THE FLATS – Georgia Tech and North Carolina traded the lead five times in the early going before the Jackets took the lead and never relinquished it for a 79-61 win in McCamish Pavilion Thursday evening. Four Jackets finished in double-figure scoring numbers paced by Francesca Pan with 24 points, hitting four three-pointers and falling just two points shy of tying her career-high.
“I think we’re getting better and better,” noted head coach MaChelle Joseph. “We’re starting to understand how to compete at a high level. Defensively – anytime you can hold Jamie Cherry to 2-for-13 and hold both Jamie and Paris Kea to under their averages, you’re playing good defense. I thought Francesca Pan had a big first half. Kierra Fletcher continues to improve and show why she is one of the top five freshmen in the ACC.”
How It Happened
The Jackets (16-11, 5-9 ACC) shot 62.5 percent (10-16) in the first quarter, wasting no time taking a comfortable double-digit lead, holding a 26-11 advantage after the first frame. An old-fashioned three-point play from Zaire O’Neil in the second quarter handed the Jackets their first 20-point lead, setting up a 31-11 score with 9:25 on the clock. Coming out of the second quarter media break, Chanin Scott scored four unanswered, forcing the Tar Heels to burn its second timeout of the game at 4:08. Kierra Fletcher connected on a bucket at the 3:55 mark, giving Tech its largest lead of the half, 43-19. UNC closed the quarter with a 7-4 spurt for the 47-26 halftime score.
The Tar Heels came out of intermission posting a 10-2 run, cutting the score to 49-36. But the Jackets outscored the visiting squad, 13-4, over the final six minutes to regain a 22-point edge, 62-40, entering the final quarter. UNC narrowly won the fourth quarter, 21-17, and came within 12 points midway through utilizing a 17-7 run to open the final stanza. Elo Edeferioka snapped the run as Scott followed with an old-fashioned three-point play to put the Jackets back up by 17. Tech closed the game going 5-of-6 from the line for the final 79-61 win.
* Tech won the rebounding battle over UNC, 42-36, led by both Fletcher and Edeferioka with nine boards
* Pan finished with a team-high 24 points behind four three-pointers
* Tech dished out 18 assists led by three different Jackets each with four helpers
* Lorela Cubaj and O’Neil both recorded three blocks on the night – Tech finished with seven
* Tech’s bench outscored UNC’s 35-10
* The Jackets converted 17 UNC turnovers into 20 points
Tech has a bye weekend and returns for Senior Night on Feb. 22, hosting Miami at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on RSN.