No. 3 Louisville Survives Jackets in ACC Opener, 74-71

THE FLATS — In the ACC opener for both teams Thursday night, Georgia Tech took No. 3 Louisville to the wire, but fell in a 74-71 contest in McCamish Pavilion. Three Yellow Jackets finished in double-figures led by Kaylan Pugh with 17 points. With the tough loss, Tech moved to 11-3 on the season and 0-1 in league play.

“I’m proud of my team. I think we competed and we did everything we had to do to win the game,” commented head coach MaChelle Joseph. “We won three of the four quarters. Kaylan Pugh was huge tonight. I was really proud of her — I thought she had a big game.”

How It Happened
It all came down to the final minute of play Thursday night. Trailing by four, 71-67, with 1:29 to play, Zaire O’Neil cut the score to a two-point ballgame hitting a layup with 1:04 on the clock. Following a missed jumper by Asia Durr, freshman Kierra Fletcher pulled down the defensive board and Georgia Tech called a timeout with 23 seconds to play. Francesca Pan attempted to tie the ballgame, but the shot was off the mark as O’Neil pulled down the offensive board and converted the layup to tie the game at 71-71 with 5.5 seconds remaining. Myisha Hines-Allen hit the Cardinals winning shot with a driving layup with 1.9 seconds left as Jazmine Jones closed the game hitting the front end of a pair of free throws to seal the 74-71 Louisville win.

Tech pulled away early in the first quarter, pushing out to a nine-point lead on back-to-back three-pointers from Pan, setting up a 20-11 tally and forcing Louisville to burn its first timeout with 1:22 left in the opening frame. Fletcher would open another nine point advantage to start the second quarter for the Yellow Jackets, but Louisville responded with a 33-12 run to close the stanza and carry a 46-34 lead at halftime. The Cardinals shot 72.2 percent (13-18) from the field in the only quarter Louisville outscored Tech, proving to be the difference in the game.

The Jackets used the third quarter to cut away at its deficit and trailed by six entering the final frame, 62-56. Pan opened the fourth stanza immediately draining a triple and cutting the score to three, 62-59. Tech outscored Louisville 15-12 in the final frame led by eight points from O’Neil.

Tech Tidbits
* Pugh scored a season-high 17 points and finished with four assists, two steals and five rebounds
* O’Neil and Pan each added 15 points in the contest
* The Jackets outscored the Cardinals off the bench, 36-2, and 40-32 in the paint
* Asia Durr led Louisville with 38 points, going 15-for-25 from the field
* Tech shot 42.4 percent (28-66) from the field to Louisville’s 49.2 percent (30-61) effort
* The Jackets finished 12-of-17 from the free throw line

Next Up
The Jackets conclude this homestand on Sunday, Dec. 31 welcoming Clemson for a 2 p.m. tip on ACC Network Extra.

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