 blocks against a relatively small Tennessee team.

Though it stands to be seen how good either team is in the big picture, the Volunteers were one of the Jackets' biggest tests before starting conference play. Their next major test will come in 10 days when they take on Arkansas in the NIT Season Tip-Off at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, NY.