Jan. 3, 2018
THE FLATS — Led by Josh Okogie‘s 30 points, Georgia Tech men’s basketball opened 2018 with its biggest win of the season, a 64-54 triumph over No. 15 Miami on Wednesday evening at McCamish Pavilion.
Georgia Tech (7-7, 1-1 ACC) trailed by eight points midway through the first half but pulled even at halftime (28-28) and never trailed after the break. The Yellow Jackets extended their lead to as large as 12 points in the second half.
Okogie’s season-high 30 points came on 10-of-23 shooting from the field and 9-of-12 at the free-throw line. In addition to the season-best effort offensively, the sophomore also recorded a season high on the glass, grabbing nine rebounds. Freshman point guard Jose Alvarado added 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
The win over 15th-ranked Miami (12-2, 1-1 ACC) marked the fourth time that the Jackets have beaten a top-15 team in 20 Atlantic Coast Conference games under head coach Josh Pastner.
Dewan Huell, with 13 points, was the only player to score in double figures for Miami. Anthony Lawrence and Bruce Brown each had nine points as the Hurricanes snapped a two-game winning streak.
It’s been a tough start to the season for Georgia Tech, which was without its best player, Okogie, for the first eight games because of an NCAA suspension and a finger injury. The Yellow Jackets lost to Grambling State, Wofford and Wright State and were blown out at Georgia before falling short in their ACC opener against Notre Dame, but they earned a signature win by holding tough against a Miami defense that ranked in the top five nationally in several defensive categories.
The Hurricanes contested nearly every pass and shot throughout the game, but Georgia Tech never trailed in the second half after Ben Lammers stole the ball from Lonnie Walker IV and hit a 14-footer to make it 36-32.
A 14-2 run by the Jackets made it 46-34 as Miami began the second half missing 11 of its first 13 shots. The Hurricanes nearly recovered, pulling within two on Chris Lykes’ two free throws with 3:47 remaining, but that was a close as they got.
Miami: The Hurricanes are heading back to play a game at Coral Gables, finally, after playing six straight away from home. Miami had just one home game in 42 days, but regardless of the game site, the Hurricanes can’t afford to let this loss linger. Their next three games are against ranked opponents, and they’ll need to tighten up their defense even more. With a deeper, more athletic roster, Miami let what could’ve been an easy win slip away against a team that hit just 1 of 10 3-point attempts. Georgia Tech got to the rim too often and hit 17 of 23 free throws. Miami was just 8 for 11 from the line.
Georgia Tech: Injuries, suspensions and other absences have forced players to miss 30 games this season, and the Jackets have yet to play a game with all 11 scholarship players healthy. G Curtis Haywood, a freshman who averaged 8.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in the eight games, has missed six straight games with a shin injury. C Sylvester Ogbonda was sidelined a second straight game with an ankle injury. G Justin Moore didn’t play after missing the last two games because of a death in the family. Lammers, with 51 straight starts, Alvarado, with starts in all 14 games, and Okogie each played 39 minutes.
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Miami: Hosts No. 24 Florida State on Sunday, visits No. 25 Clemson on Jan. 13 and hosts No. 2 Duke on Jan. 15.
Georgia Tech: Hosts Yale on Saturday and Notre Dame next Wednesday.