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Jackets Overcome Flu, Eagles in Comeback Win

THE FLATS – Doubtful to play due to a case of the flu, Michael Devoe came off the bench to score 26 points and help Georgia Tech men’s basketball erase a 14-point deficit in Friday afternoon’s 61-59 win over Georgia Southern at McCamish Pavilion.

Devoe, who missed Monday’s win over Charleston Southern, did not enter Friday’s game until the midway point of the first half, as head coach Josh Pastner elected to not start the Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading scorer (22.8 ppg coming in) as he continued to recover from his illness. However, with Georgia Southern controlling the action early on, Devoe checked in to the contest with 10:17 to go in the opening half.

Despite scoring 11 points in 10 first-half minutes, Devoe’s presence didn’t make an immediate impact, as Georgia Southern stretched its advantage to as many as 14 points with less than a minute to go in the opening period and led 39-27 at halftime.

Georgia Tech (5-1) came out firing on all cylinders after the break. Sparked by seven-straight points from Rodney Howard and capped by back-to-back driving layups from Devoe, the Yellow Jackets opened the second half on a 16-3 run and took their first lead since the opening minutes of the game at 43-42 with 13:15 to play.

Minutes later, Georgia Southern (4-2) regained a short-lived 48-47 lead, but a pull-up three-pointer by Devoe gave Tech a 50-48 advantage with a little more than nine minutes to go and the Jackets never trailed the rest of the way. The Eagles made it interesting by pulling within a point with less than a minute left in the game, but GS’s Elijah McCadden missed two potential go-ahead jumpers in the final 10 seconds and the Jackets escaped with the two-point win.

Tech also tightened up its defense, limiting the Eagles to 8-of-28 from the floor after intermission, 1-of-9 from three-point range, after they had connected in 55.2 percent in the first half.

Devoe sank 5-of-9 three-pointers and led all scorers with his 26 points in 30 minutes of play. Kyle Sturdivant added 11 points, Howard scored 10 and Jordan Usher came up just one point shy of a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds to help lead the Jackets.

Short-handed Georgia Tech, which had six players unavailable due to the flu, outscored Georgia Southern 34-20 in the second half.

McCadden and Cam Bryant led Georgia Southern with 14 points apiece.

Georgia Tech gets four days off to get healthy before opening a grueling four-game stretch with next Wednesday’s home contest versus Wisconsin. Tipoff for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup is set for 9:15 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion.

Michael Devoe battled through illness to score a game-high 26 points in Friday’s win over Georgia Southern (photo by Danny Karnik).

 

 

Post-Game Notes

TEAM NOTES

  • Because of flu issues within the team, Georgia Tech started its third different lineup in the last three games. Michael Devoe did not start but did enter the game midway through the first half, and Deivon Smith, who started Monday night’s game against Charleston Southern, did not dress. Tech dressed only 10 players for the game.
  • Tech’s 61 points against Georgia Southern was a season low after the Jackets had exceeded 80 in each of its two previous games, and its 41.2-percent shooting from the floor was its lowest since the season opener against Miami of Ohio (39.2).
  • After giving up 39 points, 55.2-percent shooting and 4-of-10 from three-point range in the opening half, Tech limited Georgia Southern to 20 points, 28.6-percent from the floor and 1-of-9 from three-point range after intermission.
  • Tech led Georgia Southern for just 13 minutes and 10 seconds in the game, trailing by as many as 14 points late in the first half. The Yellow Jackets took their first lead at the 13:15 mark of the second half, but did not take the lead for good until 7:59 remained in the game.
  • After hitting just four 3s in 17 attempts (all by Michael Devoe) against Miami of Ohio, Georgia Tech has gone 40-of-90 (44.4 percent) in the last five games, including 7-of-20 against Georgia Southern.
  • Even without three scholarship players dressed, Tech used nine players against Georgia Southern.
  • Tech was outrebounded for the first time this season, 38-35 by Georgia Southern. The Jackets had outrebounded each of their first five opponents this season by an average margin of plus-8.2.

INDIVIDUAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Michael Devoe did not start for the first time this season due to flu symptoms, but entered the game with 10:17 remaining in the first half and played the rest of the game (30:17).
  • Devoe entered Friday’s game as the ACC’s leading scorer at 22.8 ppg and exceeded his average with 26 points, hitting 8-of-16 shots from the floor and 5-of-9 from three-point range. He added five rebounds and five assists, both on his average, and two steals. He also drew eight fouls and went 5-of-8 from the line.
  • Devoe has hit a 3 in his last 15 straight games dating back to last Feb. 10 vs. Virginia, and went 5-of-9 from distance against Georgia Southern. The 2021 ACC Tournament MVP made at least one in 23 of 26 games last season, including the final 10 in a row.
  • Devoe has reached double figures in 15 straight games as well, with that Virginia game being the last time he didn’t, and has done so 64 times in his career. He has scored 20 or more points 23 times.
  • Rodney Howard posted his third double-figure scoring game of the season against Georgia Southern, tallying 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the floor. He has made 24-of-38 (63.2 percent) for the season.
  • After overcoming severe foul trouble in Tech’s last two games, Howard played the entire first half without committing a foul and finished with two. The 6-10 junior had played the final 16:58 of the Charleston Southern game, and played 16:36 of the Georgia game with four fouls.
  • Howard had three assists and one turnover against Georgia Southern, giving him a 16:8 ratio across his last five games. In those give games, he has recorded 3-3-4-3-3 assists.
  • Jordan Usher gathered 10 rebounds for the second straight game and for the third time this season. He leads the Jackets in rebound average at 8.7.
  • Kyle Sturdivant posted his third game with double-digit points in a Tech uniform, and second in a row with 11 points against Georgia Southern. The 6-2 junior scored a career-high 17 Monday night against Charleston Southern.

Rodney Howard scored seven-straight points to open the second half and help lead Tech back from a 12-point halftime deficit in Friday’s win over Georgia Southern (photo by Danny Karnik).

 

Multimedia

Josh Pastner post-game press conference

Michael Devoe/Jordan Usher post-game press conference

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