Reviewing Georgia Tech’s win over Clemson

 

January 12, 2017, Atlanta: Georgia Tech center Ben Lammers, who led the team with 23 points, celebrates a 75-63 victory over Clemson with the fans during an NCAA basketball game on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Atlanta.     Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

January 12, 2017, Atlanta: Georgia Tech center Ben Lammers, who led the team with 23 points, celebrates a 75-63 victory over Clemson with the fans during an NCAA basketball game on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Looking back at Georgia Tech’s 75-63 win over Clemson Thursday night at McCamish Pavilion, which improved the Yellow Jackets to 10-6 overall and 2-2 in the ACC. You can read the game story here and the “5 things” recap here. Quotes from both coaches and Tech players here. Photo gallery here.

Four factors* 

clemsongt4factors
For the sake of comparison, Tech’s effective field-goal percentage against Louisville was 35 percent. It was 36.5 percent against Duke. Its season average is 45.7 percent, 306th in the country, according to teamrankings.com.

Tech also did a solid job of keeping Clemson off the offensive glass, which is not something that the Tigers do well, although they scored 10 second chance points to Tech’s 14. The Jackets’ free-throw rate was nothing special, but it was better than Clemson’s and they made 17 of 19 from the line, a season-high 89.5 percent.

*Four factors follows the idea that the four statistics that most lead to success are effective field-goal percentage (which weights 3-point baskets proportionately), turnover percentage, offensive rebounding percentage and free throws per field-goal attempts.

One thought from the game

This is what can happen when just about everything goes right for the Jackets. They played defense well, which I think will be fairly consistent. Just about everyone was on their game offensively. Center Ben Lammers did his work with 23 points on just 17 shots. After a shaky first half, forward Quinton Stephens ended up with 16. Point guards Josh Heath and Justin Moore kept the offense moving, and Heath in particular made great passes to set up easy baskets. Guard Tadric Jackson made two big 3-pointers. Guard Josh Okogie finished with 11, including two baskets with the shot clock running down and a hand in his face.

Tech is more reliant on shots inside the 3-point arc than almost every team in the country, and the Jackets were 23-for-46 (50 percent) on those shots. It’s pretty mediocre for most teams, but it’s five points better than their season average (44.6 percent).

Add in Clemson having an off night shooting the 3-pointer – the Tigers were 7-for-24 (29.2 percent) – and you have a surprisingly comfortable win for the Jackets.

How often will stars align like this?

The answer could determine how successful the rest of the season goes. Coach Josh Pastner said the team spent just about the whole time in practice Tuesday and Wednesday on offense. It would look like it was time well spent.

“We’re getting better,” he said.

A rather remarkable thing was how composed the team remained when Clemson tried to get back in the game late, particularly how much ball-handling Moore and Okogie, both freshmen, do, and just how little experience even older players have in these situations. You’ll remember that in recent years, typically the offense deferred to Marcus Georges-Hunt in the closing minutes. But Tech scored on 12 of its final 16 possessions to stay in control.

Stat of the game

Clemson shot 36.7 percent from the field, its second-lowest rate of the season. Eight of Tech’s past nine opponents have been held under 40 percent. The Jackets had seven such games each of the past two seasons.

January 12, 2017, Atlanta: Georgia Tech forward Quinton Stephens slams for two over Clemson defender Shelton Mitchell during an NCAA basketball game on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Atlanta.     Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Georgia Tech forward Quinton Stephens slams for two over Clemson defender Shelton Mitchell during an NCAA basketball game on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Individually speaking

Heath was one of Tech’s best players on the floor, and he finished with eight assists against two turnovers and five points. He found teammates for cutters to the basket and avoided mistakes.

Jackson hit two key 3-pointers – he’s pretty good from 3-point range when he shoots in rhythm – and had four rebounds. Forward Abdoulaye Gueye had another positive performance and earned 10 minutes off the bench.

“He came in, played 10 minutes, but he was active,” Pastner said. “He was solid, so I’m really proud of A.D.”

Quote of the game

“Most people picked us last. So to have (us) sitting here 2-2 in this league just shows you that we can – and we were right there to have a chance to beat Louisville – just shows you that you’re not going to sleep on Georgia Tech at this point. You’re going to have to play great. Nothing’s changed from our end in terms of who we are. Who we are is, our margin for error is zero, and we’ve got to be near perfect in the areas that we can control. And if we can do that, it gives us a chance.” – Pastner

From my iPhone

waltonchorus

The Walton High School chorus performed the national anthem prior to tipoff. Or, as I referred to the group in a tweet, the untucked shirt brigade.

On a personal note

In the back row, I believe in the blue shirt right on the midcourt stripe, is Will Durham, son of Tech hall of fame broadcaster Wes Durham and Lynn Durham, an assistant vice president and chief of staff at Tech. I’ve gotten to know Will a little bit through his work with the sports communications office at Tech and I can say he’s a credit to his parents.

Next

Tech plays at N.C. State Sunday in Raleigh, N.C. at 6:30 p.m. With a win, the Jackets would be 3-2 in the ACC. Tech has not been above .500 in league play at any point of the season since the 2009-10 season.


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