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Jackets Battle Back to Beat Tar Heels, 72-67

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THE FLATS – Three Yellow Jackets scored in double-figures to lead Georgia Tech men’s basketball to a 72-67 comeback win over Atlantic Coast Conference-rival North Carolina on Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion.

Georgia Tech (5-3, 1-1 ACC) trailed UNC (5-4, 0-2 ACC) by as much as 11 in the first half and by eight with less than seven minutes to go before battling back to secure its first conference win of the 2020-21 season. Tech guards Jose Alvarado and Michael Devoe led all scorers with a pair of 20 points apiece. Alvarado also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven assists (both team highs), while Devoe sank four 3-pointers as well as handing out four assists.

The Yellow Jackets shot 52.9% (27-of-51) from the field, including a red-hot 61.5% in the second half. The hot-shooting Jackets also sank 45.5% of their 3-pointers (10-of-22), including 6-of-9 in the second half, which helped them outscore the Tar Heels 43-32 after the break.

Defensively, Georgia Tech forced 18 turnovers and held a 19-10 advantage in points off turnovers and a 15-8 edge in fast-break points.

A 13-3 North Carolina run midway through the opening period led to Tech facing a 24-13 at the 6:11 mark of the first half. The Yellow Jackets scored 16 of the final 27 points of the opening half to cut the UNC lead to 35-29 UNC lead at intermission. Jordan Usher put up 11 of his 14 points in the first and Moses Wright had three steals before the break to keep the Jackets in the game.

A 5-0 run just before the midway point of the second half, sparked by an Usher three from the corner and a Devoe lay-up off an assist by Alvarado, gave Georgia Tech its first lead of the night at 50-49. However, North Carolina scored 12 of the game’s next 15 points and led 61-53 with less than seven minutes to play.

Georgia Tech erased the eight-point deficit by making six of its final seven baskets, while simultaneously holding the Tar Heels to just a 1-of-7 showing from the field to end the game.

With the victory, the Yellow Jackets have won consecutive games over North Carolina for the first time since they won four-straight over UNC spanning the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. Tech moved to 3-2 against the Tar Heels under head coach Josh Pastner.

Georgia Tech returns to ACC action on Jan. 3 to take on Wake Forest at McCamish Pavilion. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

Senior guard Jose Alvarado scored 12 of his 20 points in the second half to help guide Tech to the comeback victory over North Carolina. (photo by Danny Karnik)

Post-Game Notes

TEAM NOTES

  • Georgia Tech has won back-to-back games against North Carolina since winning four in a row over the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.
  • Tech has beaten Kentucky and North Carolina in the same season for the first time in program history.
  • For the fifth time in six games, Tech won the turnover battle and had more assists than turnovers. Only against Florida State (11 assists, 12 turnovers, FSU has 12 turnovers) did the Jackets fall short.
  • Tech forced 97 over its past six games and scored 108 points from them, including 18 turnovers for 19 points from North Carolina. The Jackets have forced 15.9 turnovers per game for the season, while committing just 12 per game. Tech came into the North Carolina with fifth-best turnover margin and the second best turnover margin in the ACC.
  • Tech has averaged just 9.8 turnovers over its last six games (a total of 59), compared to 37 in its first two games. The Yellow Jackets committed 13 against North Carolina and has a plus-38 turnover margin in its last six games.
  • Small ball special – Since going to its smaller lineup, the Jackets have had just six shots blocked in their last six games. Tech had 13 of its shots blocked in its two season-opening losses.
  • Tech has connected on 28 of its 67 three-point attempts in its last three games (41.8 percent) and is up to 33.9 percent for the season. The Jackets are averaging 8.0 made threes per game, 2.8 per game more than they made in 2019-20.
  • Though the Yellow Jackets hit just 8-of-16 free throws against North Carolina, Tech’s accuracy from the free throw line is well above its 2019-20 norm. The Jackets have hit 72.2 percent from the charity stripe, compared to 67.7 last season. Tech has scored 15.9 points per game at the stripe, 2.9 points better than last season.
  • Georgia Tech starting lineup: Jose Alvarado, Bubba Parham, Michael Devoe, Jordan Usher, Moses Wright (6th time this season, lineup is 5-1).

INDIVIDUAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Jose Alvarado (20 points, 8-10 FG, 1-3 3pt FG) has made a three-point basket in 26 straight games. He sits 12th on Tech’s all-time list for three-pointers with 142.
  • In his last two games against the Tar Heels, Alvarado has scored 46 points (16-22 FG, 5-9 3pt FG) with 15 assists and nine steals.
  • Jordan Usher (14 points, 6-13 FG, 2-5 3pt FG) hit double figures for sixth time in eight games this season. Tech is 9-5 when he scored in double figures.
  • Michael Devoe notched his sixth double-digit game this season, and his 20 points were seven more than he scored in his first two games combined (13 points, 5-15 FG) against the Tar Heels as a freshman and sophomore.
  • Alvarado jumped three spots into 32nd place in career scoring with his performance against North Carolina, having scored 1,172 points in his career. He needs 12 points to reach Sammy Drummer in 31st
  • Alvarado passed Lethal Weapon 3 legend Kenny Anderson for ninth place in career steals at Tech Wednesday night. He had three against the Tar Heels to lift his career total to 170, and needs three more to catch eighth-place Tony Akins. The senior had seven assists against North Carolina and remains 16th all-time with 310.
  • Moses Wright, the leading scorer in the ACC entering Wednesday night’s action, was held to a season-low eight points (3-10 FG), but had five rebounds and a game-high four steals while battling the Tar Heels’ army of big men for more than 39 minutes. Since the beginning of the 2019-20 season, Wright has hit double figures in 30 of 39 games, including seven this season. The 6-9 senior has connected on 54.6 percent of his shots from the floor this season.
  • Wright now has 840 points in his career, and elevated his career rebound total of 470. He is bidding to become the 21st player in Tech history with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career.
  • Bubba Parham, making his sixth straight start for the Yellow Jackets this season, has hit at least one three-point basket in seven of Tech’s games this season, and hit 3-of-4 from distance against North Carolina. He has 214 three-point field goals for his career, and is No. 2 on the team in attempts (14-of-43) this season.
  • Parham turned the ball over just once against North Carolina and has just four total with 18 assists this season.

Michael Devoe made 5-of-6 shots from the field and 2-of-3 from 3-point range in the second half of Wednesday’s comeback win over North Carolina. (photo by Danny Karnik)

 

Game Highlights

ACC Digital Network Highlights (Video)

ACC Digital Network Condensed Game (Video)

Georgia Tech Sports Network from Learfield IMG College Highlights (Audio)

Post-Game Press Conference

Guard Michael Devoe, guard Jose Alvarado and head coach Josh Pastner

 

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