THE FLATS – Georgia Tech men’s basketball shot season-best 58.0 percent from the field and closed the non-conference portion of its 2018-19 regular-season schedule with a 79-63 win over visiting USC Upstate on Wednesday evening at McCamish Pavilion.
The strong shooting performance was Georgia Tech’s second-straight, as its 58.0-percent field-goal percentage came on the heels of it shooting a then-season-best 56.5 percent from the field in its last outing, an 87-57 win over Kennesaw State last Friday. After making just 32.3 percent of their shots in their loss to Georgia on Dec. 22, the Yellow Jackets are shooting 57.1 percent (64-for-112) over their past two games.
Tech shot especially well in the second half of Wednesday’s win, making 60.7 percent of its attempts (17-of-28) to turn an eight-point halftime lead into as large as a 19-point advantage late in the ballgame.
Sophomore Evan Cole led the way for Georgia Tech with a career-high 16 points. Freshman Michael Devoe also matched a career high with 14 points while senior Brandon Alston and sophomore Curtis Haywood II rounded out four Jackets in double-figures with 10 points apiece.
Georgia Tech (8-5) opens Atlantic Coast Conference play on Saturday when it hosts Wake Forest (7-5). Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion.
Sophomore Evan Cole set a career high in points for the second straight game, leading Tech with 16 in Wednesday’s win over USC Upstate.
- Georgia Tech starting lineup: Alvarado, Devoe, Moore, Wright, Banks III
- First subs for Georgia Tech: Alston, Gueye for Banks, Moore – 16:57-1st half
- On the floor for Georgia Tech at the end: Alston, Cole, Phillips, Sjolund, Wright
- Opening tap won by Georgia Tech – Georgia Tech has won the opening tap six times in 12 games this season
- Series record vs. USC Upstate: Georgia Tech is 1-1 overall, 1-1 at home, 1-0 under Josh Pastner, 1-0 vs. Dave Dickerson
- Current series trend: Georgia Tech won the last meeting
- Georgia Tech is 7-2 at McCamish Pavilion this season, 79-39 in its sixth season in the building, 36-13 under Josh Pastner
- Freshmen Michael Devoe and Khalid Moore started for the fourth straight game against Georgia, having made their first collegiate starts at Arkansas. Georgia Tech has used five different starting lineups this season. Transfer James Banks III made his seventh straight start in the post, and Moses Wright his 11th of the season at the big forward spot. Jose Alvarado has started 11 of the 12 Tech games. No Tech player has started every game this season.
- Tech has deployed at least eight players for significant minutes in each of its 12 games so far, nine vs. Northwestern, St. John’s and Georgia, despite Evan Cole missing those games with an ankle injury. Eleven of Tech’s 12 scholarship players saw action against USC Upstate.
- Tech connected on a season-high 58 percent from the floor against USC Upstate, its best shooting effort since hitting 60.3 percent at home against Cornell on Nov. 13, 2015. The Yellow Jackets shot 56.5 percent against Kennesaw State and have converted 57.1 percent combined (64-of-112) in the last two games, on the heels of a 32.3-percent performance against Georgia right before Christmas.
- Reflecting an emphasis in practice on offensive tempo, particularly early in the shot clock, Tech piled up 22 assists against the Spartans on 29 made field goals, and have 51 on 64 field goals in its last two games. Tech had just nine assists on 21 field goals against the Bulldogs on Dec. 22.
- Tech continued to show balance in its scoring, with four players in double figures and two other players with eight points against USC Upstate. Five Tech players scored in double figures against Kennesaw State.
- Tech has held every opponent this season under its season scoring average – breakdown by game: Lamar 81.8 (69), Tennessee 85.5 (66), East Carolina 71.1 (54), UTRGV 70.2 (44), Prairie View A&M 69.2 (54), Northwestern 73.5 (67), St. John’s 83.5 (76), Florida A&M 63.2 (40), Gardner-Webb 82.9 (79), Arkansas 81.8 (69), Georgia 79.2 (70), Kennesaw State 62.5 (57), USC Upstate 70.9 (63).
- Upstate scored 25 points in the first half – Georgia Tech’s sixth half allowing 25 points or fewer this season.
- Tech continues to make life difficult for its opponents shooting from long distance, holding USC Upstate to 7-of-31 (22.6 percent) on its three-point tries, and the Jackets are yielding 27.3 percent from distance this season (3rd in the ACC). Tech has yielded 5.2 threes per game this season, compared to 7.1 per game and a success rate of 37.9 percent last season.
- Tech has held nine of its 13 opponents under 40 percent from the field this season (USC Upstate finished the game at 30.8 percent). The Yellow Jackets’ opponents have shot 38.2 percent overall this season, which puts Tech fourth in the ACC.
- Tech has outrebounded five of its last seven opponents (the Jackets tied USC Upstate, 36-36) and stands at plus-1.6 per game this season.
- Defensively, Tech is forcing 15.3 turnovers (19 for Kennesaw State, leading to 27 Tech points) and taking 7.7 steals per game. Only St. John’s (5 turnovers) and Gardner-Webb (9) have managed to keep their turnover total under 10 this season against Tech, and USC Upstate committed only 10. Tech is averaging 17.2 points from turnovers this season. The Jackets forced an average of 12.6 turnovers per game last season and took 6.9 steals per game.
- Tech has connected on 48 percent of its field goals at home, and 33.3 percent of its three-point attempts. But it has converted 68.8 percent of its free throw tries inside McCamish Pavilion.
- Tech has attempted 246 threes (18.9 per game) and made 75 (5.8 per game), compared to averages of 15.3 attempts and 4.9 made per game in 2017-18. Tech has hit 30.5 percent of its threes for the season, below last season’s 31.8-percent clip.
- After having been outscored in three straight games, Tech has received a season-high 45 points from its bench in each of its last two games, including three players in double figures in each game. For the season, Tech reserves have averaged 27.8 points per game to 17.5 for the opponents.
- Tech has averaged committing 15.8 fouls over its last six games after averaging 22.1 over its first seven games. The Jackets had ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation in most fouls committed.
PASTNER’S KEY METRICS
- Assists to made field goals: Tech assisted on 22 of 29 made field goals (75.9 percent) against USC Upstate, meeting its nightly goal of 60 percent for the third time this season, and have 51 assists on 64 field goals (79.7 percent) in its last two games. The Jackets are at 59 percent for the season, well above the nation’s average of 52 percent.
- Free throws made to opponents’ attempts: Tech connected on 16-of-23 free throw attempts to Upstate’s 16-of-26 (nightly goal of making more than opponent tries not accomplished). Tech is 35-12 under Josh Pastner when attempting more free throws than the opponent.
- Turnovers: Tech has averaged 14.6 turnovers per game this season, but has committed 13 or fewer in three of its last five games (exception: 20 in victory at Arkansas, 16 in victory over USC Upstate). Target each night is 11 or fewer, which Tech has met twice this season (both wins). More telling for Tech under Josh Pastner is that when Tech has committed fewer turnovers than its opponent, it is 21-13. When it has committed more, it is 17-21.
- Guard rebounding: Tech’s guards combined for 15 of Tech’s 33 defensive rebounds against USC Upstate. The group of Alvarado, Alston, Devoe, Haywood, Moore and Phillips has combined to take 161 of Tech’s 347 defensive rebounds this season (46.4 percent).
- Freshman Michael Devoe started his fourth straight game and logged his fifth double-figure scoring game this season with 14 points against USC Upstate. Devoe went 5-of-8 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the free throw line (80 percent this season), with three rebounds and two assists in 33:43.
- Continuing his comeback from an ankle injury, Evan Cole has scored 27 points in 32 minutes in Tech’s last two games. He set a new career-high for the second straight game with 16 points off the bench against USC Upstate, making 6-of-8 shots from the floor (including one three-pointer) and 3-of-4 from the foul line. He added five rebounds with two assists in a season high 19 minutes. The 6-9 sophomore had missed seven games this season with an ankle injury suffered in game 2 at Tennessee. Cole played 13 minutes against Kennesaw State and scored 11 points, which was his previous career best.
- Abdoulaye Gueye second straight quality game off the bench posting six points (3-4 FG), with four assists and five rebounds in 12:44. He scored 16 points with eight rebounds against Kennesaw State, making all seven of his field goal tries in 19:18, his most extensive playing time since Nov. 23 against Prairie View A&M.
- Curtis Haywood scored 10 points against USC Upstate, hitting a pair of threes, for his fifth double-figure game this season, his first since Gardner-Webb. He added four assists and four rebounds with just one turnover in 21:11.
- After playing all but 84 seconds in Tech’s three games the week before Christmas (he played the full 40 minutes against Arkansas), Jose Alvarado has played just 48 minutes in Tech’s two games since, in part due to an ankle injury suffered in the Kennesaw State game. He has nine complete games in his career.
- Brandon Alston hit double digits for the second straight game (10 points in each) and for the seventh time this season. The 6-5 graduate senior has hit 47.8 percent of his shots from the floor this season, 44.7 percent of his threes and 78.4 percent of his free throw attempts.
Freshman Michael Devoe matched a career high with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the win over USC Upstate.
Post-Game Interviews with Evan Cole and Coach Pastner
Coach Josh Pastner Press Conference Audio