ACC Basketball

Yellow Jackets Blow Another One

Photo: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

WHAT JUST HAPPENED:
With the Louisville Cardinals struggling to produce points without senior Chris Jones, Georgia Tech took advantage,  holding a five-to-seven point lead for most of the first 20 minutes, as six different Yellow Jackets scored in the half. The Cardinals managed just 17 points, hitting under 25% of their shots before intermission for the second straight game.

In the second, the game looked like it was going to turn into something ugly for Rick Pitino’s squad. After a seventh dunk of the night, the Yellow Jackets opened up a 13-point lead. Yet, behind Terry Rozier, the Cardinals stage a stunning comeback, scoring 24 of the next 31 points, pulling out a one-point victory on the road.

FOUR DEEP THOUGHTS:

  • Louisville didn’t lose, so in the end, there is little to complain about. Yet, there were some issues. Replacing Chris Jones, Quentin Snider scored six first half points, but didn’t really offer much in the second half. Granted, it has to be tough to be a sub who plays little, to suddenly playing 36 minutes a night. However, defensively he struggled in the half court set, unable to keep the Tech guards out of the paint. Secondly, where were the shot blockers on this club? I mean, the Yellow Jackets owned the rim for 30 minutes Monday night.
  • Hello Terry Rozier. Where have you been? At the half, the Cardinals guard was 1-8 from the floor, making him just 24 out of his last 84 shots. In the second, he did manage to hit a couple, missing a pair of jumpers as well, but it was he who sparked this rally, hitting a three at the 7:58 mark, then after a Montrezl Harrell basket in the post and a three by Wayne Blackshear, Rozier would hit another one from behind the arc. Then in the final seconds, he made the clutch lay in after Tech had tied it at 48, even as his coached yelled for him to slow it down. Instead, he decided to win it right there.
  • Let’s talk about the importance of playing smart. In my eyes, the rally didn’t really start with the Terry Rozier trey, it started with the previous Georgia Tech possession. Up 13, the Yellow Jackets were flying high. They were getting into the paint, making plays and producing multiple Sportscenter worthy dunks. Yet, Marcus Georges-Hunt went for another home run when he threw up an alley-oop for Robert Sampson. The ball instead flew into the stands, turnover. From that moment on, Tech just couldn’t get into their offense, instead dribbling or passing the ball around the arc until the shot clock got down to about ten and then someone would throw up and miss a three or drive into traffic and throw it off Charles Mitchell’s knee.
  • Let’s just revisit those final moments for Georgia Tech. First, Georges-Hunt dribbling the ball off his foot. Wow. Next possession, a deep three missed from Tadric Jackson (he’s made six 3s in ACC play). Thankfully, the Cardinals couldn’t make a free throw and MGH was able to drive it down for a game-tying lay up (and might have been fouled in the process, but wasn’t called). Yet, everyone forgot about Terry Rozier, who scored seven seconds later. Next possession, yep…Marcus Georges-Hunt dribbles into traffic, loses the ball, turnover. Yet, still not done. Down two with eight seconds to go, Travis Jorgenson got through the defense and goes up against Chianu Onuaku, i.e. a shot blocker. Onuaku leaves Charles Mitchell. He’s alone, under the basket, all we need is a little curl pass, the game is tied on a dunk. Instead, Jorgenson goes for the win, shot blocked…game over, seventh one possession loss in the ACC by Georgia Tech.

RANDOM NOT-SO-DEEP THOUGHTS

  • Louisville’s Anas Mahmoud and David Levitch’s combined weight: 86 pounds.
  • Combined, the Cardinals and Yellow Jackets hit just 6-27 from three. Before the Louisville rally, that number was 0-18.
  • Pathetic showing by the Georgia Tech faithful and props got to the Louisville fans for traveling six hours via bus to the game. I can’t recall ever hearing the arena chanting “defense” as the road team was playing defense.

LOOKING AHEAD:
Louisville escapes for the second straight game, winning their last two by three points. Terry Rozier leads the way with 22, including 18 of the Cardinals 35 second half points. Wayne Blackshear is the only other player on the team to score in double digits, finishing with 10 points, plus eight boards. Harrell struggled inside as Demarco Cox and Charles Mitchell tagged team him all night. He hit just 4-12 from the floor, making no free throws. Louisville improves to 22-6 on the year, 10-5 in the ACC.

Georiga Tech falls to 12-16 on the year, 3-13 in the ACC. 11 of their 13 loses have been by just 39 points. Marcus Georges-Hunt led all Tech players with 13, while Cox had 11 rebounds to go with his 11 points, although only two in the second half.

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