Josh Pastner admits it: Jackets might actually be good

Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner reacts to a score during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg Va., Wednesday, Jan. 18 2017. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner reacts to a score during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg Va., Wednesday, Jan. 18 2017. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Georgia Tech forward Quinton Stephens’ emotions diverged after the Yellow Jackets nearly defeated Virginia Tech Wednesday night on the Hokies’ home floor.

It was something of an accomplishment to hang in against the Hokies, particularly after trailing 49-40 with 11 minutes to play, and yet it also wasn’t. Following Georgia Tech’s 62-61 defeat, Stephens rued missed opportunities, such as his team’s slew of errant layups.

“That’s what I’m saying,” Stephens said. “I feel like we’re good, like it’s obvious we can play. The fact that it was that close with us making those kind of mistakes – man, we should have won that game.”

The assessment of the Jackets’ potential for the remainder seems to tick higher with every game, from a team destined for the bottom of the ACC to, now, something quite different. Even coach Josh Pastner, who shines attention on his team’s shortcomings and low expectations whenever the opportunity arises, can acknowledge it.

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