Some thoughts from Georgia Tech’s 68-60 win over Boston College Tuesday night.
1. For the sake of morale if nothing else, it was an important and critical win, but also another example of difficulty that the Yellow Jackets have a) finishing off opponents; b) scoring against zone defenses.
Tech was smoking at the start, making 14 out of its 15 baskets and taking a 34-15 lead. The Jackets were up 42-27 at the half, which was as many points as they scored in 40 minutes in the loss to Miami Saturday. In eight 3-point attempts, Tech had made more (six) than it had converted in 20 tries against the Hurricanes.
To their credit, when the Jackets started to slow down off their frenetic pace and the lead was reduced to 34-24 with a 9-0 Boston College run, Chris Bolden and Trae Golden answered with a pair of 3-pointers to push the lead back to 16 and hold off the Eagles, at least for the time being.
In the second half, though, Tech went more than 11 minutes with one made basket against the Boston College zone, during which the lead went from 50-32 to 55-51, with Eagles guard Olivier Hanlan contributing back-to-back 3-pointers. Boston College closed to one point in the second half, at 57-56 at 4:44 in the second half.
But, Tech, as has not always been the case, responded. Golden hit a basket and then a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions to put the Jackets in the clear and avert what would have been a pretty miserable loss.
2. How does Tech shoot 52.1 percent from the field, including 8-for-15 from 3-point range and 10-for-13 from the line and have to pull the game out in the final two minutes?
The Jackets had 10 turnovers to Boston College’s 4. The Eagles had 13 points off turnovers to four for Tech.
As much as the game might have been a relief – and it certainly was – it says something about Tech and where it is right now that it has to shoot 53.3 percent from 3-point range to beat one of the worst teams in the ACC. If Tech had missed two more 3-pointers along the way (6-for-15 would still be outstanding), the Jackets might not have pulled it out.
3. Good effort on the glass, outrebounding Boston College 32-20. It perhaps bears mention that Boston College had been outrebounded in half of its games. Regardless, Tech needed to rebound better than it has and did. Interestingly, guard Corey Heyward (making his second career start) and forward Marcus Georges-Hunt led with five. Georges-Hunt has led the team in rebounding only once before this season and it was Heyward’s first time.
4. The “Daniel Miller needs more than five shots for Tech to win” school of thought didn’t get a lot of ammunition. Miller actually took just four shots, making two. He had three rebounds. In the fake statistic of points plus rebounds, it tied for his lowest total (seven) of the season. He had two points and five rebounds against Mississippi, one of Tech’s poorest games of the season.
5. Guard Chris Bolden was 4-for-6, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range, for 11 points. All of his baskets and all but one of his attempts were in the first half. He also had three rebounds. Gregory talks about the importance of guards rebounding all the time, how all five players have to contribute on the glass. To him, how willing and mindful guards are to rebound is a barometer of effort and focus.
You (or at least I) probably don’t give it much thought, as the most a guard might end up with is three or four rebounds, which doesn’t seem significant. But, like interest, it all adds up.
It is obviously of particular importance with Robert Carter out. For whatever it’s worth, Tech is 4-1 when Bolden gets three or more rebounds. He had four against Notre Dame, which was probably his best game of the season if Tuesday night’s game wasn’t. Of the other three games, though, he didn’t play particularly well, the rebounding aside.