THE FLATS – Georgia Tech men’s basketball worked a two-point lead late in the second half but was unable to pull off the upset, falling to No. 9/7 Virginia Tech 52-49 on Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion.
The Yellow Jackets’ (9-6, 1-1 ACC) defense paved the way for them all night, holding the Hokies (14-1, 3-0 ACC) to less than 30 percent shooting from the field and a paltry 18.5 percent from downtown.
Offensively, Tech was led by Jose Alvarado who scored 17 of its 24 total first-half points en route to a 20-point outing. Abdoulaye Gueye also finished with 11 points and six rebounds while Michael Devoe and Brandon Alston both finished with seven points.
VT owned slight advantages on the glass (35-32), points in the paint (20-18), and turnover margin (18-8), but Georgia Tech’s overall offensive numbers of 44.7 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three-point distance kept them within an arm’s length for the majority of the game.
The Hokies were led offensively by Ahmed Hill, with finished with 15 points and Kerry Blackshear, Jr. who finished with a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Georgia Tech returns to action Saturday for its first road game in four weeks when it travels to Syracuse for an ACC matchup at the Carrier Dome. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m., and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Abdoulaye Gueye hit the third three pointer of his career with 4:19 left in the game to tie it up at 47-47
- Georgia Tech starting lineup: Alvarado, Devoe, Moore, Wright, Banks III
- First subs for Georgia Tech: Alston for Moore – 18:23-1st half
- On the floor for Georgia Tech at the end: Alvarado, Devoe, Alston, Gueye, Banks III
- Opening tap won by Georgia Tech – Georgia Tech has won the opening tap eight times in 15 games this season
- Series record vs. Virginia Tech: Georgia Tech is 6-19 overall, 3-8 at home, 0-3 under Josh Pastner, 0-5 vs. Buzz Williams
- Current series trend: Virginia Tech won the last five meetings
- Georgia Tech is 8-3 at McCamish Pavilion this season, 80-40 in its sixth season in the building, 37-14 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, Jan. 12, at Syracuse, 6 p.m., Carrier Dome
- Freshmen Michael Devoe and Khalid Moore started Tech’s last six games, having made their first collegiate starts at Arkansas. Georgia Tech has used five different starting lineups this season. Transfer James Banks III has started nine straight games in the post, and Moses Wright the last 13 at the big forward spot. Jose Alvarado has started 14 of the 15 Tech games. No Tech player has started every game this season.
- Tech has deployed at least eight players for significant minutes in each of its 13 games so far, nine vs. Northwestern, St. John’s and Georgia despite Evan Cole missing those games with an ankle injury, and nine vs. Virginia Tech with Curtis Haywood out with an illness.
- Tech played one of its best defensive games of the season against a team that came in averaging 81.1 points per game and leading the ACC in field goal percentage (51.4) and three-point percentage (44.2). The Jackets limited Virginia Tech to 52 points, 29.8 percent from the floor and 5-of-27 (18.5 percent) from three-point range, all season low figures for the Hokies.
- Virginia Tech is the 11th team to come in under 40 percent against the Jackets this season, and the second to fall short of 30 percent (UTRGV shot 22.6 pct.).
- Tech posted its best defensive efficiency rating of the season against a power conference team (84.8), according to KenPom.com. It was the fifth-best rating against all opponents. The Jackets have posted a better effective field goal percentage yield (34.2 pct.) only against UTRGV (26.4 pct.)
- The 84.8 efficiency rating was Virginia Tech’s lowest by far this season. The Hokies failed to reach 100 points per 100 possession only one other time, their loss to Penn State (98.8).
- The 52 points by Virginia Tech were the fewest allowed in a loss under Josh Pastner (Tech lost 60-43 to Georgia on 12/20/16), and the fewest in a loss since a 52-51 defeat to Louisville at home on Feb. 23, 2015.
- Wake Forest is the only Georgia Tech opponent to exceed its season scoring average (74.4 ppg) this season against the Yellow Jackets this season, scoring 79 points. Tech had held every other opponent this season under its season scoring average – breakdown by game: Lamar 81.8 (69), Tennessee 85.5 (66), East Carolina 71.1 (54), UTRGV 70.2 (44), Prairie View A&M 69.2 (54), Northwestern 73.5 (67), St. John’s 83.5 (76), Florida A&M 63.2 (40), Gardner-Webb 82.9 (79), Arkansas 81.8 (69), Georgia 79.2 (70), Kennesaw State 62.5 (57), USC Upstate 70.9 (63), .
- Reflecting an emphasis in practice on offensive tempo, particularly early in the shot clock, Tech has piled up 83 assists on 110 made field goals in its last three games (75.5 percent), including 12 on 17 made field goals against Virginia Tech. Tech had just nine assists on 21 field goals against the Bulldogs on Dec. 22.
- After having been outscored in three straight games, Tech has received 139 points (34.8 per game) from its bench in its last four games, including eight double-figure scorers combined. For the season, Tech reserves have averaged 27.4 points per game to 16.3 for the opponents.
- Tech has connected on 48.5 percent of its field goals at home, 33.3 percent of its three-point attempts and 69.9 percent of its free throws.
PASTNER’S KEY METRICS
- Assists to made field goals: Tech assisted on 12 of 17 made field goals (70.5 percent) against Virginia Tech, meeting its nightly goal of 60 percent for the fourth straight game and fifth time this season. The Jackets have 83 assists on 110 field goals (75.5 percent) in its last four games. The Jackets are at 60.3 percent for the season, 23rd in the nation, well above the nation’s average of 52 percent.
- Free throws made to opponents’ attempts: Tech connected on 9-of-16 free throw attempts to Virginia Tech’s 13-of-19 (nightly goal of making more than opponent tries not accomplished). Tech is 36-13 under Josh Pastner when attempting more free throws than the opponent.
- Turnovers: Tech has averaged 14.7 turnovers per game this season, but has committed 13 or fewer in four of its last seven games (exceptions: 20 in victory at Arkansas, 16 in victory over USC Upstate, 18 vs. Virginia Tech). Target each night is 11 or fewer, which Tech has met twice this season (both wins). More telling for Tech under Josh Pastner is that when Tech has committed fewer turnovers than its opponent, it is 22-13. When it has committed more, it is 17-22.
- Guard rebounding: Tech’s guards combined for 14 of Tech’s 29 defensive rebounds against Virginia Tech. The group of Alvarado, Alston, Devoe, Haywood, Moore and Phillips has combined to take 185 of Tech’s 391 defensive rebounds this season (47.3 percent).
- Sophomore Jose Alvarado scored 20 points against Virginia Tech for his 11th double-figure scoring game this season, hitting 6-of-11 shots from the floor and 3-of-5 from three-point range in nearly 40 minutes (39:30). It was his third 20-point game this season and seventh of his career. Since a 3-for-20 afternoon against Georgia, the gritty 6-foot guard has hit 16-of-33 in Tech’s last four games, and he has 17 assists against just seven turnovers, as well as 13 rebounds.
- Alvarado scored 13 straight points for the Jackets during one stretch of the first half, hitting 6-of-7 shots and all three of his threes.
- Abdoulaye Gueye played 27 quality minutes off the bench, many of them on the floor with James Banks, and started the second half at the 4 position. He was Tech’s only other double-figure scorer in the game with 11 points and six rebounds. Gueye hit a three to tie the game at 47-all, his first three since early last season … his only two threes in his career prior to that both came against UTRGV on Nov. 22, 2017.
- Freshman Michael Devoe has started six straight games and logged six double-figure scoring games this season. He scored just seven against Virginia Tech, but grabbed a personal-best six rebounds and had three assists in nearly 40 minutes (39:36).
- Sophomore guard Curtis Haywood II missed the game due to an illness that kept him out of practice the two days prior.
Michael Devoe finished with seven points and six rebounds on the night
Coach Josh Pastner Press Conference Audio