THE FLATS – Michael Devoe finished with a team-high 14 points to match his career-high and lead three Yellow Jackets in double figures, but Georgia Tech dropped a 70-59 decision to Georgia Saturday afternoon at McCamish Pavilion.
Shooting struggles plagued both teams in the early going as both teams were shooting under 30 percent through the third media timeout. After Georgia pulled out with a 12-5 edge, Abdoulaye Gueye connected on a hook shot and Jose Alvarado went coast-to-coast on a steal to pull the Jackets within one possession, 12-9, with 9:02 to play in the half. The Bulldogs capitalized on a 13-0 run to pull away with a 25-9 lead and carried a 29-19 advantage into halftime.
Georgia Tech opened the second half with a 13-5 run that pulled the Yellow Jackets within two, 34-32, and just over a minute later, Curtis Haywood II hit Tech’s first three-pointer of the contest, setting up a 40-36 tally with 13:19 to play. Despite UGA rebuilding a 10-point advantage, the Jackets crawled back within a possession on an old-fashioned three-point play from Brandon Alston. Trailing by nine with 2:17 to play, the Jackets made a late push, closing within four points, but couldn’t get any closer.
Georgia Tech shot 32.3 percent (21-65) from the field, while Georgia finished with a 45.5 percent (25-55) clip. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Yellow Jackets 41 to 34 but Tech beat them on the offensive boards, 13 to 10. Georgia Tech more than doubled its scoring output in the second half.
Alvarado and James Banks each finished the game with 11 points. Nicolas Claxton led the Bulldogs with 13 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and six blocked shots, while Teshaun Hightower scored 12 and Rayshaun Hammonds added 11.
Georgia Tech returns to action at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28, hosting Kennesaw State at McCamish Pavilion. The game will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra, available through the ESPN app.
Freshman Michael Devoe posted his second straight double-figure game and fourth this season.
- Georgia Tech starting lineup: Alvarado, Devoe, Moore, Wright, Banks III
- First subs for Georgia Tech: Alston for Wright – 14:50-1st half
- On the floor for Georgia Tech at the end: Alvarado, Alston, Devoe, Haywood, Banks III
- Opening tap won by Georgia – Georgia Tech has won the opening tap four times in 11 games this season
- Series record vs. Georgia: Georgia Tech is 105-90 overall, 62-27 at home, 0-3 under Josh Pastner, 1-1 vs. Tom Crean
- Current series streak: Georgia has won the last four meetings
- Georgia Tech is 5-2 at McCamish Pavilion this season, 77-39 in its sixth season in the building, 34-13 under Josh Pastner
- Georgia Tech is 1-2 on the road this season, 1-3 away from McCamish Pavilion
- Georgia Tech’s next game: Saturday, Dec. 28, 4 p.m. ET, vs. Kennesaw State, McCamish Pavilion
- Freshmen Michael Devoe and Khalid Moore started for the second straight game against Georgia, having made their first collegiate starts at Arkansas. Georgia Tech has used different starting lineups this season. Transfer James Banks III made his fifth straight start in the post, and Moses Wright his ninth of the season at the big forward spot. Jose Alvarado has started nine of the 10 Tech games. No Tech player has started every game this season.
- Tech’s 19-point first half was its lowest output in a half since last Feb. 8, when the Jackets scored 16 in the first half of a 77-54 loss at Louisville.
- Tech has deployed at least eight players for significant minutes in each of its 10 games so far, nine vs. Northwestern, St. John’s and Georgia, despite Evan Cole missing those games with an ankle injury. Tech used nine players against Georgia, Cole did not play.
- Tech has held every opponent this season under its season scoring average – breakdown by game: Lamar 81.0 (69), Tennessee 82.8 (66), East Carolina 72.7 (54), UTRGV 70.2 (44), Prairie View A&M 69.2 (54), Northwestern 76.0 (67), St. John’s 83.0 (76), Florida A&M 63.2 (40), Gardner-Webb 82.2 (79), Arkansas 85.2 (69), Georgia 78.9 (70).
- Tech was outrebounded (41-34 by Georgia) for the first time in five games, and stands at +0.7 per game for the season.
- Tech continues to make life difficult for its opponents shooting from long distance, holding Georgia to 5-of-18 on its three-point tries, right around the Jackets’ season yield of 27.5 percent, which ranks third in the ACC. Tech has yielded just 5.0 threes per game this season, compared to 7.1 per game and a success rate of 37.9 percent last season.
- Georgia became only the third team in 11 games to shoot 40 percent or better against Tech (45.5 pct.). The Yellow Jackets’ opponents have shot 38.8 percent overall this season, which puts Tech fifth in the ACC.
- Tech’s 32.3-percent clip from the floor against Georgia was its lowest at home under Josh Pastner (the Jackets shot 27.6 percent at Tennessee in the second game of this season).
- Defensively, Tech is forcing 15.5 turnovers and taking 7.9 steals per game (Georgia committed 16 turnovers, leading to 14 Tech points). Only St. John’s (5 turnovers) and Gardner-Webb (9) have managed to keep their turnover total under 10 this season against Tech. Tech is averaging 16.8 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 attempted 208 threes (18.9 per game) and made 62 (5.6 per game), compared to averages of 15.3 attempts and 4.9 made per game in 2017-18. Tech has hit 29.8 percent of its threes for the season, below last season’s 31.8-percent clip.
- Tech’s bench has been outscored the last three games by 60-32 after having held a 30-to-13.9 per game advantage over its first eight games, reflecting the use of a shorter bench. For the season, Tech reserves have averaged 24.7 points per game to 15.5 for the opponents.
- Tech has averaged committing 15 fouls over its last four games after averaging 22.1 over its first seven games. The Jackets rank among the top 50 teams in the nation in most fouls committed.
PASTNER’S KEY METRICS
- Assists to made field goals: Tech assisted on nine of 21 made field goals (42.9 percent) against Arkansas, missing its nightly goal of 60 percent for the ninth time this season. The Jackets are at 54 percent for the season, above the nation’s average of 52 percent.
- Free throws made to opponents’ attempts: Tech connected on 14-of-20 free throw attempts to Georgia’s 15-of-18 (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 15.5 turnovers per game and taken 7.9 steals per game. The Jackets forced an average of 12.6 turnovers per game last season and took 6.9 steals per game.
- Guard rebounding: Tech’s guards combined for 11 of Tech’s 21 defensive rebounds against Arkansas. The group of Alvarado, Alston, Devoe, Haywood, Moore and Phillips has combined to take 138 of Tech’s 288 defensive rebounds this season (47.9 percent).
- Freshman Michael Devoe, continuing to get his legs under him after missing most of pre-season practice with a big toe injury, started for the second straight game and scored a team-high 14 points, hitting 6-of-10 from the floor. He added five rebounds. He has four double-digit scoring games this season, is second on the the team lead in steals (18), and has converted 75.8 percent of his free throw tries.
- James Banks has had at least one blocked shot in each of the nine games he has played (two vs. Georgia), averaging 2.6 for the season (second in the ACC).
- Banks scored 11 points against Georgia for his fifth double-figure game in the last six. The 6-9 junior has averaged 13.2 points, hitting 30 of 46 shots from the floor, in his last six games.
- Banks, who averaged 10.7 minutes per game at Texas, has averaged 32.8 over Tech’s last five games, all starts.
- Jose Alvarado posted his seventh double-figure game in the last eight with 11 points against Georgia, but shot just 3-of-20 from the floor and missed all six of his three-point attempts. He has eight double-figure games this season and 24 for his career. Alvarado was 17-of-31 from the floor in Tech’s previous two games.
- Alvarado played all but 84 seconds in Tech’s three games this week, and stayed on the floor for the full 40 minutes against Arkansas. He has nine complete games in his career.
- Freshman Kristian Sjolund saw action for the first time since Dec. 9 against Florida A&M, his sixth game of the season.
- Curtis Haywood II has connected on 8-of-18 three-point attempts in Tech’s last three games after hitting just 3-for-14 from behind the arc over the previous four games.
- Moses Wright started his ninth straight game for Georgia Tech, scoring seven points with four rebounds in 23 minutes against Georgia. Wright has two double-digit games (11 vs. UTRGV, 12 vs. St. John’s) in that stretch.
- Brandon Alston made his first three-point field goal in three games and is 13-for-27 (48.1 pct.) for the season.