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Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (16-11, 7-7 ACC) defeated the Syracuse Orange (16-12, 8-7 ACC) 71-65 in a packed house at McCamish Pavillon on Sunday evening. In a game that the Yellow Jackets desperately needed, they played with inspired energy and never looked back. Early on, the defense of both teams controlled the game as each team utilize their zones. With under 10 minutes left in the first half, the score was tied 9-9 .
Yellow Jackets center Ben Lammers was able to get open inside and disrupt the zone by scoring 10 points in the half. After the the Yellow Jackets took a small lead, Syracuse overcame the lead of Georgia Tech later on in the half after a 7-0 run and took a 32-29 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the tides turned as the Yellow Jackets went on a 20-5 run by playing with a sense of urgency by turning up their pressure on defense and scoring before the Orange could get set in their zones. “We really got some of our offense from our defense,” said coach Josh Pastner.
The Yellow Jackets capitalized by scoring 16 points off forced turnovers. Lammers continued to shine by scoring 13 of his 23 points in the second half. The junior center logged in all 40 minutes. “You really don’t pay attention to it,” says Lammers.
The Yellow Jackets led the Orange 20-5 in fast break points sparked by guard Tadric Jackson. Jackson came off the bench and added 15 points in the second half which gave him a total of 20 for the evening.
Senior forward Quinton Stephens also contributed by scoring seven points, totaling six rebounds and adding eight assists. “We really just stayed with the game plan, attacked when we wanted to attack and stayed aggressive,” stated Stephens.
The game took a dramatic turn within the late minutes of the fourth as the Orange went on a 19-8. The Yellow Jackets committed consecutive turnovers allowing the Orange to get back within two points (67-65) with 56 seconds left in the game.
Georgia Tech scored the last four points in the game after tightening up their defense by not allowing the Orange to score in the last 56 seconds. Senior guard Josh Heath hit three free throws and Lammers made one to seal the game.