ACC Basketball

Yellow Jackets win, despite best effort not to

With 5:30 left to go in the second half, not only did I know Georgia Tech was going to beat Boston College, I was already starting to figure out how I was going to convince you that the Yellow Jackets were going to upset the Clemson Tigers Thursday night. The fact was, the Eagles looked bored, their heads already back in Boston wondering who their next coach would be once Steve Donahue got fired. Robert Carter Jr would hit two free throws at the five-minute mark and increase the lead to 61-49. Ballgame.

But then something happened…that something was Patrick Heckmann.

While everyone other Boston College player looked ready to surrender, the B.C. reserve put the team on his shoulders and rallied, first by hitting a couple threes and then attacking the rim (Ryan Anderson’s suddenly owning the glass didn’t hurt either). The Eagles went on a 13-1 run to end the game and force overtime and it mostly had to do with Heckmann.

After scoring just two points in the first half, the junior dug in deep and summoned his inner-Marcus Paige, scoring 19 points in the second half and overtime. The Eagles could have won the game at the end, but Olivier Hanlan, an 82% free throw shooter, missed one of two free throws in the final seconds.

Now prior to that run, Georgia Tech had been struggling to hit shots; both teams were. In fact, six minutes into the game, the two teams combined for just six points. However, starting late in the first half and continuing into the second, Robert Carter Jr. took over, especially on the glass. He would finish the game with 20 points and 13 boards, four of which were offensive. When the Jackets had that 12-point lead with five and a half minutes to go, they had 13 offensive rebounds to the Eagles’ two.

However, at the five-minute mark, Georgia Tech nearly called it a night. They stopped grabbing offensive boards, which was only a big deal because starting at that point and deep into overtime, they would end up going over nine minutes without hitting a shot. Now normally I try not to make a big deal out of long streaks with no buckets only because the number can be deceiving. If a team is getting to the line, then who cares how they’re scoring, as long as they’re leaving that side of the floor with points.

During that nine-minute cold stretch, the Yellow Jackets got 15 possessions and produced 7 points (all from the line). That’s not impressive and it nearly cost them the game. Luckily for them, B.C. also froze up from the field in overtime, hitting just one shot before a last second unguarded three by Joe Rahon.

Whether they deserve it or not, Georgia Tech advances to the second round where they will face (6) Clemson Thursday night.

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