The Georgia Tech basketball team learned earlier this week that it will be hard for it to win without 40 minutes of maximum effort — and a complete roster.
The Yellow Jackets (13-9, 5-5 ACC) hope to be back to full strength on at 3 p.m. on Saturday when they visit Wake Forest for their second straight road game.
Georgia Tech was playing shorthanded Wednesday when it lost 74-62 to Clemson. Point guard Josh Heath was not expected to play because of the flu, although he was able to play thanks to a pregame IV but was limited to 28 minutes. Forward Quinton Stephens and guard Tadric Jackson both missed practice time with ankle injuries but played through the pain.
“We didn’t practice well on Monday,” Georgia Tech head coach Pastner said. “Quinton couldn’t practice or play until (Wednesday.). I didn’t even know if Josh was going to play; he was very sick, so we didn’t know if he was going to play. Tadric also had not practiced the last two days. We aren’t a team that can afford to have guys miss practices, either. We were out of sync and lethargic, but credit goes to Clemson first and foremost.”
The lack of healthy personnel is certainly one issue, but lack of effort is another. That’s something that Pastner can’t allow.
“When we don’t play with energy, effort or execution, we aren’t going to win,” Pastner said. “We did that for 32 minutes (against Clemson). We were much better the last eight minutes of the game, but it was too late against a really good Clemson team.
“We’ve got a tough game Saturday against Wake Forest, and we have to be better. We are not a team that can rely on one individual. We’re not built that way. We’re about team. The (Clemson) loss falls on my shoulder because I’m the head coach, so obviously I didn’t get us prepared the way we needed to. But we’ll get after it and be much better against Wake Forest.”
The Yellow Jackets were able to stay close to the Tigers thanks to the contributions of center Ben Lammers, who scored a career-high 25 points. It was his fourth 20-point game and his third in ACC play. He has scored in double figures in 20 games.
Wake Forest (13-9, 4-6) is led by a trio of sophomores: forward John Collins (17.5 points, 9.2 rebounds), guard Bryant Crawford (15.1 points, 5.9 assists), and Keyshawn Woods (12.6 points, 4.4 rebounds). Crawford was on the All-ACC Freshman team last year.
The Demon Deacons are coming off an 85-80 win over Boston College, which broke a two-game losing streak.
Georgia Tech leads the series 41-38 and has won the last two games and six of the last seven meetings.
Football news: Georgia Tech’s football program has added two staff members. Paul Hamilton, who has been the head coach the past 10 years at Brevard College, will be the associate director of player personnel. Kevin Cone, a wide receiver at Georgia Tech from 2008-10, will serve as assistant director of operations. Cone had a six-year career in the NFL, including three years with the Atlanta Falcons.