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Jackets Lead Wire-to-Wire in Win Over No. 21 Miss State

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech men’s basketball turned in its most impressive performance of opening month of the Damon Stoudamire era, leading wire-to-wire in a 67-59 win over No. 21 Mississippi State Tuesday evening in the ACC/SEC Challenge presented by Continental Tire at McCamish Pavilion.

Georgia Tech (3-2) jumped out to an early 7-2 lead and used a 11-2 run over the final 3:25 of the first half to take a commanding 39-26 halftime advantage. The Yellow Jackets maintained a double-digit advantage throughout most of the second half, and the Bulldogs pulled no closer than within eight points in the game’s waning minutes.

The triumph was Tech’s first over a ranked team since 76-70 win over No. 12 Miami (Fla.) on Jan. 4 of this year, snapping a two-game skid against ranked opponents.

The loss was the first of the season for Mississippi State (6-1).

Miles Kelly led the way for the Yellow Jackets, with a game-high 22 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, good for his first-career double-double. Kyle Sturdivant added 12 points for Tech, and freshman Naithan George, making his first career start, scored 11.

However, the story of the night was Tech’s defense, which limited Mississippi State to a season-low 59 points on just 30.8-percent shooting (20-of-65). The Jackets also forced 13 turnovers and outscored MSU by a 16-5 margin on points off turnovers.

Georgia Tech continues a challenging week on Saturday when it opens Atlantic Coast Conference play versus No. 7 Duke. Tipoff is set for 2:15 p.m. and the game will be televised across the nation on The CW (Peachtree TV in Atlanta).

Miles Kelly posted his first-career double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds in Tuesday’s 67-59 win over No. 21 Mississippi State. (photo by Danny Karnik)

Post-Game Notes

TEAM TRENDS

  • Tech has played its first five games without its full roster complement due to injuries. Sophomore forward Tafara Gapare has been sidelined the last two games after starting the first three. Senior guard Lance Terry, Tech’s No. 2 scorer last year, has not yet played this season.
  • Freshman point guard Naithan George and senior forward/center Ebenezer Dowuona made their first starts of the season. Dowuona had played off the bench in each game prior, and George made his debut last game at Cincinnati.
  • Tech made eight three-point field goals against Mississippi State, its most since draining 13 in the season opener vs. Georgia Southern. In between, the Jackets made a total of 15.
  • At least nine players have seen the court in each of Tech’s five games (10 vs. Howard and Mississippi State, 12 vs. Cincinnati). Eleven players average 10 or more minutes per game.
  • Tech’s win over Mississippi State was its first win against a top-25 team since last Jan. 4 (76-70 over No. 12 Miami). Tech was 1-4 vs. top-25 teams last season.
  • Tech permitted Mississippi State to make just 30.8 percent of its shots from the floor, a season low yield by nearly 10 percent. Georgia Southern hit 40.4 percent in the Jackets’ season opener.
  • Opponents have connected on just 28.5 percent from three-point range through five games, which matches the program record set in the 2019-20 season.
  • Tech has connected on 76.2 percent of its free throws (32-of-42) in the last two games after hitting just 59,7 percent (46-of-77) in the first three games.
  • Tech has connected on 15-of-65 three-point shots (23.1 pct.) in its last three games after hitting 13-of-29 (44.8 pct.) against Georgia Southern.
  • Tech remains one of the nation’s best offensive rebounding teams, ranking 11th at 14.8 per game and producing 14.8 second-chance points per game. The Jackets pulled 12 against Mississippi State.

PLAYER NOTES

  • Miles Kelly extended his streak of double-digit scoring games to 13 after tallying 22 points against Mississippi State. He has averaged 19.6 points per game over that stretch.
  • Kelly recorded the first double of his career, adding a career-best 12 rebounds. His previous best was nine last Feb. 4 at NC State.
  • Kelly has 14 offensive rebounds this season, four more than he had all of last season.
  • Kelly (8-of-10 FT vs. Mississippi State) has averaged more than seven trips to the free throw line a game (38 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 six more free throws than three-pointers this season; last year he tried 235 three-pointers.
  • Kelly notched the 10th 20-point game of his career and third this season. He scored 25 vs. Georgia Southern and 27 vs. Howard.
  • Freshman guard Naithan George made his first career start against Mississippi State and scored 11 points in just shy of 32 minutes. George made his Tech debut in the Jackets’ previous game at Cincinnati, scoring eight points in 15 minutes off the bench.
  • Kowacie Reeves, Jr., went 2-for-2 from the foul line against Mississippi State and has hit 15-of-16 for the season.
  • Kyle Sturdivant scored 12 points in just 12 minutes against Mississippi State.
  • Deebo Coleman had his fourth turnover-free game this season. He has committed just one in 127 minutes of action across five games.

Kyle Sturdivant scored 12 points in just 12 minutes of action in the win over MSU. (photo by Danny Karnik)

 

Game Highlights

Post-Game Press Conference

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