The Georgia Tech men’s basketball team were able to give a great senior night farewell to James Banks III and Shembari Phillips on Wednesday night as the Yellow Jackets cruised by the Pittsburgh Panthers 73-57.
James Banks III and Shembari Phillips could not ask for a better way to finish their careers at McCamish Pavillion. The pair of seniors helped as the Yellow Jackets took down a struggling Pittsburgh Panthers team 73-57. Both Banks and Phillips started Wednesday night, a normal occurrence for Banks but for Phillips it was his first start of the season. While neither player would make a huge impact on Wednesday’s game, it still has to be a great feeling to end your career at home off with a blowout victory.
With Phillips getting the start, Jose Alvarado had the rare opportunity on Wednesday to come off the bench. Alvarado, didn’t let it affect his mentality, however, as he led all Tech scorers with 23-points. In the process, Alvarado also scored his 1,000th career point, becoming the 33rd Yellow Jacket to do so. In his performance, Alvarado also had nine rebounds and five assists, a complete performance to say the least.
Other notable performances included Michael Devoe who contributed 13-points to the winning effort while Jordan Usher also finished with double-digit points, totaling 10-points. James Banks III would finish his day with two points and nine rebounds while Shembari Phillips finished with three points, making his only shot of the night. To just round out the starters, Moses Wright had a quality effort as well with eight points and three rebounds.
Georgia Tech would start fast on Wednesday against the Panthers quickly jumping out on a 5-0 run that would turn into a 7-2 lead. Pittsburgh would answer back early but the Yellow Jackets offense was on for much of the night and would jump out to a lead as big as 15-points in the first half. Pittsburgh would cut it down to nine-points before halftime.
After taking a 30-21 lead into halftime, the Panthers would come out early in the second half and draw the game closer, getting the Jackets lead down to as four points. That’s where the Panthers run early in the final 20 minutes would stop, however, as they would go cold from the field for much of the remaining time, allowing the Jackets to pull away and eventually cruise to victory. The victory was a rare wire-to-wire victory and the second recently for the Jackets who had a wire-to-wire upset of Louisville just a few weeks ago.
As a team, the Yellow Jackets shot 49.1%, making 27-of-55 shots. They shot well from beyond the arch as well at 46.7%. However, the most impressive stat for the Jackets was their free-throw percentage of 92.3%, making 12-of-13 attempts.
The win of course was also a historical one for the Yellow Jackets. The win meant that the Yellow Jackets will finish a season with 10 conference wins or more for the first time since the 1995-96 season when they went 13-3. The win also ensures the Yellow Jackets will finish the 2019-20 season with a winning record as they move to 16-14 overall.
The Yellow Jackets will look to end their season on Friday night much like did on Wednesday night, a high note in a game where they’re looking for revenge. The Yellow Jackets will take on the Clemson Tigers at 7:00 p.m.. Fans can watch the game via ESPN2 or listen to it on the Georgia Tech Gameday App.