This was an opportunity for Georgia Tech (11-10, 2-6) to beat an opponent they rarely get a win against. The North Carolina Tar Heels (13-7, 3-4 ACC) are struggling this season, and Brian Gregory needed his team to get a win to regain some confidence.
Unfortunately, just like mother nature had done to all of the Atlanta area, the Tar Heels cooled off Tech, and put them away in a 78-65 beating.
It was the same old story for the Yellow Jackets. Good defense, good presence inside, and a lot of Trae Golden kept them in the game early. But in the second half, the undermanned Tech team faded, and North Carolina took advantage of their team’s depth.
The stat line looks pretty much the same as all of Georgia Tech’s recent losses. Golden scored over 20 points (21), Daniel Miller pulled down six rebounds and had five blocks, and Marcus Georges-Hunt worked hard to score from the field and the free throw line (17 pts, 7-10 FTs). And, just as in many games this season, the Jackets committed double-digit turnovers (10) and had practically zero production from the bench.
It’s the last stat that needs addressed, and quickly.
Yes, the Yellow Jackets are a bit depleted with injuries, but only coming up with eight points and eight rebounds in total from the bench is going to make it nearly impossible to win games in the ACC.
The starters are running out of gas, and Brian Gregory doesn’t have many options when he wants to give Miller, Georges-Hunt, Golden or Holsey a rest. The bench is going to have to start to step up and make some shots and grab some boards. If the starters can’t have a decent breather by midway through the second half, they’ll continue to run out of gas and get beaten by even mediocre opponents.
It might take shuffling the lineup once again, and moving some starters to the bench just to have a good mix of quality in any rotation that’s on the floor. Or perhaps a change in the way the Jackets attack a zone defense. But changes have to come, or Georgia Tech is going to be in for a very dismal winter…and a ticket to the living room couch when March rolls around.
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