THE FLATS – Baye Ndongo’s slam dunk with 44 seconds left capped a 21-point day for the freshman and broke a 68-68 tie for Georgia Tech on its way to a 72-68 win over No. 7 Duke on Saturday afternoon at raucous McCamish Pavilion.
Georgia Tech’s second victory of the week over a nationally ranked opponent (Tech defeated No. 21 Mississippi State, 67-59, on Tuesday) moved the Yellow Jackets to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play under first-year head coach Damon Stoudamire. The Jackets have beaten ranked teams in back-to-back games for the first time since 2016-17 and downed a top-10 opponent for the first time since February of 2020.
Ndongo’s go-ahead dunk was the highlight of a wild final four minutes that featured four ties and two lead changes.
Sparked by multiple big runs, Georgia Tech led throughout most of the game, including four double-digit leads in the second half alone. However, Duke clawed back into the game with a 20-6 run of its own and took its biggest lead of the contest at 66-62 with 2:22 to go. Back-to-back slam dunks by Mark Mitchell gave the Blue Devils the four-point edge, but following the second dunk, Mitchell was hit with a technical foul for taunting.
Thanks to Mitchell’s technical foul, Miles Kelly scored four points on the Jackets’ ensuing trip down the floor – two on the free throws awarded for the technical foul and two on a pull-up jumper that knotted the score at 66-66 with just under two minutes to play.
Duke regained a two-point edge on a Kyle Filipowski layup on its next possession but that would be the last points the Blue Devils scored, thanks in large part to Ndongo, who tied the game at 70-70 on a layup, stole the ball from Mitchell on Duke’s next possession, then slammed home the go-ahead points off an assist from Naithan George, giving the Jackets a 72-70 lead.
Duke had two chances to tie the game in the final 30 seconds, but Tech forced a turnover and Ndongo came up with one final huge play, blocking a shot by Jeremy Roach with three seconds remaining. Kelly grabbed the loose ball and made two free throws to seal the Yellow Jackets first win over a top-10 opponent in nearly four years (dating back to a 64-58 victory over No. 5 Louisville on Feb. 12, 2020).
Duke (5-3, 0-1 ACC) led only three times in the ballgame – 2-0, 23-21 and the late 66-62 lead. After the Blue Devils scored the first bucket of the game, Tech responded with a 12-0 run to take a commanding 12-2 advantage. Duke scored 21 of the next 30 points to regain the 23-21 lead with just under seven minutes to go in the first half, but the Yellow Jackets responded with another big run, this time a 10-2 spurt that gave Tech a 31-25 advantage.
The teams traded baskets over the remainder of the opening half, and the Jackets took a 35-31 lead into halftime. But Tech came out of the gates after the break with an 8-1 run that stretched its lead to 43-32 just over two minutes into the second half. Tech led by 10 with less 10 minutes to play before Duke went on its 20-6 run to set up the heart-stopping final minutes.
Ndongo stuffed the stat sheet with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field, five rebounds and four blocked shots. He was joined in double-figures by Kelly (16 points to go along with a team-high seven rebounds) and Kowacie Reeves (14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range). George led all players with nine assists.
Roach scored 20 points to lead Duke.
Georgia Tech returns to action on Tuesday at archrival Georgia. The hardwood edition of Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate tips off at 7 p.m. in Athens, Ga. and will be televised nationally on SEC Network.
Freshman Baye Ndongo scores two of his 21 points against Duke. He went 9-of-11 from the floor. (photo by Danny Karnik)
- Tech has won consecutive games against top-25 teams for the first time since the 2020-21 season – Feb. 23 at No. 16 Virginia Tech (69-53) and March 13 vs. No. 15 Florida State (80-75). The Yellow Jackets defeated No. 21 Mississippi State Tuesday night.
- The last time Tech played top-25 teams in back-to-back games and beat both was the 2016-17 season – Jan. 25 vs. No. 6 Florida State (78-56) and Jan. 28 vs. No. 14 Notre Dame (62-60).
- 7 Duke is the highest-ranked team Tech has defeated since Feb. 12, 2020 over No. 5 Louisville (64-58).
- Damon Stoudamire is the first Tech coach in the Yellow Jackets’ 45-year ACC history to defeat Duke in his first try.
- Tech assisted on its first eight field goals made in the game against Duke and finished with a season-high 19 on 27 made field goals. The previous season high was 17 on 27 field goals vs. Georgia Southern.
- Tech has connected on 78.1 percent of its free throws (43-of-55) in the last two games after hitting just 59.7 percent (46-of-77) in the first three games.
- Tech shot 50 percent from the floor (50.9 percent, 27-of-53) for the first time this season and for the first time since Feb. 28 of last season at Syracuse (50.7 percent).
- In its two wins over top-25 teams this week, Tech limited its opponents to 36.2-percent shooting from the floor and 23.9 percent from three-point range (11-of-46).
- Opponents have connected on just 28.1 percent from three-point range through five games, which matches the program record set in the 2019-20 season.
- Tech has blocked 23 shots in its last three games (8 vs. Duke).
- Tech has played its first six games without its full roster complement due to injuries. Senior guard Lance Terry, Tech’s No. 2 scorer last year, has not yet played this season.
- At least nine players have seen the court in each of Tech’s five games (10 vs. Howard, Mississippi State and Duke, 12 vs. Cincinnati). Eleven players average 10 or more minutes per game.
- Miles Kelly extended his streak of double-digit scoring games to 14 after tallying xx points against Duke. He has averaged 19.4 points per game over that stretch.
- Kelly has 15 offensive rebounds this season, five more than he had all of last season.
- Kelly (4-4 FT vs. Duke) has averaged seven trips to the free throw line a game (42 total), compared to last season when he shot a total of 59 in 31 games and made a school-record 89.8 percent of them. Kelly has attempted two more free throws than three-pointers this season; last year he tried 235 three-pointers.
- In just his third game of the season after missing the first three with injury, freshman forward Baye Ndongo stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points (9-11 FG), 5 rebounds, four blocked shots and two assists. He is Tech’s third-leading scorer at 10.3 points per game has hit 52 percent of his shots from the floor and is tied for the team lead with eight blocked shots.
- Freshman Naithan George has started Tech’s last two games at the point guard position and has averaged 7.0 points in the three games he has played. He recorded a season-high nine assists against Duke.
- Kowacie Reeves, Jr., has scored in double digits in four of Tech’s six games, including 14 vs. Duke, and has hit 46.8 percent of his shots from the floor (5-7 vs. Duke) and 40.9 from three-point range (4-5 vs. Duke).
- Kyle Sturdivant has a 21/9 assist-turnover ratio this season and ranks among the top 10 in the ACC.
- Deebo Coleman had his fifth turnover-free game this season against Duke. He has committed just one in 148 minutes of action across five games.
Miles Kelly scored 16 points with a pair of three-point field goals, his 14th straight game in double figures. (photo by Danny Karnik)