The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets faced off against the Virginia Tech Hokies Tuesday night. The Yellow Jackets took care of business from the first tip to the final buzzer, defeating the Hokies 76-57. With this win, Georgia Tech improves to 11-12 overall and 5-7 in the ACC.
In a crucial game for the Yellow Jackets, what went well for them to ensure this major win?
From the first possession of the game, Jose Alvarado was making sure the Yellow Jackets were going to win this game. Alvarado finished the game with 20 points on 8-14 shooting and 3-6 from the three-ball. The junior guard saw the majority of the points coming from the first half, 19 to be exact. In the first half, the Hokies simply had no answer for Alvarado, who saw bucket after bucket go down and his confidence skyrocket. At its peak, Alvarado pulled out his signature air guitar celebration after yet another three-pointer went down. Besides Alvarado’s obvious impact scoring the ball, it was his ability on both ends of the court which set up most of Georgia Tech’s offense that really stood out. When his shots started not to fall in the second half, it was Alvarado finding the open man, or getting a steal and pushing the fast break. Alvarado finished the game with six assists and two steals.
“It’s basketball, sometimes it goes your way, it went my way in the first half, and I’m just really glad we got this win,” Alvarado said
Apart from the offense, the Yellow Jacket’s defense against Virginia Tech was probably their best of the season. Going into this game, Virginia Tech saw themselves on a three-game losing streak but had wins over teams such as Syracuse, who earlier in the year destroyed Georgia Tech. Despite this, the Yellow Jacket defense held the Hokies to 57 points and a 38% shooting percentage. From the beginning, the Georgia Tech defense was high tempo, forcing Virginia Tech into a plethora of bad possessions. Virginia Tech’s star forward Landers Nolley II came into this game in many NBA mock drafts due to his high-level production this season. Georgia Tech shut him down from the beginning, holding him to 10 points on 4-14 shooting.
At the half, the Hokies had a measly 18 points, which pretty much sealed the game for the Yellow Jackets right then and there. In addition to the poor shooting, the Yellow Jackets forced ten turnovers, which would stunt any little spark the Hokie offense produced.
“I thought we guarded well, we’ve been a good defensive team. I thought we were proactive,” Head Coach Josh Pastner said.
Alvarado was the stand out for the offense Tuesday night, but overall the Yellow Jacket offense was very efficient. Eight players found themselves on the scoring sheet, Michael Devoe (in his first game back from injury) scored 12, Moses Wright added 14 and off the bench, Bubba Parham scored 10 points. Every player that touched the court made a positive impact for Coach Pastner. Overall the team shot 52.7% from the field, and at its peak, saw Georgia Tech lead by 30 points.
“It was a great team win for all of us, a lot of guys got to play today, a lot of guys were in the scoring column,” Devoe said.
With this win, Georgia Tech creeps ever so slightly up the ACC rankings. As the ACC play gets closer and closer to concluding, Georgia Tech needs to keep all three of these elements at the high level that was shown against Virginia Tech. If the Yellow Jackets can keep this up, it’s safe to say they will not be a desired opponent by any team going into the ACC Tournament, and could potentially make a cinderella run at punching their ticket to March Madness
Georgia Tech travels away to face the Pittsburgh Panthers (14-8 overall, 5-6 ACC) on Saturday, Feb. 8th. This is a crucial game for the Yellow Jackets as a win would propel them on a two-game win streak heading into a home affair with the Louisville Cardinals (19-3 overall, 10-1 ACC).