Jackets break streak, topple No. 5 Louisville

Photo courtesy of James Karsten Messer

The Men’s basketball team scored a big win last Wednesday against the No. 5 Louisville Cardinals. The final score was 64-58 . This game showcased the potential of Tech’s talent, which Jackets fans hope continues throughout the rest of the season. The starting lineup (Jose Alvarado, Michael Devoe, Jordan Usher, Moses Wright and James Banks) all scored in the double digits for the first time this season. More importantly, this game broke an incredible 25-game losing streak against top 25 teams. The last time the fast-improving Jackets beat a top-five team was Jan. 9th, 2016 against University of Virginia. This game could create the momentum needed for Tech to be successful this March at the NCAA tournament.  

The Jackets were relentless in their pursuit of this win, staying in lead the entire game. The largest lead was seven minutes into the game at 12 points, and the score at the half was 31-26, with Tech still in the lead. The Cardinals closed in on the Jackets at the end but were unable to pull ahead for the win. The score was 59-58 Tech, with 18 seconds left in the game. Although a tense moment, the Jackets went on to score six unanswered points to solidify their win in the last few seconds. 

Junior guard from Brooklyn, Alvarado was the lead scorer with 18 points during the game. He can be credited with the MVP of the game, scoring four free throws at the end of the game to win it and scoring the most points. Georgia Tech made 44% of field goals, 29% of three pointers, and 71% of free throws. In addition, the Jackets had seven offensive rebounds, 12 assists, 22 fouls, nine steals and four blocks. The Jackets’ record now stands at 12-13.

Tech beat the odds in this game after ESPN predicted 80% chance the Jackets would lose. If you were to bet $100 on the six-point predicted spread for Tech on a bookie website called Bovada last Wednesday, you would have won $190. In addition to the Louisville fans who bet on their team, this loss has impacted the Cardinal’s season in more ways than one. This game ended their 10-game winning streak and must have shaken their confidence enough to lose to unranked Clemson on Saturday Feb. 15.

Head Coach John Pastner was happy about the team’s win but was not surprised citing the confidence he has in the team’s ability. In a post match interview, he said it was a “great win against a great team that’s good enough to win a National Championship.” 

Pastner believes the team experienced tremendous growth in skill this season and said “if you look where we were in November and December to where we are now it’s night and day. It’s not even the same team.” Although Pastner said the current record does not reflect the improvement, he expects the team to hit a groove and showcase their talent in upcoming games.

The student section also had plenty to say about what they thought about the game. Jake Grant, a loyal tech basketball fan, talked about the energy in the student section that night. 

“The energy was good, and the last 20 seconds had me screaming,” he explained. “In fact, I’m just now recovering my voice four days later. I also made it on the Jumbotron one time. Good thing I did my hair that day.” 

As someone in Wreck Club, Grant encourages everyone to come out to support the Jackets and explains how nice of a break it can be from the routine of school work. 

Some fans were a little too excited. First-year Leighton Cohen was so happy about the win that he decided to storm the court. Unfortunately for him, his peers could not break past the security guard, and he was escorted off the court. 

The Jackets have a busy schedule ahead of them taking on Syracuse on Feb. 22, Clemson Feb. 25 and Miami Feb. 29 at McCamish Pavillion.