In the second game of a tough homestand, the No. 19 Jackets were unable to hold up a halftime lead and fell 64-50 against No. 8 Duke on Friday, Feb. 19. Tech rebounded, though, holding on for a close win at Miami, 77-73, on Sunday, Feb. 21.
Tech now stands at 21-7 overall and 7-5 in ACC play.
Friday’s game, Tech’s second straight contest against a top-10 team, served as Tech’s annual “Pink Zone” game. The Jackets wore pink jerseys in honor of breast cancer awareness, and the team sold apparel during the game to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
As the game began, Duke jumped ahead early. Senior point guard Jasmine Thomas scored 10 of Duke’s first 15 points as the Blue Devils pulled ahead 15-5 with 9:31 left in the first half.
The Jackets simply could not hit anything from the field during that stretch. Tech hit just two of 18 attempts from the field as Duke built the 10-point lead.
Tech quickly swung the momentum in their favor after that, locking down on defense to hold the Blue Devils scoreless for six-plus minutes. Tech, meanwhile, scored 13 straight points to take an 18-15 lead.
The final few minutes saw little scoring, and the Jackets led 21-20 at halftime of the defensive struggle. It marked the first time Duke had been trailing at the half in ACC play.
“In the first half, I thought defensively we did just about as good a job as we could possibly do,” said Head Coach MaChelle Joseph.
After the break, Duke broke an 11-2 run to take a 31-23 lead. Tech battled back to pull ahead 38-37, but a 14-2 run put Duke in control for the remainder of the game.
Tech committed 17 second-half turnovers, and Duke went on to win 64-50.
“I was very disappointed in our effort in the second half…I felt like when they delivered a blow, we didn’t punch back,” Joseph said.
It marked Tech’s second straight loss to a top-10 team after the Feb. 15 loss to Florida State.
It’s not about what happens to us—it’s how we respond to it…You’ve got to play 40 minutes, and 20 minutes isn’t going to beat a top-10 team,” Joseph said.
Foster led the Jackets with 15 points. Ardossi had 14 points and tied with sophomore center Sasha Goodlett for the team lead with eight rebounds.
Thomas led Duke with 20 points on nine-for-14 shooting.
Tech traveled to Miami on Sunday, Feb. 21 and held on for a victory despite a strong effort from the Hurricanes, who fell to 3-9 in ACC play.
This time it was the Jackets who got off to a 15-5 run to open the game. Miami rallied, though, and forward Shenise Johnson led the way as the Hurricanes closed to within one at halftime, with Tech up 35-34.
Miami pulled ahead and led 53-47 with 14:27 to go, but Foster and Ardossi keyed a 13-0 Tech run to retake the lead.
With 2:48 to go, Tech’s lead had ballooned to nine, but Miami ran off a 9-0 run to tie the game at 73 with 49 seconds left.
Tech held on, though, forcing two Miami turnovers in key situations at the end. Ardossi and Foster combined to hit four free throws to seal the 77-73 road victory, their eighth of the season.
The Jackets will host No. 20 North Carolina on Friday, Feb. 26 for Senior Night. Tech will honor its two seniors, Ardossi and center Tiffany Blackmon.