Late Rally Falls Short Against Virginia, 62-56

THE FLATS — Georgia Tech led Virginia entering the final quarter Sunday afternoon and used a late rally to make it a one-possession game with 40 seconds on the clock, but the Cavaliers finished strong at the line to pick up a 62-56 win in McCamish Pavilion. The game witnessed nine lead changes and six tied scores before the final buzzer.

“I’m proud of the fact that we never quit,” commented head coach MaChelle Joseph. “This league is tough – it’s unforgiving. If you don’t make layups and free throws, it’s hard to win. I’m proud of Francesca Pan for being aggressive. Obviously she needs to make more shots, but she came out tonight and was aggressive.”

How It Happened
Georgia Tech (13-9, 2-7 ACC) led by four at halftime after outscoring Virginia (15-7, 8-1 ACC) 17-6 in the second quarter and was in the lead 42-40 entering the final period. But the Cavaliers opened the fourth quarter with a 17-2 run to push out with a 57-44 edge with 5:17 to play. Kaylan Pugh sparked a 10-0 run capped by a pair of free throws from Zaire O’Neil that sliced the score to 57-54 with 40 seconds on the clock. Despite the late rally, the Jackets were unable to regain control as Virginia finished the game 5-of-6 from the free throw line to secure the six-point win.

It was a back-and-forth battle in the first half as the teams traded the lead four times. Virginia led by as many as seven points in the first quarter, but Tech outscored Virginia 17-6 in the second period, fueled by five points from Francesca Pan, to claim a 29-25 lead at intermission. The Jackets shot 50.0 percent (7-14) in the second frame, while limiting Virginia to a 20.0 percent (2-10) clip. Virginia knotted the score twice in the third quarter, but was never able to gain the lead despite closing the frame with a 5-1 run that sparked the strong fourth quarter.

Tech Tidbits
* Pan led the Jackets offensively with 16 points followed by O’Neil with 14 points
* Tech forced 26 Virginia turnovers and converted the miscues into 24 points
* The Jackets narrowly lost the rebounding battle, 36-35, but dominated on the offensive glass, 20-5
* For the first time since Dec. 20, 2015 against IUPUI, Tech did not hit a three-point field goal, going 0-for-9 from long range
* Virginia collected 13 blocks in the contest, marking the most blocks recorded by an opponent since Duke posted 13 on March 7, 2014
* Tech recorded 13 steals in the contest, becoming the 13th game this season with 10-plus steals

Next Up
A pair of road games await the Jackets as Tech opens the month of February at Duke on Thursday. Tip in Durham, N.C. is slated for 7 p.m. on ACC Network Extra.

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