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#TGW: Pitt Slips Away

Jan. 18, 2015

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s first men’s basketball game at Pittsburgh went something like a fishing trip might go this time of year in the Steel City: the catch kept slipping off the line.

The Yellow Jackets came close again to reeling in their first ACC win, yet in falling 70-65 to the Panthers, the Jackets were done in chiefly by 15 turnovers.

The ball became particularly slippery after Quinton Stephens’ 3-pointer gave Tech a 49-45 lead with 11:42 left in the game. The Jackets turned the ball over on four of their next five possessions, and failed to take a shot each time. Pitt, meanwhile, scored on four of five possessions.

Tech had seven turnovers in the 10:15 following Stephen’s long ball.

“That was a tough stretch right there, and you can’t do that, not in this league,” coach Brian Gregory said after Tech fell to 9-8/0-5 ACC. “We’re an exceptional offensive rebounding team. We’ve got to get the ball up on the rim.”

After the Jackets moved ahead by four on Stephens’ trey, Josh Heath, Tadric Jackson and Robert Sampson erred.

The Panthers (13-5, 3-2) would tie the game at 49 after Pitt’s Michael Young’s steal off Jackson, and go up 51-49 with 8:10 left on a Jamel Artis jumper soon after James Robinson stole the ball from Sampson.

After Cameron Wright’s steal from Charles Mitchell, Pitt took a 53-49 lead when Wright scored.

Tech tied the game once from there, when Marcus Georges-Hunt converted at point-blank range with 6:40 to go to knot the score at 53, but never again led.

The turnovers masked some solid work.

Tech outrebounded Pitt, 39-29, and outscored the Panthers 19-11 on second-chance points. Sampson led Tech with 16 points, and Stephens added 10 more off the bench.

Gregory continued to search for lineup combinations in the backcourt, however, where five Jackets combined for 11 points on 3-of-17 shooting.

There was no getting around the gravity of the turnovers.

The Panthers scored 14 points off Tech’s 15 TOs, including seven points of the Jackets’ final seven miscues, and Tech scored but two off Pitt’s six turnovers.

Tech got off 16 shots on 21 possessions after Stephens gave the Jackets that 49-45 lead, making six.

“I thought we competed. We played with the toughness you need to play with on the road,” Gregory said. “Like I always said, you’ve got to be the ball up on the rim . . . At times, unfortunately, we can’t keep making those mistakes . . . One or two were kind of unforced.”

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