Georgia Tech (4-1, 3-1 home) didn’t let losing their first game of the season on Wednesday night keep them down for too long. The Yellow Jackets opened the doors of McCamish Pavilion to North Carolina A&T (1-3, 0-3 away) for the first time since 1995 and came away with a hard fought 78-71 victory.
Trae Golden lead all scorers with 20 points, and put up 12 of them in the second half to help bring the Jackets back from an 11-point deficit. Had the Jackets been able to make a few from the free throw line, the game wouldn’t have been nearly as close. Tech missed 10-of-18 free throw attempts in the first half, but came back to bucket 21-of-28 attempts from the charity stripe in the second half, with Golden making 9-of-10.
Turnovers and lack of focus on rebounding again plagued the Yellow Jackets, as the Aggies grabbed more boards in the first half from a bigger Yellow Jacket lineup, 21-20. Georgia Tech F Robert Carter, Jr. committed four of the ten turnovers by the Jackets, with Golden adding another three.
The game was a struggle all night for the Jackets, who were continually having to fight back to either tie the game, or just crawl back in after an Aggies run. There seemed to just be a lack of fluidity by Tech, highlighted by Solomon Poole missing a wide open dunk that gorked off the rim and out of bounds.
The size that the Yellow Jackets have on the court should have them out-rebounding practically any opponent, and yet the intensity on the glass just doesn’t seem to be picking up. The Jackets rank 92nd in the nation in team rebounding after five games. The problems of sloppy ball handling and out of control drives to the basket that were seen by this team last year still show up on a nightly basis as well.
If the sporadic scoring and low field goal percentage are going to continue, then the Yellow Jackets must be able to control the rebounds, and keep turnovers in single digits, or there will be some very lopsided games seen when conference play begins.
Next up for the Yellow Jackets will be the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils, who will come to the Thrillerdome on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 7:00 pm.