ATLANTA – Georgia Tech shot 62.1 percent from the field in the second half and forced 21 turnovers for the game on its way to a dominant 79-62 victory over No. 20 Kentucky on Sunday evening at State Farm Arena in Downtown Atlanta.
Georgia Tech was led by senior forward Moses Wright, who tallied 21 points and eight rebounds in the triumph. Wright topped the 20-point plateau and led the Yellow Jackets in scoring for the third time in three games this season and, at 24.0 points per game, leads the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring.
Tech, which lost its first two games of the season to Georgia State and Mercer, never trailed after the 4:14 mark in the first half against the 20th-ranked Wildcats. A 15-5 run in the Jackets favor at the end of the first half gave them a 34-27 advantage heading into intermission. Georgia Tech stayed hot in the second half, making 18-for-29 field goals after the break, including five 3-pointers.
For the game, Tech shot 51.7 percent from the field.
In addition to their own hot shooting, the Yellow Jackets saw the return of the stifling defense that defined their fifth-place ACC finish a season ago. While forcing Kentucky to turn the ball over 21 times, the Jackets also held the Wildcats to just 44.9% shooting on the evening (22-of-49). Fifteen of Kentucky’s 21 turnovers came on steals by Tech defenders. Usher and juniors Khalid Moore and Michael Devoe scooped up three steals apiece, and seven different Yellow Jackets earned at least one steal.
Five Yellow Jackets posted double-digits in scoring. In addition to Wright’s 21, senior guard Bubba Parham put up 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while sophomore guard Kyle Sturdivant finished with 15 points (5-for-6). Also tallying double-figures were seniors Jordan Usher (12) and Jose Alvarado (10).
Leading the way for Kentucky was Terrence Clark, who finished with 22 points. UK’s Isaiah Jackson snagged a game-high 12 rebounds.
Sunday’s win was Georgia Tech’s second over a nationally ranked opponent in its last 10 games, a stretch that began with a 64-58 toppling of No. 5 Louisville on Feb. 12 of last season. The Holiday Hoopsgiving win at State Farm Arena was the Jackets’ first over a top-25 team away from McCamish Pavilion since it won at No. 23 Miami on Jan. 28, 2015, and also marked the first time that one of John Calipari’s assistant coaches has beaten him head-to-head in 18 meetings.
Georgia Tech plays its first true road game of the season on Wednesday when it visits Nebraska for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Tipoff is set for 7:15 p.m. EST and the game will be televised on ESPNU.
Moses Wright wrecked Kentucky for 21 points and eight rebounds in Sunday’s 17-point romp over the 20th-ranked Wildcats (photo: Danny Karnik).
- With its win over Kentucky, Georgia Tech defeated its first top-25 team away from McCamish Pavilion since Jan. 28, 2015 (70-50 win at No. 23 Miami), and improved to 7-22 against AP top-25 teams under Josh Pastner.
- The win for Tech also marked the first loss for Kentucky coach John Calipari to one of his former assistant coaches in 18 meetings. Pastner was Calipari’s assistant at Memphis for one season (2008-09) before Calipari took the job in Lexington.
- Georgia Tech scored its first win over a non-conference top-25 team since Nov. 21, 2006, when it defeated No. 12 Memphis, 92-85, in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational. That Tigers team was coached by John Calipari.
- Tech is 8-11 all-time at State Farm Arena, 2-1 vs. Kentucky in the building.
- Tech hit 51.7 percent of its shots from the floor, the first time this season the Jackets have hit the 50-percent mark. Tech is 23-7 under Josh Pastner when it hits the 50-percent mark.
- Tech’s six turnovers were its fewest since giving up five against Notre Dame last Feb. 1, which is the low for a Josh Pastner Tech team.
- The 21 Kentucky turnovers were the most forced by Tech since Florida A&M coughed it up 25 times against the Jackets on Dec. 9, 2018, and Tech’s 15 steals matched a high for a Pastner-coached Tech team.
- Five Tech players scored in double figures against Kentucky, the second time in three games that has happened. The Jackets are 32-16 under Josh Pastner when four or more players reach double digits.
- Moses Wright posted his third consecutive game (and sixth for his career) of 20 or more points with 21 against Kentucky. Wright has scored in double digits in 27 of 34 games dating back to the beginning of the 2019-20 season. Wright is the ACC’s leading scorer and is averaging 24 points over three games while hitting 55.3 percent of his field goals (9th), and is the No. 2-leading rebounder (now at 10.3 per game).
- Jose Alvarado (10 points, 4-9 FG, 1-5 3-pt FG vs. Kentucky) has made a three-point basket in 21 straight games, the longest streak for a Tech player since Adam Smith knocked down a three in 24 straight games during the 2015-16 season. Alvarado added one assist and two steals against the Wildcats.
- Alvarado moved up to No. 38 on Tech’s all-time scoring list with 1,081 points. He needs three points to reach 37th
- Alvarado had two steals to improve his career total to 161, No. 10 on Tech’s all-time list, and he is the ACC’s active leader.
- Bubba Parham made his first start of the season and scored 17 points (7-10 FG, 3-6 3-pt FG) with four assists against Kentucky. He has averaged 15.0 points in three games, reaching double figures in all three, and has reached double figures nine times as a Yellow Jacket.
- Kyle Sturdivant posted his first double-digit game at Tech and the second of his college career, coming off the bench to score 16 points, hitting 5-of-6 shots from the floor (1-of-2 3-pt FG) and 4-of-4 from the foul line. He also had two assists and a steal.
- Michael Devoe went scoreless for the first time in his career (0-for-6 FG, 0-for-3 3-pt FG), snapping a streak of 12 straight games with at least one three-pointer. But the 6-5 junior played tremendous defense and had three rebounds, five assists and three steals in 31 minutes against Kentucky.
- Jordan Usher notched his 11th double-digit game as a Yellow Jacket with 11 points against the Wildcats, and has scored 10 or more in all three games this season.
Bubba Parham (3) scored 17 points in Georgia Tech’s 79-62 victory over No. 20 Kentucky on Sunday night at State Farm Arena (photo: Danny Karnik).
Kyle Sturdivant (1) scored 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 from the free-throw line in the Jackets’ win over Kentucky (photo: Danny Karnik).
Post-Game Press Conferences
Seniors Bubba Parham and Moses Wright
Head coach Josh Pastner