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Jackets Down Seton Hall in Junkanoo Jam, 79-54

BIMINI, BAHAMAS – Georgia Tech shot 63.3 percent in the second half to pull away from Seton Hall and take game one in the Junkanoo Jam, 79-54. Fueled by 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists from Lorela Cubaj, four Yellow Jackets finished in double-figures. With the win, Tech improved to 5-0 and advanced to the Junkanoo Division championship game.

How It Happened
After a competitive first quarter, the teams continued to battle in the second frame. With Tech leading by two points, the Jackets rattled off seven unanswered points capped by a three-pointer from Lotta-Maj Lathinen that gave Tech a 27-18 lead with 5:16 to play in the half. Seton Hall called a timeout and out of the break, Alexis Lewis hit back-to-back triples to cut the lead to 27-24, forcing Tech to burn a timeout. The Pirates hit the front end of a pair of free throws before Kierra Fletcher closed the half with a layup for a 29-25 Tech lead at halftime. Both teams shot below 36 percent in the first half (Tech – 35.5; SHU – 32.1) with all scoring coming from the teams’ starters.

The Yellow Jackets came alive in the second half, shooting 63.3 percent (19-30) from the field, while limiting the Pirates to 33.3 percent (11-33). Francesca Pan, who was limited to two points in the first half, led the Jackets offensively in the second half with 14 points.

Tech began the third quarter with a 9-0 spurt, opening a 38-27 lead and forcing Seton Hall to burn a timeout. The Pirates answered with six unanswered points to cut the score to five points, but the Jackets held a double-digit lead, 51-41, at the final quarter break. The Jackets outscored the Pirates, 28-13, in the fourth quarter, and opened a 20-point lead off a Lahtinen bucket with 6:57 to play. Tech led by as many as 27 points, 79-52, when Jasmine Carson hit a layup with 40 seconds to play.

For the game, Tech shot 49.2 percent (30-61) and 68.2 percent (15-22) from the free throw line. Cubaj finished with 16 points for a season-high, while Pan also posted 16 points. Nerea Hermosa and Lahtinen each chipped in 12 points. Tech won the battle on the glass, 44-32, and dished out 18 assists. The Jackets scored 44 points in the paint and converted 19 Seton Hall turnovers into 18 points.

“We didn’t play that well in the first half, but I thought we were resilient, came back and played a much better second half,” commented head coach Nell Fortner. “We had some players that really stepped up strong tonight, knocking down some big shots. Nerea Hermosa on the inside really used her size and Francesca Pan knocked down some three-pointers when we needed them. Seton Hall has a really good team. They put pressure on us and made us play faster than we wanted to play. We finally settled down and started knocking down some shots.”

Next Up
The Yellow Jackets will face Rutgers in the Junkanoo Division championship game on Sunday. Tip is slated for 2 p.m. on FloHoops.

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