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Pugh Leads Jackets Past No. 24 Syracuse, 75-66

THE FLATS — Georgia Tech held off a late rally from No. 24 Syracuse Sunday afternoon and upset the Orange, 75-66, in McCamish Pavilion behind a career-high 28 points from Kaylan Pugh. The Jackets captured their first win in program history over the Orange with the victory.

“I think playing Notre Dame and Duke early in the ACC schedule helped us get better and grow our confidence,” commented head coach MaChelle Joseph. “Tonight, Kaylan Pugh really established herself and showed everybody in this league what she is capable of. But it’s all the dirty work of the other players that make these wins possible — 58 rebounds is amazing. I thought Elo Edeferioka played amazing defense inside – she was very physical and got some key rebounds. Francesca Pan hit key three-pointers at really critical times and you have to credit Zutorya Cook’s hustle. It was great to see her step in when Imani Tilford got in foul trouble and take care of the basketball.”

How It Happened
Georgia Tech raced out to an 8-0 lead, holding the No. 24 Orange scoreless through nearly three minutes, but Syracuse answered with a 13-4 run of its own to gain control at the 4:25 mark. In a tight battle, the teams traded the lead back-and-forth to close out the frame and remained tied at 20-all at the first intermission. Syracuse opened the second quarter with a 5-0 run to gain its largest lead, but Kaylan Pugh sparked a 9-0 Tech response as the Jackets regained a 29-25 advantage. The Orange closed it to within one, but Tech held strong, answering Syracuse and led 33-28 at the halftime break.

Tech opened the second half with an 11-2 run to take a 44-30 lead over the Orange, but Syracuse answered with an 11-0 run of its own to draw the score back within one possession, 44-41, with 5:10 to play in the third. The Jackets pushed their lead back out to nine points before Syracuse began an 11-0 run that spanned both quarters to erase its deficit and regain the lead at 56-54 with 7:46 left to play. Syracuse would knot the game one more time, but the Jackets would never trail again as strong defense paired with balanced offense allowed Tech to expand its lead back out to nine points twice before the final buzzer. Tech finished 7-of-8 from the free throw line in the final minute to secure the win.

Tech Tidbits
* Tech improved to 13-4 overall with the win and 2-2 in ACC play
* The win marked the first in program history over Syracuse as the Orange entered the series leading 4-0
* Tech last defeated a top-25 opponent on Feb. 26, 2015 when it upset No. 16/17 Duke, 71-62
* Kaylan Pugh exploded with a team-high 28 points on 8-of-19 shooting and a 12-for-16 performance at the free throw line
* Pugh finished with her first double-double of the season, leading the Jackets on the boards with 13
* Tech won the rebounding battle, 58-46, marking the second highest rebounding total this season
* The Jackets finished 25-of-39 from the free throw line which also marked the second best performance to date
* Zaire O’Neil added 13 points to the board, while Francesca Pan finished with 11 points
* Syracuse attempted 41 three-pointers in the game — the second most attempts in program history by an opponent. Villanova attempted 42 three-pointers on Nov. 29, 2014.
* For the game, Syracuse shot 27.7 percent, going 23-of-83 from the field
* Alexis Peterson led the Orange with 29 points, converting 10-of-37 attempts from the field
* Brittney Sykes closed out the players in double-figures for Syracuse, finishing with 24 points

Next Up
Georgia Tech begins a stretch of playing the next four of five games on the road, including a pair this upcoming week. The Yellow Jackets visit No. 9/8 Louisville on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. matchup on ACC Network Extra.

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