Georgia Tech Blog

A sports blog about the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Reviewing Georgia Tech's loss to No. 8 Duke

Looking back at Georgia Tech's 110-57 loss to No. 8 Duke in Durham, N.C. You can read the game story here and the "5 things" recap here . Quotes from both coaches (including Mike Krzyzewski's explanation of why Grayson Allen was suspended for one game) here .

Four factors*

The first line says it all. Duke shot the lights out and Tech was wretched. To put it some context, UCLA leads Division I in effective field-goal percentage at 62.5 percent. Coppin State is dead last at 38.1 percent.

The Blue Devils and the Jackets were outside those extremes, and a 53-point margin of victory was the result.

*Four factors follows the idea that the four statistics that most lead to success are effective field-goal percentage (which weights 3-point baskets proportionately), turnover percentage, offensive rebounding percentage and free throws per field-goal attempts.

Thought of the game

A team with much better talent played really well against a team with less talent that didn’t play well at all. Duke moved the Jackets around like pieces on a chess board to set up open shots. Duke guard Grayson Allen, returning from his suspension after one game, had a pass-first mentality, taking just five shots (he averaged 12.2 in his first 12 games) while picking up seven assists. Feasting on open jumpers and shots at the rim, Duke shot 55.7 percent from the field, including 16-for-31 from 3-point range.

“We were very unselfish; seven guys in double figures, 24 assists, so good job by our group,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Tech didn’t respond well. Duke played well on defense, and Tech exacerbated matters by frequently rushing the offense, seemingly in a hurry to get back in the game. There were a lot of shots taken after one or no passes, which is not the game that Tech plays. Coach Josh Pastner wants the team moving the ball from one side to the other in hopes of loosening the defense and creating gaps. A shot followed by a pass doesn’t do that.

“We try to run our stuff, and they did a good job of pressuring us,” Pastner said. “We have limitations offensively.”

Stat of the game

The 53-point margin of victory was the fifth largest for an ACC game in league history, and the largest since Feb. 1965. That is to say, the ACC has played 51 complete seasons since Feb. 1965 with a lot of great teams and a number of very weak ones, and Wednesday night’s game was more lopsided than any in that span.

Individually speaking

Center Ben Lammers was probably Tech’s best player on the floor. He fought hard for rebounds and showed excellent vision in finding open teammates for jump shots and cutters. He took some tough shots, though, and was 3-for-9. He finished with nine points, a team-high nine rebounds and a team-high three assists.

Forward Quinton Stephens made two big baskets on successive possessions early before the game got away – a layup off a handoff from Lammers and a 3-pointer from the corner on a pass from point guard Josh Heath – and did not turn the ball over. He had nine points, six rebounds and an assist.

Quote of the game

“Not much to say other than we got our butts kicked tonight. The way Duke was shooting, it was like they were standing on a pier shooting into the ocean tonight.” – coach Josh Pastner

From my iPhone

A photo I took of Krzyzewski as he walked to the bench before the game. As you likely know, he took a leave of absence after the game to undergo back surgery. It was clear watching him walk, stiffly and grimacing, that he was in a good bit of pain. The expectation is a a four-week absence.

On a personal note

It was the first game I’ve covered at Cameron Indoor Stadium. I confess I had been looking to it more than most trips. It’s a unique venue, first because of the intimacy and look of the building and second because of the atmosphere.

It probably wasn’t at its peak because students hadn’t returned for the semester – there were no cheerleaders or mascot, and the band looked suspiciously gray – but it was still pretty raucous. I don’t know that it’s significantly louder than other arenas in the league – Pitt’s Petersen Events Center comes to mind; the students there are also right on the court – but it's iconic, helped by the team's success and media exposure.

I imagine Tech’s players won’t forget it for a while.


Tech plays No. 10 Louisville Saturday at McCamish Pavilion at 2 p.m.

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