Yellow Jackets, Devoe swat Bulldogs
Athens, Ga. — Georgia Tech pulled off its first victory in nearly seven years in the hardwood version of ‘Clean, Old Fashion Hate’ after defeating Georgia 88-78 on Friday night.
The Yellow Jackets (3-1) built up a double-digit lead to start the second half, although the Bulldogs (2-2) started to chip away at the 10-point deficit. Georgia took the lead with just over five minutes to go as senior Jailyn Ingram nailed a floater on an assist from point guard Aaron Cook. However, after trading baskets, Georgia Tech would regain the lead, and outlast the Bulldogs in the final minutes to secure the victory.
The Yellow Jackets went on a 15-5 run to close out the game in the last 3:21 of play. Georgia had no answer for opposing point guard Michael Devoe, who led all scorers with 37 points on 14-of-18 shooting (77 percent). He also shot 80 percent (4-of-5) from the 3-point line and 83 percent (5-of-6) from the free-throw strike, while managing to rack up seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Ingram pointed out that Devoe was hard to guard and created a mismatch on the court.
“He was just too comfortable the whole game,” Ingram said. “You know, we were supposed to focus on him. That was the game plan but we didn’t focus on him enough. We left him get to his left handle and he was able to beat us with it the whole night.”
Ingram stepped up in the second half, scoring 10 points and collecting two boards all while playing with four fouls. He had two important baskets with under five minutes to give Georgia the lead before the Yellow Jackets’ long run. It was something Ingram is accustomed to, especially as a veteran on a Bulldog squad that has 10 new faces on the roster.
The FAU transfer said that he felt like he needed to step up when the game was on the line.
“I just did what we did all week,” Ingram said. “We tried to pick the weaknesses of their zone and try to get to those spots. It was all about finishing the plays, which we couldn’t do down the stretch.”
The Bulldogs were led in scoring Cook, who had 18 points along with six assists and two rebounds. Ingram had 17 points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal. The only other Bulldog scorer in double-digits was Virginia transfer Jabri Abdur-Rahim with 10 points, which was a career-high. He also had three rebounds and one steal against Georgia Tech.
Cook felt like he didn’t have enough command of the offense, despite leading Georgia in points and assists, respectively.
“I think we just made some costly mistakes,” Cook said. “We got away from our game plan a little bit. I felt like a lot of it had to do with what I was doing on the court. I had a costly turnover, so as a leader of this team I take full responsibility for the loss we had tonight.”
The Bulldogs were a mere 12-of-24 (50 percent) from the free-throw line and committed 14 turnovers against the Yellow Jackets. Both Cook and Ingram turned the ball over a combined nine times, which didn’t help Georgia in the long run. The Bulldogs will look to clean that up over the weekend as they are set to face some big-time opponents next week in the Legends Classic.
Cook acknowledged that playing a quality team like Georgia Tech helps his team vastly prepare for its matchups next week.
“I think they really showed us that we really need to improve our defense,” Cook said. “Offensively, we got some shots that we wanted, but the zone kind of messed with us. So, those are some things we need to figure out going forward. I think on Monday and Tuesday we will be ready for that.”
Georgia will face Virginia on Monday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Prudential Center (Newark, NJ).