They’ll be talking about that first half for a long, long time.
Georgia Tech outscored No. 6 Florida State 41-15 in the first period and rolled to a 78-56 win on Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion.
The upset came courtesy of the sort of energy and intensity that’s come to be expected from head coach Josh Pastner’s team. The Yellow Jackets won most of the 50-50 balls, dominated the glass against the larger Seminoles and took advantage of poor FSU shooting.
The result was Georgia Tech’s largest halftime lead of the season and FSU’s lowest production in a half, five less than the 20 it managed in the first half against Virginia. Georgia Tech held the Seminoles 29 points below their season average and to their lowest point total all season.
The offense came from freshman Josh Okogie, who had 35 points and 14 rebounds for his first double-double of the season, and center Ben Lammers, who notched his 10th double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Georgia Tech has now beaten three ranked teams this season, previously knocking off Virginia Commonwealth and North Carolina.
Three who mattered
Okogie: The freshman shot 10-of-17 from the field and 14-of-17 from the foul line. It was the most Okogie scored against an ACC opponent and the second-most in his career; he set the school's single-game freshman record with 38 against Tulane. He also had five assists and two steals Wednesday.
Lammers: He bounced back from his season-low seven-point effort against Virginia to score 18. He was 8-of-18 from the field, three of them dunks, and added four assists and three blocked shots.
Guard Corey Heyward: Pastner played a hunch and gave the defensive-minded guard his eighth start of the season. He responded with one of his better games. The senior provided toughness and court savvy, especially in the fast start. He scored five points and had a career-high six rebounds and two assists.
Georgia Tech had taken a 15-point lead into the media timeout at 7:44 of the first half and came out to score the next 12 points and take a 40-12 lead with 1:55 left, and a 15-4 run led Tech to a 41-15 lead at the half.
Okogie belongs among the ACC’s elite freshmen: Other freshman, like N.C. State’s Dennis Smith and Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac, have received more attention, but Okogie may be the most valuable freshman in the league. He’s scored in double figures in every conference game and has topped 20 points in three of those.
When guards hit the glass, good follows: Pastner has stressed guard rebounding all season. Against FSU, the guards came away with 25 rebounds. He singled out Josh Heath, who had six, for exceptional effort.
More surprises left?: Picked to finish 14th in a 15-team conference, the Yellow Jackets continue to improve. Pastner likes to remind observers that his team needed overtime to beat Div. II Shorter in the preseason exhibition. A 4-4 conference mark is a stunning accomplishment.
A notable first half: Georgia Tech scored 41 points in the opening half, one short of the 42 it scored against N.C. State last week. The Yellow Jackets held FSU to 15 first-half points and led by 26 at halftime — two better than their 24-point lead against Alcorn State.
Okogie in rare air: The guard now has two 30-point games this season, become only the third freshman with multiples. The other two: Kenny Anderson (four) and Mark Price (two).
Knocking off the big boys: The win over Florida State gives the Seminoles two victories over top-10 teams. That hasn’t happened during the regular season since 2003-04.
They said it
FSU coach Leonard Hamilton on Georgia Tech’s effort: “I’ve watched all their games and they’ve played well all season. We lost to a team that was well prepared, well coached and executed well in all phases of the game.”
Pastner on the overall win: “We really played well. We executed, we really guarded (Wednesday). They’re one of the top 25 offensive teams in the country.”
Pastner on the team’s success: “Last week, we played really well. We lost both games, but we played well. We came back and had two good practices and cleaned up some things.”
Georgia Tech hosts Notre Dame on Saturday at noon.