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Tech Rally Falls Short at Florida State

Tallahassee, Fla.Miles Kelly and Kowacie Reeves, Jr., led Georgia Tech’s second-half charge by scoring 30 of the Yellow Jackets’ 52 points, but Florida State held off Tech by shooting 64 percent after intermission and captured an 82-71 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over the Jackets at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

Tech (8-5, 1-1 ACC) was cold in the opening frame, hitting just 26.7 percent of its shots from the floor and only one of 14 three-point attempts to post its fewest points in a half this season. The Seminoles (7-6, 1-1 ACC) took advantage and built a 32-19 lead at the break.

Both teams shot the ball much better in the second half, Tech at 58.6 percent and FSU at 64.3. The Seminoles built their lead to as many at 17 points, 39-22 with 17:23 remaining, before Kelly and Reeves, with help from freshman point guard Naithan George, began to find an offensive rhythm.

They helped trim the FSU lead to as few as eight on three occasions, and seven inside of the final minute, but that was as close as the Jackets could get.

Kelly finished the game with a game-high 20 points in his highest-scoring effort since Nov. 28 (22 vs. Mississippi State), while Reeves scored 18. Each hit three three-point field goals in the second half and grabbed six rebounds for the game. Freshman Baye Ndongo scored 10 with a team-best nine rebounds.

Chandler Jackson scored 14 points to lead four Seminoles in double digits. Jamir Watkins tallied 11 points, while Darin Green, Jr., and Primo Spears added 10 apiece.

Tech returns home Saturday to face Boston College at McCamish Pavilion. Tip is at 4 p.m., and the game will be televised live on the ESPN2.

Miles Kelly scored a game-high 20 points, 15 of them in the second half. (photo by Ross Obley)

 

Post-Game Notes

TEAM NOTES

  • Georgia Tech utilized its fourth different starting lineup this season with freshman forward Ibrahima Sacko making his first collegiate start.
  • Tech has lost six straight games at the Donald L. Tucker Center, last defeating the Seminoles there on Feb. 17, 2016 (86-80).
  • Tech is 4-2 all-time in the Diamond Head Classic. The Yellow Jackets finished third in the 2019 event. Tech is 10-7 all-time in the state of Hawai’i.
  • Tech is 3-3 against Quad 1 and Quad 2 teams this season (UMass was a Quad 2 win, while Nevada was a Quad 1 opportunity). The Jackets’ remaining ACC schedule has eight Quad 1 and four Quad 2 opponents. Tech was 3-14 last season against Quad 1/2 foes.
  • Tech is 6-3 since freshmen Baye Ndongo and Naithan George entered the starting lineup Nov. 28 against Mississippi State.
  • Tech has outrebounded nine of 13 opponents and tied one this season, but has been outrebounded in its last two games (Nevada and Florida State. For the season, Tech has a plus-5.5 rebounding margin and entered the game No. 3 in the ACC, No. 54 nationally.
  • Tech shot 58.6 in the second half of the Florida State game to finish at 42.4 percent for the game. The Jackets have connected on 41.5 percent for the season.
  • Florida State (51.7) was just the second team this season to shoot 50 percent or better against the Yellow Jackets (Howard shot 50 percent even). Tech’s last two opponents (Nevada, FSU) have combined to hit 504 percent from the floor.
  • Tech has averaged less than 10 turnovers (9 each vs. Hawai’i and Nevada, 10 FSU) in its last three games, after averaging more than 19 in the three games prior.
  • Tech remains one of the nation’s better offensive rebounding teams this season, grabbing 14 against Florida State and averaging 14.3 per game. The Jackets lead the ACC in that category and ranked 15th-best nationally. Tech ranks No. 2 in the ACC in total rebounds per game and is No. 15 nationally.
  • Tech has not connected on more than 30.4 percent of its threes in any one game (26.9 pct. vs. FSU) since going 13-for-29 in its 2023-24 opener against Georgia Southern. The Jackets have connected on 28.3 percent this season from beyond the arc.
  • Miles Kelly and Kowacie Reeves, Jr., are the only Tech players to start every game this season.
  • Tech has played this entire season without its full roster complement due to injuries. Senior guard Lance Terry, Tech’s No. 2 scorer last year, has not played this season and will red-shirt.
  • At least nine players have seen the court in 12 of Tech’s first 13 games (only eight played against Hawai’i). Eleven players average more than minutes per game.

PLAYER NOTES

  • Kowacie Reeves, Jr., has scored in double digits in eight of Tech’s 13 games, and his 18 points against FSU were his second-most this season behind a 20-point effort Dec. 9 against Alabama A&M. His three three-point field goals were his most since going 4-for-5 Dec. 2 against Duke.
  • Reeves has hit 44.3 percent of his shots from the floor, a team-best 38.5 percent from three-point range and 83.3 percent from the foul line. He is Tech’s No. 2 scorer at 12.2 points per game.
  • Miles Kelly scored a game-high 20 points against FSU for his highest output since Nov. 28 against Mississippi State (22 points). He remains Tech’s top scorer at 15.2 points per game.
  • Kelly leads Tech in getting to the free throw line, attempting 72 foul shots this season after trying 59 all of 2022-23.
  • Kelly went 3-for-6 from behind the arc at Florida State, his most threes since going 3-for-8 against Alabama A&M on Dec. 9. He was just 2-for-25 from behind the three-point line in Tech’s last four games.
  • Kelly grabbed six more rebounds against FSU and averages 6.0 this season, second on the team. Kelly averaged just 2.5 rebounds per game over his first two seasons.
  • Freshman Baye Ndongo came up one rebound shy of his third double-double this season, scoring 10 points with nine rebounds against Florida State.
  • Ndongo is Tech’s leader in rebound average (9.1 rpg), field goal percentage (62.0 pct.) and blocked shots (16 total). He has averaged 11.2 rebounds over his last five games.
  • Freshman Naithan George has started Tech’s last nine games at the point guard position and has averaged 7.4 points and 4.4 assists in those games. He had eight dimes each against Alabama A&M and Penn State, and nine vs. Duke.
  • George and senior Kyle Sturdivant had eight assists and just one turnover combined against FSU. For the season the point guard combo has 80 assists (40 each) vs. 40 turnovers, a 2-to-1 ratio.
  • Deebo Coleman has just six turnovers this season in 300 minutes, and has had nine turnover-free games.

Kyle Sturdivant scored five points with five assists. (photo by Ross Obley)

 

Game Highlights

 

Post-Game Press Conference

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