It was a tale of two halves for Georgia Tech, but the second half was a nightmare that saw the Yellow Jackets receive their second consecutive double-digit road defeat, this time to the Duke Blue Devils, 79-57.
In the first half, Georgia Tech played what many will consider to be their best half of basketball this season. They played strong defense and held Duke to 36% shooting from the floor. On the offensive end of the floor, the Jackets shot 53% and were only down 34-33 going into the locker room at the half.
But the second half was a different story, as Duke came out of the locker room with a lot of energy and pushed the tempo. The Blue Devils opened the half with a 9-2 run to create an eight point lead with 17:55 to go in the game. Georgia Tech never really recovered from the early blitz that Duke put on them in the second half.
Although the Jackets were able to hold talented freshman Jabari Parker in check (especially Jason Morris), Duke forward Rodney Hood was a big reason for the second half Duke onslaught. He just went completely bonkers from beyond the 3-point arc. Hood was 5 of 5 from downtown in the second half and finished the game 8 of 12 from the field for 27 points to go along with six rebounds. Hood led five Blue Devils that scored in double figures.
Georgia Tech in the second half could not carry over the defensive work that they had done in the first half. Also, the Yellow Jackets got lackadaisical on the offensive and defensive glass. Tech was out rebounded by a team for the first time this season giving Duke a 32-23 rebound advantage for the game.
Marcus Georges-Hunt had a nice game with 18 points on 8 of 12 shooting, but the intensity that he showed in the first half faded away in the second half. Coach Brian Gregory had to be especially disappointed that his team did not take full advantage of their size advantage in the paint. Daniel Miller was proving to be unstoppable on the interior, and was 7 of 12 for 14 points in the game.
However, this was a game that called for Miller to get 20 attempts from the field because Duke truly had no answer for him defensively. Miller might have been able to get Duke into foul trouble a little bit faster and probably would have narrowed the gap in the free throw shooting attempts some.
Duke made 22 of 25 free throw attempts to Georgia Tech’s 0 for 6 attempts, and you can tell by the final score the free throw disparity did have a little something to do with the final outcome. But that is what happens when you are on the road to Durham, and offensively you’re not playing aggressively enough to get to the line.
Georgia Tech is now 9-6 and will have to hope to get their first conference win on Saturday when they take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish who, incidentally, just beat Duke to get their first conference win. Georgia Tech is going to have to go to the drawing board and figure out a way to get out of this funk quickly.