ACC Basketball

Hanlan Leads Eagles into Second Round

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

You know, I don’t think Georgia Tech’s head coach Brian Gregory should loss his job because his team lost 12 of their ACC games by a total of 47 points. However, I’m starting to think he should be fired for letting Olivier Hanlan have such an easy look at a game-winning basket.

After Tadric Jackson hit a nice running jumper to put the Yellow Jackets back up 65-64 with 28 seconds left, Gregory called timeout, so we all assumed he had plan. He inserted Robert Sampson back in for defense, which is smart because his size could give Hanlan problems in a double team.

Hanlan didn’t get his hands on the ball until they crossed half court with 20 seconds to go. This was a perfect time for a trap and get the ball out of the hands of the most lethal scorer on the floor. Yet, no trap. Instead, the Eagles set up the high screen and Robert Sampson switched onto Hanlan (a first for the game) as he simply took the ball to the right side, gave a little shoulder shimmy and had a clean look on the right baseline. Bucket in. A moment later Corey Heyward, who had taken all of 11 shots prior to this game, missed a layup as time expired.

The game was fantastic, as both teams relied on their strengths. Boston College put their faith in Hanlan, who took 19 of his team’s 47 shots, finishing with 25. They also relied on the deep ball, as Patrick Heckmann had arguable his best game of the season with 19 points and Dimitri Batten nailed a pair of threes, helping to overcome Aaron Brown’s worst game of the year (1-for-7 from the floor).

Meanwhile, freshman Tadric Jackson led Georgia Tech in scoring with 16, but the Yellow Jackets stayed in the game thanks to their inside presence. Charles Mitchell and Demarco Cox combined for 23 points, while Sampson chipped in 12. However, the reason why they could overcome Quinton Stephens shooting 0-9 from three was by doing their damage on the glass, as they pulled down 19 offensive rebounds (51% of their misses). They outscored the Eagles 26-7 in second chance points and it was that last second chance point that allowed Sampson to hit a three with 1:54 on the clock, giving Georgia Tech a 63-57 lead.

Ball game, right? Um, no…this was the Yellow Jackets, the masters of losing close games. First came a pair of free throws by Hanlan, followed by a stupid foul on a three-point play by Josh Heath. Patrick Heckmann hit all three, getting B.C. back to within one.

On Tech’s next possession, Travis Jorgenson missed a layup, but Demarco Cox pulled down that final offensive rebound. A huge grab as his team could waste away a ton of the game’s final 48 seconds. Yet, the senior, for reasons we’ll never know, jumped in the air and threw the ball right to the Eagles’ Dimitri Batten, who handed it to Hanlan, who gave Boston College the lead.

Next, Jackson would hit his runner and Hanlan would follow with his game winner, as the Eagles won it by scoring nine of the last 11 points in the game.

The Yellow Jackets finished the season 12-19 and will say goodbye to Demarco Cox and Robert Sampson. Boston College, who once sat at 1-14 in conference play, has now won four straight and gets to face North Carolina with a man down (Kennedy Meeks is out).

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