CONWAY, S.C. – Georgia Tech grabbed the first lead, but No. 16 Miami shot 63.8 percent from the field to come away with an 87-71 victory in the second round of the ACC Tournament Thursday night. Kaylan Pugh posted 21 points for her second straight 20-plus point outing.
“I thought we played in spurts. I think one of the things with a young team is the inconsistency, and tonight was no different,” stated head coach MaChelle Joseph. “Their seniors and their upperclassmen obviously stepped up and had tremendous games, and that’s been something that has been Achilles heel for us all year is having consistency with such a young team. But I give Miami a lot of credit. Again, I’ve never seen somebody shoot 90 percent in a quarter. That’s a first for me. And shooting 65 percent from the field is — that’s huge for them. I think they’re going to be a tough team to beat in this tournament.”
How It Happened
Zaire O’Neil scored the first bucket of the contest, but it would be Tech’s only lead of the game as the Hurricanes held the Jackets without a field goal for the next five minutes and opened an 11-2 lead by the 5:55 mark. Miami grabbed a double-digit lead by the end of the first quarter and despite Tech closing within single digits in the second frame, was able to extend its lead to 20 points by the end of the second period.
Miami held a comfortable lead in the third quarter until Kaylan Pugh sparked an 8-0 run late in the period to pull the Jackets within 12 points, 62-50, with less than 30 seconds in the frame. The Hurricanes and Jackets traded baskets over the next four minutes, but consecutive buckets from Imani Tilford and Katarina Vuckovic setup a 70-58 with 5:48 left to play. It would be the closest the Jackets would come the remainder of the contest.
* Georgia Tech dropped to 17-14 with the loss
* Kaylan Pugh led the Jackets with 21 points for her second straight 20-point game
* Katarina Vuckovic and Zaire O’Neil each contributed 12 points, while Imani Tilford added 11 points
* For the game, Miami shot 63.8 percent (37-58) from the field, including a 90.0 percent efficiency in the fourth quarter
* At the charity stripe, the Hurricanes shot 76.9 percent to Tech’s 52.4 percent (11-21)