Blacksburg, Va. – Michael Devoe scored a game-high 22 points and James Banks added 15 for the Yellow Jackets, but No. 22 Virginia Tech overcame a halftime deficit with eight second-half three-point field goals and defeated the Yellow Jackets, 76-68, in Atlantic Coast Conference basketball at Cassell Coliseum.
Georgia Tech (11-14, 3-9 ACC) lost for the sixth straight time despite posting its highest scoring total since Jan. 12 at Syracuse and knocking down 11 three-point field goals, one shy of the Yellow Jackets’ 12 in the season opener against Lamar. Devoe matched his season best with four, while Kristian Sjolund hit three. Brandon Alston, Curtis Haywood II, Moses Wright and Khalid Moore each had one.
Down 27-16, the Yellow Jackets reeled off 14 straight points to take a 30-27 lead into intermission as Virginia Tech (19-5, 8-4 ACC) missed four straight shots and turned the ball over twice in the final 4:44. Wright scored twice in the run, while Sjolund and Moore each hit threes.
After a Devoe three to start the second half, the Hokies roared back with a 16-4 run to build a 47-37 lead at the 13:36 mark. The Jackets made another run, closing the gap to 49-48 on another Devoe three with 8:56 to go, but that was as close as they would get after Kerry Blackshear, Jr., answered with a layup.
Blackshear finish ed the game with 16 points and eight assists, expertly finding open shooters for the Hokies against the Yellow Jacket zone. Ty Outlaw scored a team-high 20 points, canning 6-of-12 from three-point range, while Nickeil Alexander Walker chipped in with 16 points and Ahmed Hill added 11.
The Hokies, who swept the season series from the Yellow Jackets and have won the last six games in the series, shot 59.3 percent from the floor and connected on 8-of-16 three-pointers in the second half. They scored 17 points off of Georgia Tech turnovers in the game.
Devoe went 6-of-11 from th e field, 4-of-7 from three-point range and 6-of-7 from the foul line, adding five assists for the Yellow Jackets. Banks had eight rebounds and a pair of blocked shots, while freshman Kristian Sjolund scored 11, his first double-digit game as a Jacket.
Georgia Tech returns to action Saturday afternoon when it hosts No. 17 Florida State on Letterwinners Weekend. Tip time at McCamish Pavilion is 2 p.m., and the game will be televised regionally on the ACC’s Raycom Sports Network (Peachtree TV in Atlanta).
- Georgia Tech starting lineup: Alvarado, Devoe, Haywood II, Alston, Banks III
- First subs for Georgia Tech: Sjolund, Wright for Alston, Haywood – 12:41-1st half
- On the floor for Georgia Tech at the end: Alvarado, Alston, Devoe, Sjolund, Banks III
- Opening tap won by Virginia Tech: Georgia Tech has won the opening tap 15 times in 25 games this season, including 12 of the last 13 games
- Series record vs. Virginia Tech: Georgia Tech is 6-20 overall, 1-10 on the road, 0-4 under Josh Pastner, 0-6 vs. Buzz Williams
- Current series trend: Virginia Tech has won the last six meetings
- Georgia Tech is 9-6 at McCamish Pavilion this season, 81-43 in its sixth season in the building, 38-17 under Josh Pastner
- Georgia Tech is 2-6 on the road this season, 2-7 away from McCamish Pavilion
- Georgia Tech’s next game: Saturday, Feb. 16, vs. No. 22/16 Florida State (2 p.m., McCamish Pavilion)
- Georgia Tech started its 10th different lineup this season at Virginia Tech, with Brandon Alston inserted in place of Abdoulaye Gueye, giving the Yellow Jackets a 4-out, 1-in alignment with Jose Alvarado, Michael Devoe, Curtis Haywood II and James Banks III
- Alston started his fifth game this season, and his first since Dec. 17 against Gardner-Webb. Devoe, a freshman, has started Tech’s last 16 games, having made his first collegiate start at Arkansas. Haywood made his 87th start of the season. Banks has started the last 19 straight games in the post, and Alvarado has started 23 games.
- No Yellow Jacket has started every game this season, and 10 different players have started three or more games.
- Georgia Tech’s 68 points represented its highest score since Jan. 12 (73-59 win at Syracuse), and its 43.4-percent shooting from the floor was its highest in six games (46.2 in the first meeting vs. Notre Dame).
- Tech’s 11 three-point field goals were its most since hitting 12 in the season-opener against Lamar, and its most in a road game since hitting 11 at South Carolina in the second round of the 2016 NIT. It also was the most against an ACC opponent since the Jacket made 11 against Wake Forest (at home) on March 3, 2012. The 11 threes at Virginia Tech came from six different players.
- Tech has connected on 22 of 62 three-point field goals (35.5 percent) in its last three games, despite the struggles of Jose Alvarado and Curtis Haywood, who are 3-of-24 between them in those three games. In the five games before that, the Jackets shot 14-for-96 (14.6 pct.) from bonus range.
- Virginia Tech’s 13 threes matched a season high against the Yellow Jackets (13 by North Carolina on Jan. 29).
- Tech outrebounded Virginia Tech, 31-26, the first time the Yellow Jackets have won the battle of the boards since Dec. 28 against Kennesaw State. The Jackets played the Hokies even on the glass in the teams’ first meeting.
- Eight Tech players logged 10 or more minutes in the game against Virginia Tech, and all eight of them scored at least one basket.
- Tech was missing two scholarship players at Virginia Tech – Evan Cole (viral illness) and Shembari Phillips (flu).
- Wake Forest (74.4 ppg, scored 79), Clemson (71.4 ppg, scored 72 in the first meeting) and Virginia Tech (75.6, 76 in second meeting) remain the only Georgia Tech opponents to exceed their season scoring averages this season against the Yellow Jackets. Tech had held every other opponent this season under its season scoring average – breakdown by game: Lamar 81.8 (69), Tennessee 85.5 (66), East Carolina 71.1 (54), UTRGV 70.2 (44), Prairie View A&M 69.2 (54), Northwestern 73.5 (67), St. John’s 83.5 (76), Florida A&M 63.2 (40), Gardner-Webb 82.9 (79), Arkansas 81.8 (69), Georgia 79.2 (70), Kennesaw State 62.5 (57), USC Upstate 70.9 (63), Virginia Tech 81.1 (52), Syracuse 70.9 (59), Louisville 79.9 (79), Notre Dame 74.7 (61), Duke 88.6 (66), North Carolina 88.1 (77), Florida State 77.8 (59), Clemson 71.2 (65 in second meeting), Notre Dame 71.7 (69 in second meeting).
- Tech’s 15 assists were the most since getting 15 against North Carolina on Jan. 29, and its 13 turnover the fewest since committing 13 at Clemson on Jan. 16.
- Tech has made 76.8 percent of its free throws over its last five games; however, the Yellow Jackets have averaged scoring just 10.6 points from the charity stripe.
PASTNER’S KEY METRICS:
- Assists to made field goals: The Jackets have 197 assists on 319 field goals (61.8 percent) in its last 12 games. The Jackets are at 58.2 percent for the season, 40th in the nation, and 57.3 percent in ACC games. Tech assisted on 15 of 23 made field goals (65.2 percent) against Virginia Tech, beating its nightly goal of 60 percent.
- Free throws made to opponents’ attempts: Tech is 37-17 under Josh Pastner when attempting more free throws than the opponent. Tech connected on 11-of-13 free throw attempts to Virginia Tech’s 13-of-18 (nightly goal of making more than opponent tries not accomplished).
- Turnovers: Tech has averaged 15.1 turnovers per game this season, 15.7 in ACC games to date (3.5 more per game than opponents). Target each night is 11 or fewer, which Tech has met twice this season (both wins). More telling for Tech under Josh Pastner is that when Tech has committed fewer turnovers than its opponent, it is 22-13. When it has committed more, it is 20-29.
- Guard rebounding: The group of Alvarado, Alston, Devoe, Haywood, Moore and Phillips has combined to take 297 of Tech’s 639 defensive rebounds this season (46.4 percent). Tech’s guards combined for nine of the Jackets’ 21 defensive rebounds against Virginia Tech.
- Freshman Michael Devoe has set a personal best for points in each of his last two games, scoring 18 at Notre Dame and 22 at Virginia Tech. The 6-4 guard hit 12-of-24 shots from the floor and 8-of-12 three-point attempts in the two games, while also hitting 8-of-9 from the foul line. He grabbed 13 rebounds and dished 11 assists combined in the two games.
- Devoe is now averaging 10.9 points (No. 2 on the team), 4.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists in ACC games, and he has hit 47.7 percent of his three-point tries (21-for-44) against conference opponents.
- James Banks III has averaged 12.3 points and 9.3 rebounds over his last three games, hitting 12-of-24 shots from the floor and 13-of-19 from the free throw line. He also has blocked 13 shots in those games.
- Banks remains Tech’s scoring (12.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 rpg) leader in ACC games, and he is hitting 53.7 percent of his field goals and 70.5 percent of his free throws against conference foes.
- Freshman Kristian Sjolund has seen his most extensive action of the season in the Yellow Jackets’ last two games, playing scoring eight points in nine minutes at Notre Dame and 11 in 26 minutes at Virginia Tech. The 6-7 forward has hit 7-for-13 from the floor and 5-of-10 threes in these two games, and he pulled a personal-best six rebounds at Virginia Tech. His season high for minutes had been 11 against East Carolina, and he had gone 2-for-11 from three-point range on the season prior to the last two games. He had seven total rebounds for the season before the Virginia Tech game.
- Sophomore Curtis Haywood II snapped a personal 0-for-19 streak from three-point range when he drained his first attempt against Virginia Tech. He missed his next two and is now 2-for-32 over his last eight games
- Sophomore Moses Wright scored his first points in four games, dating back to 1/29 vs. North Carolina, with seven points at Virginia Tech, his most points since scoring seven against Louisville Jan. 19. He also connected on his first three-pointer since the third game of the season against East Carolina (3-of-18 this season).
- With Tech opting for a 4-out, 1-in approach at Virginia Tech, Abdoulaye Gueye did not start for the first time in eight games (he missed two due to a medical condition) and played just four minutes, going scoreless. Gueye had averaged 12.0 points and 5.1 rebound over his previous eight games, and had scored in double digits in seven of those. The 6-9 senior connected on 52.6 percent of his shots from the floor (41-of-78) in the same stretch.
- In ACC games, Gueye is Tech’s third-leading scorer (9.9 ppg) and second-highest percentage shooter (51.9 pct.).
- Jose Alvarado continued to slump scoring, missing all six of his three-point attempts and his first eight field goal attempts overall at Virginia Tech until scoring on a couple of layups late in the game. Alvarado is 10-of-71 from the floor over his last six games, 3-for-26 from three-point range, and has averaged 4.0 points. Prior to that, Alvarado had scored in double digits in five straight games (15.6 ppg, 44.6 pct. FG, 11-for-25 on threes).