ATLANTA- Georgia Tech controlled much of the action in a 76-70 win over #12 Miami that turned into a nailbiter in the second half. Miami fought back from a 12-point deficit to retake the lead in the second half and extend that lead to six, but the Jackets clawed back holding scoreless for the final 4:12 of the game and going on a 12-0 run led by clutch buckets and free throws from Deebo Coleman and Miles Kelly. The Jackets improved to 8-6 on the season and 1-3 in ACC play while handing Miami their first ACC loss and second loss on the season.
Head coach Josh Pastner was pleased with how his team rebounded after two tough losses to Clemson and North Carolina where scoring droughts buried the team in a close game in the first half.
“Great win for the Jackets. The last two games were not really good and we didn’t play well in stretches. The last 96 hours I talked to the guys about staying positive you are playing the #12 team in the country and to get that win is a tremendous credit to our players and our coaches. Defensively we were at a high level and an outstanding win for the Jackets that is life in the ACC,” Pastner said. “We held one of the best offensive teams in the country to 5-32 from three and Isaiah Wong to 0-8 from three and 1-11 from the field.”
It was Tech’s first win over a top-25 team since the Florida State game in the ACC Tournament Championship in 2021.
Lance Terry led the way for Tech with 24 points on four of five shooting from three plus a block and a steal in all 40 minutes of action. He was the first 40-minute man of the season for the Jackets.
The Jackets jumped on Miami early, taking a 12-point lead in the first half thanks to a hot offensive start
“I think I was very impressed with how Georgia Tech came out and started the game and Miles Kelly and Deebo Coleman were very good on the offensive end and the whole team was good on the defensive end. We really struggled against the zone. We never quite attacked it consistently, we took the lead in the second half and that cost us. We had a hard time stopping them,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.
Miami got back into the game thanks to a series of strange calls that led to a flagrant foul call on Coleman that turned into two baskets and two free throws for Miami erasing a six-point Tech lead on one trip down the court.
Tech avoided the offensive pitfalls and four-plus minute scoring droughts that have plagued them in ACC play.
“We’ve had a lot of talks about not shutting down when teams make runs and we did a better job of not letting that happen,” Terry said.
Miles Kelly added 20 points and hit all seven of his free throws. Kelly is 21 for his last 21 at the free throw line dating back to the Iowa game.
It was the first time since November 19, 2021, at UGA that the Jackets had two players score 20+ points in a game. Mike Devoe had 37 and Jordan Usher 21 points in a win over Georgia 88-78 in that game.
Deebo Coleman had 14 points on a tough shooting night, but he played some physical defense and hit some key free throws down the stretch.
The third member of Tech’s trio of sophomores Jalon Moore added 10 points marking just the fourth time this season that the trio all hit double-digit scoring and the first time since the UNC game.
Rodney Howard added eight rebounds, but only four points.
Miami’s leading scorer Isaiah Wong struggled going 1-for-11 from the floor with two turnovers.
Big man Norchad Omier fouled out playing just 21 minutes, but he scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds in that span.
“Omier only played seven minutes in the first half and he is our leading rebounder and in the last four or five minutes we didn’t have him,” Larranaga said.
The Jackets led in the first half thanks to some sharp shooting from three and a solid all-around defense posting a 46.9% shooting percentage and hitting six of 12 from three with 20 rebounds. Miami had just 17 rebounds and hit only 4 of 15 from the arc and 38.9% from the field.
“Sometimes you have to attack the defense and make good decisions. We didn’t take terrible shots, but not quite as good as we’ve been,” Larranaga said. “Our leading scorer Isaiah Wong only had six, our guys all scored a little bit less than we need.”
Miami had not given up a fastbreak point in their last three games and gave up 13 including 11 in the first half to the Jackets.
Pastner altered his starting lineup again, inserting Miles Kelly back into the lineup with Lance Terry shifting over to the point guard spot.
“The way we started, I was just trying to tinker and adjust and I thought those guys gave us a good lift to start the game. We’ve got more than five starters. I thought Lance was great tonight. The only three he did wrong was missing those two free throws late. Deivon Smith was big with seven rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers. Rodney Howard directed the offense. It was a good team win. As we move forward, the positive energy and enthusiasm when things are not going well, we’ve got to have great body language and have a great appreciation of the opportunities we have,” Pastner said.
The one downer for Pastner was turnovers, the Jackets had 15 of them turning into 13 points for the Canes while Miami only turned the ball over seven times.
“We’ve got some young guys playing a lot of minutes, they’ve got to get experience. The more they play, the better they will get and the better they will be in those situations,” Pastner said about the turnovers.
Georgia Tech opened up a 14-2 run after trailing 9-7 early to force a timeout by Miami with 11:52 left in the first half and the Jackets leading 21-11. Tech led 37-25 at the final media timeout behind 24 combined points from Miles Kelly and Lance Terry. Miami cut into the Tech lead 39-32 with 1:31 left and Josh Pastner burned a timeout after a turnover by Tech and a turnover by Miami. Tech nursed a 39-35 lead into the half led by Kelly’s 14 points and Terry’s 12 points. The Jackets shot 6-12 from three in the first half and hit all three free throws. Jordan Miller led Miami with 12 points and Nijel Pack added a trio of threes to keep the Canes in the game, but Miami hit just 4 of 15 from the arc in the first half.
Tech led 41-37 before a flagrant foul call on Deebo Coleman on a made Miami basket by Norchad Omier. He hit both free throws and Miami hit the ensuing bucket to tie the game at 41 with under 18 minutes to play it turned into a six-point play. Coleman responded with a hoop and harm to regain the lead for Tech. Miami briefly retook the lead 47-46 before a Lance Terry three gave Tech a 49-47 lead ahead of a Tech timeout with 13:38 remaining. With the game tied at 55, Coleman lost the ball and Wooga Poplar drove and scored with Coleman fouling him. He hit his free throw to give Miami a 58-55 lead with under 10 minutes to go. The Canes were able to hold the lead at three through the third media timeout 62-59 with 7:26 left. Miami extended the lead to six with some free throws as the Jackets were over the limit and had a few fouls around the hoop. Coleman responded with a three to make it 66-64 with under six minutes to go. Rodney Howard picked up his fourth foul with 5:21 left. Terry hit a spinning layup with 2:30 left to make it a two-point game and Omier fouled out on a Coleman defensive rebound after he missed a three. Coleman hit both free throws to tie the game at 70 with 2:15 left. The Jackets forced a shot clock violation on the other end. After a Terry miss, Deivon Smith came up with the loose ball and laid it in to give the Jackets a 72-70 lead with 1:17 left leading to a Miami timeout. Miles Kelly hit an iso-layup with 37 seconds left to extend the lead to 74-70. After a missed three, Kelly hit a pair of free throws to make it 76-70.
The Jackets return to action at Florida State on Saturday at 1 pm as part of back-to-back road games along with a midweek visit to Notre Dame on Tuesday.