Posted: 10:17 am Thursday, February 27th, 2014

9 takeaways from Tech-Notre Dame 

By Ken Sugiura

Thoughts and observations from Tech’s 65-62 loss at Notre Dame Wednesday night. Game story here.

1. For a Georgia Tech fan, there were things to like in Wednesday night’s game against Notre Dame. The Yellow Jackets turned the ball over just six times, tying their season low set in the season opener. They recorded assists on 16 of their 22 baskets. They shot 8-for-11 from the free-throw line. They only sent the Fighting Irish to the line eight times. They were 10-for-20 from 3-point range. Forward Robert Carter had his best game since returning from a torn meniscus.

“We didn’t make every shot, but we knocked down some big-time shots towards the end of the game,” forward Marcus Georges-Hunt said. “I felt like we played pretty good.”

However, the result, of course, was wanting. The 65-62 loss was the third straight for Tech and the 15th overall against 13 wins. Particularly as was the case in the loss to N.C. State and also in the first loss to Clemson, the Jackets came up a play or two short. The Jackets were 0-3 in those games and could well have been 3-0.

There were so many plays that could have turned things. Early in the second half, guard Corey Heyward couldn’t get a handle on a loose ball. Notre Dame did, and guard Eric Atkins did and knocked down a 3-pointer to push a two-point lead to five.

As Notre Dame built its advantage to nine points, forward Kammeon Holsey turned the ball over on fairly avoidable plays on back-to-back      possessions. Center Daniel Miller made one of two free throws with 6:34 to go when two free throws would have cut the lead to two points. Down 56-55, Tech had three opportunities on one possession to take the lead – two missed shots, both which Tech rebounded, and then a turnover – but didn’t.

Given his team’s tight margin of error, “every miss seems like you just missed four shots instead of one,” coach Brian Gregory said.

The end-game killers were Pat Connaughton’s drive with the shot clock running out at the 3:12 mark that made the score 60-56, and then Carter’s not being able to latch onto a rebound that the Irish claimed in the final minute. (“I was about to get it and I kind of fell,” Carter said) When Notre Dame recovered the rebound to extend the possession, instead of being down one with 30 seconds left with the ball, Tech had to foul, which put them down three with 23.8 seconds left.

“Those two plays, if you make those two plays, then it’s different,” Gregory said. “You’ve got to learn how to make those and you’ve got to finish those off.”

2. For the sake of argument, let’s say Tech wins those three (N.C State, Clemson, Notre Dame). Instead of being 13-15 overall and 4-11 in the ACC, they would be 16-12 and 7-10, certainly in position to get into the NIT, which would be a worthy accomplishment for a team that has endured its share of injuries. This is, though, the lament of a losing team.

3. Despite shooting 5-for-20 from 3-point range, Notre Dame still shot 46.6 percent, which is way too much for Tech to allow. The Irish were able to handle Tech’s zone defense and besides Sherman’s success, point guard Eric Atkins hit from inside and outside. Notre Dame’s shooting rate was its highest in the past nine games aside from its 50.9 percent against Boston College, which is last in the league in field-goal percentage defense.

“They’re curling off those screens and getting the ball,” Gregory said. “Driving the ball to the basket.”

Down 22-11, the Irish scored on 10 of the next 11 possessions to take the lead going into halftime. Tech never led again. That inability to expand or protect a lead was obviously damaging, and something the Jackets have been through previously.

Said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, “What helped was we changed defenses and played some zone, and that got us some transition stuff. … It got them out of the rhythm they were in, and we were able to get out and run.”

4. A most forgettable night for Trae Golden.  He was 0-for-10 for no points and no rebounds in 31 minutes. It was by far the most shots he’d taken in a game without a make in his career and the most minutes he has logged in a game without scoring. Golden tried going to the basket to score, both in the half-court and in transition and it did not work well at all. The lingering groin injury, it would appear, was a considerable factor.

Said coach Brian Gregory, “I don’t think you’re going to see him do that as much as we did earlier.”

Golden was coming off a 17-point game on 6-for-13 shooting, so it’s not as though he’s not capable of playing with the injury. He was 4-for-9 from 3-point range against Clemson, compared to 0-for-5 Wednesday night. As Gregory had said Monday, Golden may be better off focusing his contributions from the perimeter and not driving as much.

5. Likewise, a rough game for center Daniel Miller. Notre Dame center Garrick Sherman took revenge for a mediocre performance against Miller in Atlanta – 6-for-18 for 13 points – by repeatedly going after him in the post. Sherman was 10-for-15 for 21 points. Gregory chose to let Miller defend Sherman by himself with no help, and that did not prove particularly effective. Sherman, who is playing through a finger injury that has limited his effectiveness, was on his game Wednesday.

“I didn’t have a double, which was nice, so I actually had some space,” Sherman said.

Miller was 2-for-7 for six points with eight rebounds.

6. Off the bench, guard Chris Bolden and forward Quinton Stephens made big contributions. Bolden was 3-for-3 from 3-point range for nine points with three rebounds, one of which was an offensive rebound that kept the final possession alive. Stephens made two of three 3-pointers and also had three rebounds. They helped offset Golden’s off game. It would have been nice to see another play run for Bolden to see if he could keep up his streak. All three of his baskets were in the second half.

7. Forward Robert Carter took missing the pair of 3-point tries in the final possession pretty hard.

“Those are shots I’ve got to hit,” he said. “Those are plays I’ve got to make to help this team win.”

Also: “It just makes you work harder. I’m going to get back to the gym, get some shots, work on it. Next time I get the opportunity, hopefully it’ll go the other way.”

Carter played his best game since coming back. He was in another gear against Notre Dame – 8-for-16 from the field, 3-for-6 from 3-point range, for 19 points, 10 rebounds.

8. If the season ended today, Tech would be the No. 13 seed in the ACC tournament and would play Miami, the No. 12 seed, in a Wednesday first-round game. (The first game of the day, no less.) If the Jackets were to beat the Hurricanes, they would play No. 5 seed Pitt Thursday. And, in the event they won again, the Jackets would play North Carolina, the No. 4 seed, on Friday. Having played two games in two days while the Tar Heels would not have played yet, I would not like Tech’s chances.

9. It was brutally cold in South Bend. I think it was 11 degrees when the game started. I’m not sure how I grew up in that weather.

18 comments
RBR
RBR

that's the problem right there....mediocre expectations from the players.  They lose to a mediocre ND team and they think they played pretty good??   They have to want and expect to win...no matter what!!!  And when they lose, they should get pissed and start pounding the lockers.... this team seems to have no heart and I think it's b/c they expect to lose, but if they lose a close one, they actually become encouraged... 



Gomabman
Gomabman

I agree on the firing of Gregory.  He is a mid major coach at best.  If no one has noticed, this is ACC Basketball.  This once heralded program has gone from sugar to shucks (lack of a more appropriate word)!!! Tech thought they would play it safe by hiring a less than adequate, cheap coach and rely on the names of some so-called worthy assistants to boost the recruiting.  Well, it has backfired!  If you want a great program, you must spend the money.  They had plenty of well-qualified coaches to choose from...Dayton, really?  Price, possibly...but definitely should have given Mike Anderson the keys to the new gym that now stinks from the smell of embarrasing defeats and the old championship banners hanging from the rooftop.  Come on man (GATech), pull the head out!!!  Fire this coach and become legitimate contenders again!!!

mgt87
mgt87

Might I suggest having movie nights at the lovely new facility.

Averys-No1GT-Man
Averys-No1GT-Man

The 2 things that need to be taken away from last nights game and from the entire season is why is Heyward getting all those minutes when what we have struggled to do is score all year. I mean I am sick of the games which have been most games where we have 5-9 minute scoring droughts and in the mean time Stacy Poole Jr. gets no chance what so ever. During the absence of Carter and Golden Gregory turned to 2 walk on's that had not played all year in a real game as in when a game is on the line instead of turning to Stacy Poole Jr. If he is doing something so bad that deserves no chance whatsoever then he should not be on the team. #2. FIRE GREGORY AND OFFER MARK PRICE THE CHANCE TO RESURRECT THIS PROGRAM LIKE HE ONCE DID WITH HIS TEAMMATES AND THE GREAT COACH BOBBY CREMINS DID IN THE EARLY 80'S.   

juvenal
juvenal

lived in St. Louis for 3 years, Ken, only folks that live there grew up there & some got smarter.......

juvenal
juvenal

could Poole have shot any worse than Golden?

Nightrider44
Nightrider44

Geez. I don't even care anymore about this program. Used to go to 3 or 4 games a year and watch most (if not all) the televised games.  Just don't give a darn any more.  They suck and the they have sucked the interest out of me.  Low standards for this program.  We don't recruit well although we're in Georgia AND they are part of the ACC.  How in the world can't you at least put a competitive product on the court at least every three years? 

khd713
khd713

Radar123 – interesting point about Golden, but I would counter that no one ever plans to have a losing season.

Radar123
Radar123

"when the one you are using".

Can't blame Tech English.

Poor editing skills.

Radar123
Radar123

I have my doubts about the coach but Robert Carter Jr. could become a special player.

There are grounds for hope next year were we to have much better injury luck.

So far, I have not been positively impressed by Coach Gregory, except on rare occasions.

The ND coach knows to try a different defense when you one you are using is not stopping the other team.

Can't hurt.

However Cremins, Hewitt and Gregory have all not known when to disrupt the other team by switching to a different defense. Usually all three went with man to man the whole game.

With all the complaining about one and done players on Tech blogs, I do not see why we offered Golden a scholarship.

In effect, he is a one and done and bumps those who were here as a first choice out of the way.

I would rather have a losing season, if we have to have them, with players who are developing for the future.

I hope Ralph's son has some of his dad's skills.

khd713
khd713

We played somewhat better last night. Golden and Holsey sucked, and Miller wasn't up to his usual standard. But RC Jr., Bolden and MG-H had much better games. Unbelievable that on a night when those three would finally start playing more like they are capable, the rest of the lineup goes completely flat. We can't seem to get a consistent, confident effort out of this team, which is why they are not much fun to watch. Oh, and while the offense (shooting) looked a bit better, the defense was horrible. Worst D we've played in a long time. This season is over and done with. Just a huge disappointment all around.


Agree on the coaching decision to not double Sherman – just plain dumb. And is our coach incapable of making in-game adjustments? If you start out with the decision to not double Sherman and Miller is getting his lunch eaten, then why not make a switch? Is that so hard? Isn't that what coaches are there for? Brey talks about how ND changed defenses, as so many teams have done against Tech this year, and started playing zone. That kills Tech every time because of the Jackets' inability to shoot over zones, or penetrate past them. Point is, other teams make adjustments, but ours never does.


"If the season ended today . . ."


We can only hope.

crackbaby
crackbaby

DMiller embarrassed Garrick Sherman in Atlanta.  I think he was O-fer in the first half and Miller blocked 2 or 3 of his shots.


Sounds like CBG didn't anticipate any revenge factor when ND is at home.  Poor coaching.  Coach K would have factored that in game planning.  Sherman is their leading scorer. 

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

“We didn’t make every shot, but we knocked down some big-time shots towards the end of the game,” forward Marcus Georges-Hunt said. “I felt like we played pretty good.”

==========================

Wow!

Just wow!

We lose to a very mediocre ND team and players think they played pretty good!

I don't blame the kids, these low standards for GT's Athl. Dept. are the fault of the AD and the Prez of GT.

For some strange reason low standards have become acceptable in GT's Athl. Dept.

AntoineFord
AntoineFord

One takeaway from Tech-ND: We blow goats.

RBR
RBR

let me rephrase my post.... "this team has no expectations".... they might have heart but they have no expectations above losing and no confidence.   That should fall on the coaching staff..  

TechTroll13
TechTroll13

I guess you wanted to fire "the great Coach Cremins" at the end of his third season.  Cremins' ACC record after three seanson is almost identical to Gregory's.  BTW Coach K also had a .309 winning % in the ACC after 3 seasons.

Poole Jr's line in the Clemson game 6 minutes with 3 turnovers.  He can score some, but he gives the ball to the other team so much that he is a net negative. 

If Mark Price was a realistic coaching canidate, don't you think he would be a head coach somewhere.  Instead he has spent most of his time as a free throw coach.  Great players don't necessarily make even good coaches.

TechTroll13
TechTroll13

So, you are saying it is not possible to play well and lose?