Tech lost to UGA in a road matchup earlier this month, 79-72.
The Jackets came into Athens last Wednesday night looking to exorcize an 11-game losing streak at Stegeman Coliseum. Their last victory there was in Nov. 1976. Tech’s record was 7-6 heading into the road game, a less than ideal start for a team that has aspirations of returning to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five seasons.
Unfortunately, missed opportunities and timely three point baskets down the stretch helped the Bulldogs beat Tech for the 12th straight time at Stegeman.
During the first half, the team struggled to find an offensive rhythm and had difficulty hitting shots from inside the paint. Their main problem was that they were unable to make many of their free throws.
“Free throw shooting certainly hurt us tonight [as well as] untimely turnovers that led to easy baskets,” said Head Coach Paul Hewitt.
The Jackets were able to overcome a 12-point first half deficit and come back to tie the game at 51 a piece with over 10 minutes remaining in the second half.
Still, Tech played sluggishly and allowed the Bulldogs to rebuild their lead and come back to win the game. Their closest opportunity was when it was 68-66 with a little over two minutes remaining in the game. Jeremis Smith was fouled and went to the line. He missed both of his free throw shots and UGA took the ball back and closed out the game on an 11-6 run.
Neither team was able to consistently hit free throws in the first half, but UGA hit them more often in the second half. Tech finished the game 19-35 from the line, their worst showing at the charity stripe all season.
“We had some opportunities and didn’t take advantage of them,” Hewitt said.
While the game was particularly low scoring and saw both defenses shine, offensive woes was more of the reason for both teams struggles. The teams had 15 turnovers a piece and frequently botched their passes and created opportunities for their opponents to score.
Moe Miller led Tech scorers with 15 points. Though his team mates struggled at the line, he was still able to knock down nine-of-12 free throws.
Jeremis Smith added 10 rebounds and seven points, but turned the ball over five times. Anthony Morrow added 14 points and Lewis Clinch scored 11.
UGA’s Billy Humphrey led his team and scored 23 points. He was one of three to reach double figures, with Sundiata Gaines getting 16 points and Corey Butler coming off the bench and adding 11 points.
“There were no surprises here, They did what we expected and we just didn’t defend them well enough,” Hewitt said.
Tech fell to 7-7 and closed out their non-ACC schedule except for a game against UConn on Feb. 9.