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Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (17-13, 8-9 ACC) won an important game against the Pittsburgh Panthers (15-15, 4-13 ACC) Tuesday night. The Yellow Jackets came into the matchup trying to stay alive for a birth in the NCAA Tournament.
Georgia Tech playing with a sense of urgency, came out quickly and jumped out to a 11-5 lead. Center Ben Lammers and freshman guard Josh Okogie set the pace for Tech early by hitting two shots each. The defense also dictated the energy for the Yellow Jackets causing two shot clock violations early in the first half. It looked like Georgia Tech would push it to a big lead but things turned for the worst quickly.
Sloppy play and turnovers helped the Panthers go on a 7-0 run. The Yellow Jackets went scoreless for 3:48 and couldn’t get the shooting rhythm back which had them down 28-25 at the half. “25 Points in the first half. I mean scoring, scoring issues, you see the gray on my right side of my hair. That’s why,” said Josh Pastner
Lammers started off the half scoring six early points helping them take an early lead. Reserve guard Tadric Jackson got the start in the second half and immediately impacted the game with his energy. “He had that basket late in the second half and I thought, you know what we need more, scoring in the second half,” said coach Pastner.
Georgia Tech went on a 13-2 run and took a 40-33 lead. Tech pressured Pittsburgh early in possessions causing turnovers and preventing the Panthers from scoring for nearly five minutes. The Panthers battled back and regained the lead after forward Michael Young scored on a three-point play. Lammers responded by hitting a jumper to regain the lead with 5:38 left.
Okogie scored eight of the last 10 points of the game. First he got a traditional three-point play by driving to the rim, then hit a fade away jumper to put Tech up by four with less than 2:00 minutes remaining. The freshman hit a free throw then after drawing a charge on defense, he scored on a breakaway dunk to seal the game 61-52.
Although he had four fouls late in the second half, Okogie still managed to be aggressive on offense. “As the game went on, my teammates and coaches were counting on me and I just put it on myself to make big plays,” said Okogie.
Lammers led the team in scoring with 20 points (15 in the second half) and Okogie added 14 points (nine in the second half). Georgia Tech kept their chances to make the NCAA Tournament alive with the win on Tuesday. “We have eight wins in the ACC, the best conference in college basketball. We should get in the NCAA Tournament,” said Pastner.
They travel to Syracuse to play their last game of the season on this Saturday.