Georgia Tech Goes Out In Style As They Advance To The Third Round Of The NIT

Raphael Haynes
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Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets wins convincingly over the Belmont Bruins 71-57 in the second round of the NIT Tournament.

Both teams started out slow as the Jackets began hitting only two field goals in the first four minutes. Josh Okogie hit a 3-pointer to tie it 8-8.

Tech’s defense came out aggressive jumping passing lanes causing the Bruins to rush shots and make errand passes.

The Jackets jumped out to an 21-13 lead with guard Tadric Jackson contributing five points off the bench with 7:30 left in the first half.

The wide open style of Belmont caused some confusion on defense for Tech as there were multiple times where the Bruins had open looks. The Bruins weren’t able to capitalize as they opened up the game 3-13 from behind the arch. 

Tech continued to struggle from the field not hitting a bucket for more than six minutes. Belmont started to heat up at the end of the half causing coach to take a timeout.

The Yellow Jackets went on a mini-run as Jackson hit a three and then off of a Josh Heath steal, forward Quinton Stephens scored on a fast break layup to take a 30-26 lead into halftime. “You think it’s just a normal bucket but its big going into the half with momentum,” said Stephens

The senior forward didn’t disappoint in his final home game as he scored 23 points (10-17) and grabbed eight rebounds.

Center Ben Lammers started the second half hitting the first three shots for Georgia Tech and coming up with a steal. Stephens connected on a 3-pointer and Jackson drove and scored on a two-hand dunk to start a 11-0 run. “We were passing better and obviously when a couple of shots go in, you start having fun,” said Lammers

After a three from Belmont, Tech went another run (13-0) highlighted by a Jackson pass between the defender’s leg for a two-handed monster dunk by Okogie to go up 54-31. Okogie added in 15 points (5-9) and eight rebounds.

The Jackets defense caused 27 points off of turnovers. They held Belmont to 33.3 % from the field and 33.3 from the 3-point line which is their specialty.

Georgia Tech maintained a large lead late in the game as the crowd cheered them on giving them their loudest roar as coach Josh Pastner took out the starters to let the fans show their appreciation at the last home game of the year. “Three seniors to have their last home game and to go out like they did and get that record is sweet,” said Pastner

Georgia Tech won their 17th home game of the year which was a single season record.

Next game will be at Ole Miss on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. eastern on ESPN 2.

Raphael Haynes

Atlanta, GA

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