Reviewing Georgia Tech’s win over No. 6 Florida State

Georgia Tech center Ben Lammers gets his hand on the shot of Florida State forward Phil Cofer during the second half of an NCAA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in Atlanta. Georgia Tech won 78-56. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Georgia Tech center Ben Lammers gets his hand on the shot of Florida State forward Phil Cofer during the second half of an NCAA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in Atlanta. Georgia Tech won 78-56. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Reviewing Georgia Tech’s 78-56 win over No. 6 Florida State Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion. You can read the game story here, the “5 things” story here, quotes from Josh Pastner here and Dick Vitale’s tweeted appraisal of the Yellow Jackets here.

Four factors*

4factorsfsu

A few things jump out – Tech’s defensive effective field-goal percentage was its lowest of the ACC schedule (not surprisingly), its free-throw rate was its second highest after the North Carolina game, which is skewed because the Tar Heels fouled heavily in the final minute to try get back in the game, and the offensive rebounding percentage was the second highest of the nine ACC games.
Getting to the free-throw line far more often than the opponent and hammering the offensive glass indicate what you might have seen if you watched the game. Tech was the more aggressive and energetic team, and it showed up in the huge disparity in those numbers. It’s worth noting that Tech’s offensive-rebounding rate was a season-low 7.4 percent against Virginia.

FSU’s effective field-goal rate was the lowest for a Tech opponent in an ACC game this season, and this was against a team that even after Wednesday was 39th in the country at 54.2 percent.

*Four factors follows the idea that the four statistics that most lead to success are effective field-goal percentage (which weights 3-point baskets proportionately), turnover percentage, offensive rebounding percentage and free throws per field-goal attempts.

One thought

What on earth was that?

A 22-point defeat of the No. 6 team in basketball? Holding the team that went into the game leading the ACC in field-goal percentage to 28.2 percent shooting, lower than any Florida State going back at least through the 2010-11 season (according to sports-reference.com, whose data only goes back to that season)?

That was a pretty hard-to-believe night.

I thought Georgia Tech had a chance against Florida State, if only because of the Yellow Jackets’ ability to defend, but I was doubtful, and I certainly could not have envisioned the score being 41-15 at the half. Tech had played 583 regular-season ACC games before Wednesday and had given up fewer points in a half in only one of them, in 2011, and that was against a Wake Forest team that finished 1-15 in the ACC. In the first half, the team that the Jackets limited to 15 points (six baskets in 35 attempts, one a 3-pointer, and two free throws) is one of the most efficient offensive teams in Division I.

Florida State had a difficult time scoring, but the Jackets legitimately played great defense.

“We shot 17 percent in the first half, and I think that’s to their credit,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I know we had some point-blank layups and some open looks that we normally make, but I think that their mixing defenses up made our kids a little tentative, to their credit. You’ve got to give them a lot of praise for coming up with a great game plan, and I thought that we got beat by a team that outplayed us in every phase today.”

Consider this: The last time Tech beat a top-10 opponent by 20 points was in the 1993-94 season, an 89-69 win over No. 1 North Carolina. That was 22 years ago. That’s a long, long wait for a win as convincing over an opponent as estimable as the one the Jackets played Wednesday night.

 Quote of the game

“You always hope, but again, it’s an ACC game. You go in with the confidence knowing that you can win blow a team out by 20, but it doesn’t always happen that way.” – center Ben Lammers, in the understatement of the evening

Stat of the game

With 35 points, guard Josh Okogie became just the third Tech freshman with two games with 30 or more points. The other two – Mark Price and Kenny Anderson.

Let that sink in for a little bit.

Individually speaking

Just about everyone who got minutes played well for Tech in some form or another. Okogie was on a scoring bender, his points coming within the flow of the offense. Of his 10 baskets, seven were off assists. Lammers was on a tear at the start when the Jackets swamped FSU and put a lock on the game.

Despite not scoring, guard Josh Heath had six assists, five rebounds and only one turnover. Guard Corey Heyward, starting his first game since the Georgia game, had six rebounds and five points. Guard Tadric Jackson had six rebounds.

Said coach Josh Pastner of Quinton Stephens, “He had some big 3’s for us, but he played so hard. I mean, the guy gives his body for this team. I mean, literally gives his body for this team.”

The one player who had an off night was guard Justin Moore, who had four turnovers against two assists and was 1-for-4 from the line. He was back on the floor after the game, practicing free throws.

From my iPhone

fsuscoreboard

The only picture I took from the game. Not a great photo, but had to document it. A truly remarkable game.

On a personal note

Not much to say, but I’m glad for Tech fans to enjoy such a bonus of a season (at least to this point). As a fan, it’s fun being at or near the top, but watching a team lift off – which looks like is the case here – is in some ways a more enriching experience.

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