These are the kinds of victories that build character in a basketball team. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets fought hard and grabbed a 58-55 road victory over a feisty Charlotte 49ers team that played till the end with no sign of backing down whatsoever.
The Yellow Jackets, in the second half, built an eight point lead at 53-45 and looked to be in control of the game with 53 seconds left on the clock. But for some reason Tech could not get the ball across half-court in the closing seconds. The result was a miraculous comeback by the 49ers.
After a pair of 49ers free throws by Willie Clayton cut the Georgia Tech lead to three with 11 seconds left on the clock, Charlotte was able to force a turnover and guard Shawn Lester hit a clutch game tying trey with 7 seconds left on the clock. On the ensuing play, Trae Golden, who had been lethal for the Jackets all night, hit his biggest shot of the season when he pulled up and knocked down a 3-ball leaving three seconds on the clock. Charlotte tossed a desperation heave that rattled in as time expired, but upon review the shooter did not get the ball off in time.
Trae Golden was huge in this game with 24 points on 7 of 14 shooting and hit 4 of 8 treys with the fourth one of course being the biggest. Denzel Ingram of Charlotte was tough for the Yellow Jackets to stop. Ingram was 8 of 10 from the field for 20 points and he hit 3 of 5 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Georgia Tech, for the most part this game, had great ball movement in their half-court offense and were sound in their transition defense. The Yellow Jackets also did a great job on the glass outrebounding Charlotte 44-34. Daniel Miller and Robert Carter Jr. did a great job on the glass in particular. Miller grabbed nine boards to go along with his nine points and Carter Jr. pulled down 10 boards to go along with his six points. The Yellow Jackets grabbed 29 defensive boards in this game and that went a long way toward the control that they enjoyed for the majority of the second half. When Georgia Tech is getting back on defense and holding teams to only one shot in most possessions they are tough to beat.
The big issue that coach Brian Gregory is going to have to address from this game is how to handle the full-court press on inbound plays. If the Yellow Jackets were able to execute against the press, this game would have been easier to put away and the Golden heroics would not have been necessary. Nevertheless, this is a strong road win for the Yellow Jackets and this is a game that the team should be able to build off of as they take their 9-4 record into conference play. Next it’s on to College Park, Maryland and a date with the Maryland Terrapins on January 4th.