Honolulu, Hawai’i – Moses Wright posted a double-double and led three Georgia Tech players in double figures, but the Yellow Jackets couldn’t rally from an 11-point halftime deficit and dropped a 70-59 decision Monday in a semifinal game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Tech (5-6) moved on to face host Hawai’i (8-4), who fell to No. 21 Washington, 72-61, in the other semifinal Monday, for third place in the tournament. Tipoff is at 6:30 Eastern time on Christmas Day, and the game will be televised live on ESPN2. The Cougars (9-3) advanced to play in the championship game against the Huskies (10-2) at 8:30 p.m. that evening. All the teams in the tournament are off on Tuesday.
Houston guard Quentin Grimes led the Cougars with 26 points, scoring 23 of them in the first half, including nine straight over the final three minutes to help his team expand a 30-26 lead to 43-32 at intermission. Houston shot 54.3 percent in the first half to help gain separation, and dominated the boards to the tune of 42-25 to keep the Yellow Jackets from coming back.
Tech steadied itself defensively after the break, limiting Houston to 30.4 percent from the floor and just one three-point basket while forcing 11 turnovers. But the Yellow Jackets hit only 30.8 percent themselves and could come no closer than six points.
Wright finished the game with 19 points and 10 rebounds, his third double this month, while Michael Devoe scored 17 points, including a pair of three-point baskets, and Jordan Usher added 10 for the Yellow Jackets. Jose Alvarado scored seven points with four assists and no turnovers in nearly 36 minutes in his second game back from an ankle injury.
Moses Wright has three double-doubles in the month of December, including a season-high 19 points and 10 boards Monday. (photo by Courtney Metzger)
- Tech is 2-3 on the road this season, 3-3 at home.
- Tech has trailed at halftime in nine of 11 games this season, but has won three of those eight games. The Jackets are 13-46 under Josh Pastner when trailing at the half.
- Tech hit 16-of-22 shots from the free throw line against Houston and have connected on 31-of-42 (73.8 pct.) in two games in the Diamond Head Classic. Tech had not hit the 70-percent mark since making 72.7 percent in the season opener at NC State and has done so in both games of the tournament.
- Tech committed a season-low nine turnovers, its first game under 10 since the end of the 2018-19 season.
- Tech, fifth in the nation in blocked shots coming into the Houston game, blocked only two against the Cougars and has 18 in its last five games, dropping its average to 6.0 per game this season.
- Tech has connected on just 34-of-138 three-point field goals in its last six games (24.6 percent, 3-of-15 vs. Houston) after hitting 21-of-63 (33.3 percent) in the first three games of the season. The Jackets are hitting 27.8 percent for the season.
- The Jackets have limited 20 opponents, nine in the ACC, to 30 percent or less from three-point range since the beginning of the 2018-19 season (Houston shot 4-of-15).
- After missing seven of Tech’s eight games before the Diamond Head Classic because of an ankle injury, Jose Alvarado has played 65:20 in the Yellow Jackets two games in the tournament, scoring 21 points (6-18 FG, 3-10 3pt, 6-6 FT).
- Jordan Usher has reached double digits in both games of the Diamond Head Classic. The 6-7 junior has hit 7-of-22 shots from the floor and 7-of-8 from the foul line, and has grabbed 11 rebounds.
- Moses Wright has three double-doubles in the month of December after scoring 19 points with 10 boards against Houston. The 6-9 junior had 12 points and 12 rebounds against Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 1 and 13 points with 10 boards at Kentuck on Dec. 14. He and James Banks III each have three double-doubles this season.
- Wright is averaging 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the Diamond Head Classic, having hit 14-of-22 shots from the floor and 8-of-9 from the foul line. He has hit 56.6 percent of his shots from the floor this season, which ranks No. 2 in the ACC.
- Michael Devoe, the ACC’s fifth-leading scorer, has hit double figures in each of Tech’s last three games after scoring just 12 total in the two games prior. He scored 17 on 5-of-9 shooting against Houston, also hitting two of his three three-point attempts and 5-of-6 free throws. The 6-5 sophomore was 2-of-19 from distance in Tech’s previous four games.
- James Banks III played a season-low 21:03 and had five points with seven rebounds against Boise State. The 6-10 senior grabbed two key offensive rebounds for the Jackets in the final 1:41.
- Banks blocked one shot against Houston, and has 35 in 11 games this season for an average of 3.18, dropping to No. 2 in the ACC after leading the conference the entire season.
Jordan Usher posted his second straight double-digit game with 10 points against Houston. (photo by Courtney Metzger)
Head coach Josh Pastner post-game