Three months ago, this might have been a close game. First-year Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner has been constantly reminding people that the Yellow Jackets needed overtime to beat Division II Shorter in a preseason exhibition.
But a lot has happened since November. This Georgia Tech team, projected to finish next-to-last in the ACC, is no longer an afterthought.
The Yellow Jackets proved it Wednesday with a 96-58 win over Division II Tusculum at McCamish Pavilion. It was the highest output of the season for the Yellow Jackets.
The Yellow Jackets (14-10) wasted no time exerting their will on the outmanned Pioneers. They broke a two-game losing streak and got some work in before returning to the ACC wars Saturday.
Georgia Tech scored 58 points in the first half, easily eclipsing the season-best 42 it had against N.C. State.
The 96 points are the most scored since the Yellow Jackets opened the 205-16 season by putting up 116 against Cornell.
Three who mattered
Ben Lammers: The junior bounced back from a frustrating seven-point effort against Wake Forest. He scored the first two baskets of the game and finished with 13 points, with six rebounds, three assists and four blocked shots against Tusculum.
Josh Okogie: The freshman had 15 points and nine rebounds and played only 22 minutes. He was 5-for-8 from the floor and had five offensive rebounds.
Sylvester Ogbonda: The freshman scored a carer-high eight points and had five rebounds in 14 minutes. He is getting closer to becoming a more-reliable backup to Lammers.
Georgia Tech scored the first eight points of the game. Even Corey Heyward stepped up and hit a 3-pointer during that stretch. Tusculum never got any closer than five points the rest of the game.
Hot start vs. outmanned opponent: Georgia Tech made six of its first seven shots from the field. The only miss during that time was an air-ball 3-point attempt from Quinton Stephens. The Yellow Jackets led 20-12 before missing their second shot.
Great assist ratio: Pastner likes to see a high percentage of assisted baskets. The Yellow Jackets had 25 assists on 36 baskets.
Tusculum can make the 3-pointers: The Pioneers avoided further embarrassment by connecting on 10 3-pointers. But nine of those came in the first half.
Lights out from the field: Georgia Tech shot 56.3 percent from the field, even though the deep reserves played most of the final eight minutes. The Yellow Jackets shot a season-high 71.4 percent in the first half of 20-for-28 shooting.
Casualty list: Point guard Josh Heath has his ankle elevated and iced at the end of the game.
Look who’s starting: The Yellow Jackets used the starting lineup of Lammers, Okogie, Quinton Stephens, Heath and Heyward for the fifth straight game. The first subs were Kellen McCormick and Tadric Jackson at 16:22.
Still ailing: Point guard Justin Moore was unavailable for the second straight contest with an abdominal injury. Heath, who had been ailing with the flu, was back to full strength.
Georgia Tech hosts Boston College at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.