Reviewing Georgia Tech’s ACC tournament loss to Pittsburgh

Georgia Tech center Ben Lammers (44) and guard Josh Okogie (5) block a shot attempt by Pittsburgh guard Chris Jones (12) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the first round of the ACC tournament, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, in New York. Pittsburgh won 61-59. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Reviewing Georgia Tech’s first-round loss to Pittsburgh in the ACC tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Four factors*

In a game decided by two points, the differences weren’t significant. Tech did have its lowest turnover percentage of the ACC season (seven turnovers, also a season low) and was better on the offensive glass than Pitt, but couldn’t do enough with its possessions. The Jackets scored eight points on 12 offensive rebounds, made four 3-pointers to Pitt’s six and was 11-for-17 from the line where Pitt was 13-for-17.

A winnable game, to be certain.

*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

This game was like many that preceded it. The Jackets played really solid defense and couldn’t find their way at the other end. So many missed layups. According to the official statistics, Tech was 8-for-22 on layups. There were times when Tech ran really sharp offense, moved the ball well and got open shots. Sometimes it created points, but not often enough.

Pitt was 6-for-10. In the other two games Tuesday (N.C. State-Clemson and Boston College-Wake Forest), all four teams were at .500 or a tick above. Some of Tech’s shots at the rim were tough to make, however, many were not.

Quote of the game

“They look so tired. I just think maybe we ran out of gas as we were coming down the homestretch.” – Josh Pastner

Georgia Tech guard Josh Heath (11) put up a shot against Pittsburgh guard Cameron Johnson (23) and guard Chris Jones (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the first round of the ACC tournament, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Stat of the game

Tuesday’s game was Tech’s fourth in a row in which it scored 61 points or fewer. The Jackets have had 16, the most in the ACC by 12. ACC teams have scored 61 or less a total of 79 times this season, meaning Tech accounted for about a quarter of them.

Individually speaking

Forward Quinton Stephens had 16 points (but took 15 shots to get there) to go with 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. He was aggressive in looking to score, but couldn’t put enough shots down.

Jackson was likewise aggressive with his offense and finished with a team-high 17 on 8-for-21 shooting. the 21 attempts tied his career high. Notably, he was 8-for-16 inside the arc and 0-for-5 outside of it. He was the Tech only player to finish with a positive plus/minus rating (+6). I thought he was fairly judicious in his shooting, but he couldn’t score enough.

Center Ben Lammers finished with 15 rebounds, six on the offensive glass. The six offensive rebounds were his high for ACC play and the 15 tied for his second most of his career. Guard Josh Okogie scored 15. He did not shoot well (4-for-11) but got to the line nine times, making seven. Ironically, one of the makes was supposed to be a miss, with 2.2 seconds left and the Jackets down two.

 

Georgia Tech guard Tadric Jackson (1) puts up a shot against Pittsburgh forward Michael Young (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the first round of the ACC tournament, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, in New York. Pittsburgh won 61-59. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

From my iPhone

Buzz, that unrepentant attention hound, mugs for yet another camera.

Boston College assistant coach Stan Heath (father of Tech guard Josh Heath) is on the right of the frame. He was in the stands to watch his son play after the Eagles had lost the previous game to Wake Forest.

On a personal note

The ACC provided media really good seating for the tournament; it’s right on the floor along the sidelines. Sitting in those seats, though, you’re right on the action, which has made me sometimes wondered how I would react if a player came barreling into me after a loose ball, as sometimes happens. I know now, sort of. Stephens dove onto the table pursuing a loose ball late in the game and fell into me and my esteemed colleague Mark Bradley. He took the brunt of the hit, but I think I sort of tried to prevent Stephens from falling over the table. Alas, Stephens’ jumping on the table slammed my laptop shut and I lost probably three or four paragraphs of my story, which wasn’t helpful, but, my fault for not saving.

And this is unrelated, but it’s kind of weird when you think about it that the scorer’s table, media tables and even the front-row seats are close enough to the floor where they can get in the way of play. Baseball is sort of like that, and I guess golf is, sort of. I suppose volleyball, also. but I don’t know that there’s another sport where a player could hurt himself or herself running into a table that really doesn’t have to be five feet from the field of play.


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