As you can see by the headline, this post is dedicated to my post-Georgia game thoughts, but you may be dismayed to learn that my thoughts likely are not the ones many of you expouse this morning.
The bottom line is, yes, Paul Hewitt may very well be coaching for his job at Georgia Tech this season, and in order for him to keep it, wins are going to have to start flooding the ledger. That's true, but that's also true of any coach in America. What also is true that to this point, Georgia Tech has been adamant about trotting out the party line in favor of supporting the coach that many may be grumbling about. There are no plans to make a coaching change this season, members of the athletic association have said time and again. But, of course, that doesn't preclude it from happening. The pressure is still indeed on to win for the Yellow Jackets and their coach who has been through this before.
There, now that I've put all those facts out there, let's get down to the real "thoughts" I have following Georgia Tech's 73-72 loss to Georgia:
Not finishing games:
A fact that has gotten lost in a lot of these losses the past couple of seasons is that many of them have been decided in late-game, clutch moments, and they have been decided by a series of decisions that extend deeper than the coaching box. On Tuesday, the play that was designed for the Jackets' final, hopeful play was one that had three options; the player, maybe overanalyzing, went for the worst of the three. The outcome, a short pass that was picked off, meant they wouldn't be able to get off a final look that could have potentially won the game on their home floor.
While Hewitt doesn't like throwing his players under the bus, he will tell you that at times this season already, the Jackets have played with flashes of immaturity and a lack of understanding how to either close out games, or bounce back from big deficits. I asked a couple of players about how they fell behind in the first place Tuesday, and at least one made a statement that echoed sentiments the coach has had at times this year:
… Tech out-rebounded its opponent for the sixth time in eight games this season
… Georgia joined Kennesaw State and Northwestern as teams to make 10 or more three-point field goals against the Jackets this season
… over the last two games, Tech opponents (UGA and Northwestern) have combined for 24 three-point field goals
… Tech played just its second game decided by less than 10 points (also 80-76 loss vs. Syracuse)
… Tech shot a season-high percentage from the free-throw line
… Tech shot a season-high three-point field goal percentage
… Tech’s rebound margin of +13 tied for a season high
Daniel Miller, r-Fr.
… had a career-high for rebounds (previously 6 vs. Charleston Southern)
… has had two or more blocked shots in a game five times this season
Mo Miller, Sr.
… played in his 92nd career game tonight
… his second assist gave him 286 for his career and moved him past Dennis Scott into 16th place on Tech’s all-time assists chart
… needed three steals tonight to reach 100 for his career
Jason Morris, Fr.
… after scoring no more than six points in each of his first five career games, he has scored at least seven points in each of the last three games
Brian Oliver, So.
… scored in double figures for the sixth time this season and for the 15th time in his career
… had a career-high for assists tonight (previously 3 vs. Clemson on March 2, 2010)
… his second blocked shot tied a career high
… his second steal tied a career high
Glen Rice, Jr., So.
… recorded his second double-double of the season (and career) – his second over the last four games (also vs. UTEP)
… scored in double figures for the sixth time this season – the same number of double-digit scoring games he had all of last season
… had a season-high for blocked shots
Iman Shumpert, Jr.
… scored in double figures for the seventh consecutive game, and for the 35th time in his career
… played in his 69th career game and started for the 68th time
… his first three-point field goal tonight was the 75th of his career
… needed 25 points tonight to reach the 750-point mark for his three-year career