The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets had their spirits crushed after a buzzer-beater from Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Yellow Jackets 62-61 in overtime, in a back and forth nailbiter. Arkansas remains unbeaten on the year at 6-0, while Georgia Tech falls to 2-2. Despite being ineligible for any postseason play the Yellow Jackets have much to be hopeful for this season.
“Both teams played extremely hard and left it all on the floor… it came down to the last shot, and as we know in basketball, sometimes the ball bounces your way, or it doesn’t, and tonight it didn’t bounce our way,” Head Coach Josh Pastner said.
So what went well, and what can Coach Pastner and his men look to improve upon to ensure a solid season.
Let’s start with the positives.
The team’s defense was electrifying and solid throughout the game. Despite giving up a blank amount of points, they looked legit and provided the team a spark when they needed it. They opened up in an aggressive zone, emphasizing quick switches and trapping the ball. This high-pressure defense, forced the Razorbacks into many poor forced shots, twice going three minutes without scoring.
In addition, the defense was able to force 14 turnovers, which resulted in many crucial runs to keep the game close. If the Yellow Jackets are able to keep this high tempo defense up for the whole season, it will be interesting to see how they fare against teams such as Duke or North Carolina, who score the ball relentlessly.
James Banks III
James Banks III had himself a game. The senior center provided the scoring, the team so desperately sought. Banks finished with 20 points on 6-10 shooting, and added 13 rebounds to solidify a double-double. Banks did an amazing job utilizing the obvious size difference between the Razorback big men and himself. It’s obviously going forward Banks needs to continue to play at a high level, for the Yellow Jackets to see success.
“My mindset is just like every game, every time I come in I just try and make an impact and play with high energy,” Banks said.
Georgia Tech had many mistakes tonight, that caused them to be in a deficit for most of the night, so what negatives can the Yellow Jackets take away and look to improve.
The turnovers were the story of the game. The Yellow Jackets finished the game with 23 turnovers. The first half they had 12 It was apparent the effect it had on the offense, halting any potential runs and keeping the offense at bay. The team was very sloppy passing the ball, the majority of the turnovers coming from poor passes into the paint and sloppy transition passing.
This is something the team needs to limit in the future, especially entering conference play, in a conference with 4 teams in the top 10.
“The biggest thing, in the end, were the turnovers, we had some turnovers on the fast breaks… the turnovers bit us in the rear tonight,” Pastner said.
In addition to the high amount of turnovers, the offensive fouls began to add up for the Yellow Jackets. The great offensive play was halted due to poor execution. Many times the guards drove into the paint shoulders down, barreling into the Razorback defenders. One specific run saw the Yellow Jackets get back to back charge calls, a turnover, and another offensive foul in four straight possessions.
Back up Guards
Junior Guard Jose Alvardo was out Monday night nursing an ankle injury. Coach Pastner looked to Bubba Parham and Michael Devoe to fill the void. Unfortunately, the guards struggled on the offensive end. Parham, despite having 10 points, finished with a team-high 6 turnovers. Devoe added 12 points, but shot 4-16 and fouled out. With Alvarado out for a couple more games, it will be crucial for these two men to step up and provide that perimeter offensive threat, the offense needs.
“Especially with [Parham] and [Devoe] in a game like this, a lot is being put on them, and you’re asking them to score as well,” Pastner said.
Coach Pastner and his men will look to forget this one fast, as they near ACC conference play. The Yellow Jackets will host the Bethune Cookman Wildcats December 1st, in a must-win tune-up game.