Men’s basketball wins 2 of 3

On Nov. 12, Tech defeated the Charleston Southern Buccaneers 52-39 to kick off the season, but in its next game, Tech went on the road and got upset by the Kennesaw State Owls, 80-63. Tech rebounded in its third game of the season on Nov. 17 to beat Albany, 78-51.
The game against Charleston Southern turned out to be much closer than expected as Tech had to hold off a late run by the Buccaneers to come out with the victory. While the game may have been close at times, fans had to watch a low-scoring game that featured poor shooting by both squads as the Buccaneers shot 27 percent from the field and the Jackets shot 29 percent.
Tech opened the game strong as they cruised to a 10-0 lead after four minutes of play. During this run, Tech was able to capitalize on some steals from its full-court press and quickly move the ball up the court in its up-tempo offense. Freshman center Daniel Miller got the fans cheering in the game with a highlight block on a Charleston Southern dunk attempt.
In the next few minutes Tech started to struggle shooting the ball and misfired on many close jumpers and open three-pointers. Charleston Southern was able to take advantage of Tech’s poor shooting and cut the deficit to 16-9 with 11 minutes to play in the half.
For the remainder of the half, Tech maintained a six to 10 point lead as they continued to try to push the ball up the court whenever possible. The team was successful in moving the ball up the court, but most of the time it failed to score points on its fast-break opportunities. On many possessions, Tech slowed down the offense and ended up forcing a long three-pointer at the end of the shot clock, and Tech went into the half up 23-13.
Just like the first half, Tech gained some momentum and went on a run early in the second half. After only making one-of-13 three-pointers in the opening half, Tech capitalized on its early three-point attempts. Sophomore forward Brian Oliver hit two quick threes, and sophomore guard Mfon Udofia scored on a fast-break lay-up to make the score 31-13 after only a minute and a half of play.
Even with continued poor shooting, Tech was able to maintain a 15 to 20 point lead for the majority of the second half. Freshman forward Jason Morris threw down an alley-oop in the middle of the half that elicited an excited reaction from the fans. Several minutes later, Miller came up with another key block that kept the momentum in Tech’s favor.
With about five minutes left in the game, Charleston Southern came back in the game due to Tech’s sloppy play. The team missed several open lay-ups and threw up some wild alley-oop attempts that resulted in turnovers.
With three and a half minutes left in the half, Charleston Southern cut the lead down to nine and pressed Tech after every made basket. Then, with just under a minute left, junior guard Iman Shumpert gave a great dish to Miller to bring the score to 50-39 and seal the win.
On Nov. 15, the Jackets traveled to Kennesaw State for their second game of the season.
Tech continued to show the same weaknesses that hurt them in the Charleston Southern game. KSU built a 20-point lead in the first half, and Tech could never quite recover from this deficit.
Tech committed two turnovers in the first minute, and KSU was able to jump out to an early 7-0 lead. This quick start allowed the KSU fans to get into the game as the momentum was overwhelmingly in KSU’s favor.
Three-point shooting turned out to be key throughout the first half. Tech missed all six of its attempts while the Owls knocked down six of their 14 attempts. To compensate for its cold shooting, Tech looked to drive to the basket and made eight out of 10 free throws.
With six minutes left in the half, KSU went on an 11-0 run to give the team a 36-16 lead with four and a half minutes left in the half. During this stretch, Tech committed three crucial turnovers that all led to made lay-ups by KSU. After a timeout, Tech started to settle down and went into halftime down 41-26.
Tech started the second half on a roll and cut the lead to 41-31 in only 52 seconds after two free throws by Shumpert and a three-pointer by Oliver. Tech improved its three-point shooting in the second half and made four of eight attempts. For most of the first 10 minutes of the half, Tech kept the lead at or below 10 points.
Besides three-pointers, for the most part, Tech still shot poorly from the field. Just as in the first half, the team had to rely on getting points at the foul line.
In the last four minutes of the half, Tech reverted back to its play in the first half. Tech missed many close shots, committed turnovers, and did not box out well. KSU’s Markeith Cummings made some acrobatic lay-ups to excite the crowd, but KSU’s player of the game was Spencer Dixon, who finished with 27 points on eight for 17 shooting. KSU completed the win with a score of 80-63, which was KSU’s first ever win against a major conference team.
On Wednesday, Nov. 17, Tech came back home to face off against Albany and won the game in a rout, 78-51.
Oliver made a mid-range jump shot in the first 20 seconds of the game to give the Jackets an early 2-0 lead.
The next few minutes were dominated by Miller. Tech’s center made one of two free throws, blocked a shot, got a steal and then made a short-range jump shot to give Tech a 5-2 lead.
Later in the half and up seven points, freshman forward Kammeon Holsey stole the ball and dished it to Shumpert who promptly drained a three-pointer. That prompted a timeout from Albany, but the stoppage in the game did not stop the Jackets. Freshman forward Jason Morris made a shot to give Tech the lead at 21-9.
Shumpert made four straight shots later in the first half, including a dunk and three-pointer, to give Tech a 22-point cushion. The Jackets extended the lead to 30 by halftime.
Shumpert made back-to-back jump shots to open the second half, but Albany responded with two three-pointers.
With 14:38 left in the game, Shumpert had another dunk, and on the next defensive possession, he pulled down a rebound. Next time up the court, Shumpert found an open Oliver outside of the three-point line. Oliver knocked down the shot and gave Tech a sizable lead at 60-27.
As the game winded down, Miller and Morris exchanged shots to further extend Tech’s lead. Shumpert finished the game with a team-high 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
Udofia and Miller also helped carry the scoring load for the game as both players had 10 points.
A big key for the Jackets was the lack of turnovers compared to their two previous game. Tech only had 10 turnovers, but forced and created turnovers, making Albany commit 25.
Tech next hosts Niagara on Friday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

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