Jackets drop two conference games

After two losses to N.C. State and Wake Forest, the Jackets suffered from two more losses this past week against Virginia Tech and Clemson, dropping to 2-11 in conference play and 9-18 overall.  The losses put Georgia Tech at the bottom of the ACC, behind Boston College, who the Jackets beat earlier in the season for one of their two conference wins.

Georgia Tech traveled to Blacksburg, Va., on Saturday, Feb. 18, to play the Virginia Tech Hokies.  Sophomore forward Kammeon Holsey and sophomore guard Brandon Reed helped to give the Jackets a 5-0 lead before Virginia Tech was able to score three minutes into the game.  Although the Hokies tied the score up three times, the Jackets were able to hold on to the lead for the first 10 minutes of the first period.

With 8:24 left in the first half, a couple of jumpers by Virginia Tech’s Erick Green gave the Hokies the lead with a score of 20-17.  Georgia Tech continued to try to keep pace with the Hokies, but two three-pointers put the Hokies ahead by 5 with 6:57 to play in the first half.  Holsey scored two layups to give Georgia Tech the lead, and Reed added another to end the half with the Jackets leading 31-28. The Jackets closed out the finals minutes of the half on a 10-2 run.

Georgia Tech had better shooting percentages for the first half from all over the court, scoring 18 points in the paint while the Hokies only had six. Holsey was the leading scorer for Georgia Tech scoring 10 points in the first half. Holsey finished the game with 18 points.

Sophomore center Daniel Miller came out strong for Georgia Tech with a dunk just 46 seconds into the second half. The second half began much quicker than the first, with each team scoring 10 points in under five minutes.  The Jackets were able to hold the lead through the first eight minutes of the final period, until a three-pointer by Marquis Rankin put Virginia Tech ahead 48-45.

Freshman forward Julian Royal came in off the bench and sunk a three-pointer to tie the game up for the Jackets with nine minutes left to play.  The score was tied three more times before regulation ended and went into overtime with a score of 65-65.

A five-minute overtime period followed, and Virginia Tech came out strong with a three-pointer to take an early lead. The lead changed two times before the score was tied at 71-71 with 33 seconds left to play.

After using the majority of the clock, a jumper by Mfon Udofia put the Jackets in the lead by two with five seconds remaining. However, the lead would not hold as Virginia Tech’s Dorenzo Hudson hit a three-pointer while falling over as the clock ran out, giving the Jackets a heart breaking loss on the road.

The Jackets then returned home to Philips Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 21, to face the Clemson Tigers. The Jackets struggled to get any offensive momentum, falling to the Tigers 56-37.  Georgia Tech played Clemson on the road earlier in the season and lost 64-62, a matchup they could not replicate with leading scorer Glen Rice. Jr. out of the game due to suspension.

Miller and Reed scored the first baskets of the half, giving Georgia Tech its only lead of the game.  Clemson took over with 15:34 remaining in the first half after three-pointers by Milton Jennings and Andre Young.  The score remained close for the first 13 minutes of the game, but another three-pointer by Milton Jennings helped the Tigers to break away with a 22-19 lead.

Clemson opened up their biggest lead of the first half when they went up 11 points with 1:34 left to play. Eventually, the Tigers went into the locker room up nine points with a 27-18 lead.

Clemson came out strong for the second period.  The Tigers went on a four minute, 10-point run and pulled ahead of the Jackets by 20 points.  A three-point shot by Reed with 6:18 left to play left the Jackets down by 16, the smallest deficit in the final 14 minutes of the game.

Clemson went 0-5 on three-point attempts in the second half, but was able to score 18 points in the paint to maintain the lead.  Georgia Tech only scored five more points before the clock ran out, and was losing by 21 with 2:02 left to play.  The last basket of the game was a layup by Royal for Georgia Tech with 1:31, giving Clemson a 56-37 victory.

Both teams had poor shooting averages for the game and shot under 50 percent through the whole game.  Georgia Tech had 18 turnovers for the game, while Clemson had 13.

Georgia Tech has another home game this Saturday, Feb. 25, at Philips Arena against the Maryland Terrapins at 2:30 p.m.  Maryland defeated the Jackets earlier this season 61-50 when Georgia Tech traveled to the Comcast Center in College Park, Md.