Reviewing Georgia Tech’s loss to Duke

Duke guard Grayson Allen (3) drives between Georgia Tech's Quinton Stephens (12) and Tadric Jackson (1)in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, in Atlanta. Duke won 80-71. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Duke guard Grayson Allen (3) drives between Georgia Tech’s Quinton Stephens (12) and Tadric Jackson (1)in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, in Atlanta. Duke won 80-71. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

A look back at Georgia Tech’s 80-71 loss to Duke Tuesday night at McCamish Pavilion. (5 observations here)

3 thoughts

Bad loss

Given the combination of what was available to take and how the team played, I think you could make a good case this was the worst loss of the season. Even despite having six players in its rotation, Duke is a good team, and the Blue Devils had the best player on the floor, guard Grayson Allen, near the top of his game. But it was a game Tech had the assets to win the game – the Jackets were up seven in the first half – yet found itself down 17 points in the second half due to a string of poorly run possessions, a failure to handle business in transition defense and Allen asserting himself.

“We just didn’t have an answer for Grayson Allen in the second half,” coach Brian Gregory said. “He really hurt us with jump shots (and) getting to the basket.”

The Jackets had a chance to gain a win over the hated (if vulnerable) Blue Devils and to gain some confidence going into the second half of the ACC schedule, starting with a home game Sunday with Miami and tossed another win onto the Jackets’ lonely pile of conference victories. Instead, Tech was shredded in the second half in front of a crowd that, while full of Duke fans, was ready to push the Jackets to victory.

“Coach (Brian Gregory) talked about grit, grinding it out towards the end of the game,” forward Nick Jacobs said. “For 20 minutes in the second half, that’s something we have trouble doing.”

Exploiting Duke’s ineffective zone in the first half, Tech shot 58.1 percent in taking a 40-36 lead but dropped to 31 percent in the second when the Blue Devils junked the zone for their man to man and the Jackets started to rush shots and settle for jumpers. Duke, meanwhile, shot 41.4 percent in the first half but then kicked it up to 55.2 percent in the second half as Allen heated up and Duke’s transition game created numerous open looks. An 18-2 run by Duke midway through the second half turned the game from a one-point contest into a runaway.

Easier schedule still not so easy

The Jackets are now halfway through the ACC season at 2-7. The overall record is 12-10. The second half of the schedule is decidedly easier than the first. The average RPI ranking for the teams in the first half of the schedule is 43.7 and the average for the second half is 66.6. Take out the Virginia Tech game out of the first half and the average drops to 33.1. Still, it’s not like the schedule beckons like a field of daisies.

Miami (RPI: No. 17), which obliterated the same Duke team that took down Tech Tuesday night, comes in Sunday. Pittsburgh (30) and Notre Dame (35) will also come to McCamish Pavilion. The second-to-last game of the regular season is at Louisville (No. 18).

Georges-Hunt hobbled

Tech got a bad break when guard Marcus Georges-Hunt was fouled hard by Duke center Marshall Plumlee less than a minute into the game.

“After I took the fall, it kind of slowed me down a lot because my tailbone started hurting,” Georges-Hunt said. “I was struggling to make cuts and stuff like that.”

Georges-Hunt began looking to set up teammates and finished with a career-high seven assists. But, his hampered movement likely affected his ability to defend Allen (who scored 27 points) and limited his ability to do what he does well, go to the basket and draw fouls. He was 3-for-9 for 10 points and made three or four free throws.

3 quotes

“The last 10 minutes of the game was just atrocious. It was really not Georgia Tech basketball.” – Jacobs

“So we need to get some more basketball out of some other guys. We’ve got some guys that need to really kind of turn it around a little bit as we get to these next few home games.” – Gregory

“Monday night, we are on the way to the airport, getting ready to fly here and Coach (Mike Krzyzewski wasn’t feeling well and so the doctors made the decision that he wasn’t going to make the trip. And then this morning is when we found out that he wasn’t going to make the trip at all, that he wasn’t going to be here. … The thing we talked about is, like, look, we’re prepared. He has us prepared because we were able to go through preparation. We started our preparation for Georgia Tech on Saturday, and we were able to go through that, and so we were ready to go.” – Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel, on Krzyzewski’s absence due to an illness Monday

Stat to note

Guard Tadric Jackson was 6-for-7 from inside 3-point range 0-for-6 beyond it.

Tech was handled fairly easily despite winning two of the categories in particularly because it shot the ball so poorly. The Jackets were 31-for-73 from the field and 2-for-19 from 3-point range. Duke took 15 fewer shots (58), but was 28-for-58 and cashed in from 3-point range. Allen was 7-for-10 from 3-point range, a career high.

Tech was also entirely ineffective at getting to the line. The .151 rate was by far the lowest of the ACC season. Tech had been averaging .313 free throws per field-goal attempt going into the game.

Four factors

A look at four critical statistical categories from the game. More information here.

Category GT DU
eFG 43.8 57.8
TO 8.6 14.5
OReb 31.8 27.2
FT/FG .151 .310

Tech was handled fairly easily despite winning two of the categories in particularly because it shot the ball so poorly. The Jackets were 31-for-73 from the field and 2-for-19 from 3-point range. Duke took 15 fewer shots (58), but was 28-for-58 and cashed in from 3-point range. Allen was 7-for-10 from 3-point range, a career high.

Tech was also entirely ineffective at getting to the line. The .151 rate was by far the lowest of the ACC season. Tech had been averaging .313 free throws per field-goal attempt going into the game.

 

At the game

There were a remarkable number of Tech greats in attendance, starting with Calvin Johnson, Stewart CInk and Mark Teixeira. That’s not a bad trio, particularly given the recent reports that Johnson has told the Detroit Lions that he is retiring.

Also at the game: Dennis Scott, Roddy Jones and Isaiah Johnson.

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