When 1st year head coach Josh Pastner was asked how Georgia Tech (11-8, 3-4) could find success this season, he turned to a baseball metaphor. “We’ll need to hit a lot of singles,” he said.
So far, they’ve done just that, and have done a great job of playing within themselves and buying in to their roles. They’ve managed to stay in most their games through a combination of grinding tempo and solid defense. They are 2-1 at home in the ACC (wins vs UNC and Clemson), and picked up a road win at VCU.
They also have the ideal recipe for a much improved team. There is the freshman (6-4 Josh Okogie) who is providing glimpses of someone who could be a future star. They have the elite recruit (6-2 Tadric Jackson) who is now just playing to that level as a junior. And they have the senior (6-10 Ben Lammers) who has come out of nowhere to have a monster final season.
Freshman Josh Okogie leads the team at 14.6 points per game. He’s had a 26-point game, a 27-point game, and a 38-point game. He is a proficient 3-point shooter (37%), but focuses most of his game on slashing and getting to the rim. In their upset of North Carolina, Okogie went to the line 13 times.
Senior Ben Lammers is right behind Okogie at 14.5 ppg, and averages nearly a double-double with 9.6 rebounds. He’s also 4th in the ACC with 30 dunks.
Quinton Stephens, a slender 6-9 wing, is inefficient, but scores 10.7 a game and grabs 8.2 rebounds.
And Tadric Jackson rounds out their double digit scorers with 10.4 per game, and he makes 40% of his 3s.
Despite having some offensive weapons, though, their offense isn’t very good. They have a hard time stretching the floor, and they turn it over on more than 20% of their possessions. They have the worst offensive efficiency in ACC play, and it’s not really close.
The reason they’ve been able to win some games is because of their defense. They do a great job shutting down FSU’s strength - in the paint and at the rim - holding opponents below 44% on 2s.
They are going to do everything in their power to slow the game down and Florida State is going to have to find a way to get quick scores.
The game tips at 7 PM and will be broadcast on ESPN3 and on regional sports networks. Florida State opened a 7-point favorites.