CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Zaire O’Neil posted a double-double and helped Georgia Tech erase a 22-point deficit to force overtime, but it was not enough as the Jackets dropped a 65-64 decision at Virginia Thursday. Tech outscored Virginia 32-15 in the second half, but a one-point overtime Cavalier advantage was the difference in the game.
“Obviously we are disappointed in the outcome of the game, but I felt like we did a great job of fighting back in an adverse situation to be down 22 on the road,” commented head coach MaChelle Joseph. “It was a tough game and a hard lesson to learn for a young team. But even though we lost the game on the scoreboard, I felt like the second half we showed what we are capable of doing when we are all on the same page, playing hard, playing smart and playing together.”
How It Happened
Virginia shot 52.9 percent from the field in the first half to gain a comfortable lead at the halftime break as Tech’s shooting troubles in the half left the Jackets trailing 44-27 at the break. Dominque Toussaint and Breyana Mason combined for 22 of the Cavaliers’ first half points as Mason helped UVa open an 11-4 advantage just five minutes into the first quarter. Tech would trim the score to a two point possession at the first intermission, but the Cavaliers continued their hot shooting in the second quarter to pull away with its largest lead of 19 points twice in the second quarter. Tech shot just 26.3 percent in the second frame to finish with a 30.6 percent efficiency in the first half.
The Jackets held the Cavaliers to 15 points combined in the third and fourth quarters to erase a 22-point deficit and used a 16-1 run in the third frame to climb back into the game. O’Neil tied the game for the first time with 1:36 in the fourth quarter, but could not complete the three-point play as Virginia answered with a jumper to go ahead by two. With less than 10 seconds on the clock, O’Neil hit the layup to force overtime.
Virginia’s J’Kyra Brown opened the scoring in overtime, putting the Cavaliers up by two as neither team would hit a field goal over the next three minutes. Imani Tilford would end the drought, knotting the score for the fourth time with 1:22 on the clock. After a UVa bucket, senior Katarina Vuckovic drained a three-pointer from the left wing at 31.7 to put the Jackets up 64-63 for the first time in the game. Virginia’s Mason returned the final lead with a jumper at 16.5 as the Jackets were unable to convert a pair of free throws with 0.9 on the clock, accounting for the final score.
* Tech dropped to 13-9 overall and 2-7 in ACC play with the loss
* Zaire O’Neil recorded her first double-double of the season with 24 points and 14 rebounds — the sixth of her career
*Tech won the rebounding battle 46-39 led by O’Neil with 14 boards
*The Jackets pulled down 21 offensive rebounds and converted for 19 second chance points
*Tech outscored Virginia 38-28 in the paint and used 17 Cavalier turnovers for 17 points
*The Jackets shot 50.0 percent (15-30) in the second half while holding Virginia to 27.2 percent (6-22)
The Jackets return home for two games beginning on Sunday, Feb. 5, welcoming Virginia Tech for a 2 p.m. tip on ACC Network Extra in McCamish Pavilion.