ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets scored just 36 points Thursday night, their lowest scoring output of the season, in a first-round loss to the Miami Hurricanes 54-36 in the ACC Tournament at Philips Arena.
The lack of scoring set a new ACC record for fewest points in a conference tournament game since the inception of the shot clock. The previous mark was held by the Virginia Cavaliers, who lost to Duke 63-41 in 1998.
The Yellow Jackets held a 20-19 lead at halftime after the team slowed Miami down and played solid defense. But the Hurricanes exploded in the second half, much from the benefit of an 18-0 run that started at the 12-minute mark and put the game out of reach.
“It’s hard to keep digging in on the defensive end when you struggle to make any baskets,” Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory said. “We did, and we have at times this year (struggled). I thought we had some good looks.”
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Georgia Tech shot 31 percent from the floor and just 18 percent from behind the 3-point line. Most of the game when the Yellow Jackets were on offense, the team struggled to find a rhythm. The teams most successful moments came when junior guard Mfon Udofia broke from the offense and drove toward the basket.
Udofia led the Yellow Jackets with 13 points and redshirt sophomore guard Brandon Reed poured in 11 points. Reed found success driving into the lane to create baskets as well.
Even though Georgia Tech had trouble shooting and running its offense, Gregory said it was as much an effort of Miami’s defense as Georgia Tech’s off night with the ball. Gregory was impressed with the Miami defense that forced the Yellow Jackets into a harried style of play. Georgia Tech had more turnovers (20) than field goals (14).
“We didn’t shoot the ball well,” Gregory said. “Sometimes it takes some maturity when you’re not making shots, not to rush the next possession. I thought we had some rushed possessions. When you end up missing some, it magnifies some of your other flaws.”
“We kind of stopped doing what got us into the game offensively,” Udofia said. “We weren’t getting the ball inside as much and we weren’t being patient on the offensive end.”
The loss ended Georgia Tech's season with an 11-20 record.
Moving forward into the offseason program, Gregory stated that his team needed to understand what the core values of Georgia Tech’s program would be.
“We have some flaws, no question about it,” Gregory said. “We’re going to have to work on that. But the effort was not flawed, particularly over the last month of the season, even when we didn’t play well. Our first step is for the guys to understand what our identity is going to be and how we’re going to play. And then we have to believe in it.”
Udofia said he’s ready to take on the role of mentor, especially to the new recruiting class that will enter school in the fall.
“I want to be the one that sets the tone for the new guys coming in,” Udofia said. “I want to have a great senior season, both as a team and individually. I want to set the example that when I leave this is how the program is – hard work. When they leave they have to do that too. I just want to set that example.”