Despite the Fighting DeChellises’ best effort to choke away yet another game due to craptastic free-throw shooting in the clutch, Georgia Tech was unable to capitalize and fell victim to a solid 38 minutes of basketball courtesy of Penn State…Don’t get me wrong here, I’m psyched that we once again held up our end of the Big Ten-ACC bargain (even though for the 10th straight year the Big Ten as a whole failed to do so) but can we for once close out an opponent in seamless fashion?
- Talor Battle didn’t shoot particularly well most of the game, but still found other ways to contribute by distributing 7 assists to go along with his eventual 18 points. That’s great thing about Talor, he always finds ways to make himself relevant to the cause no matter how much of an off-night he may be having
- The real star of the game though has to be Stanley Pringle, with his 22 points along with his 4 steals, but most importantly he seemed to come up with a clutch basket whenever we needed it most. It seemed like Tech underestimated his quickness, as several times he drove past everybody for an easy bucket. Heck, it seemed like one of the plays Ed DeChellis drew up out of the timeout involved everyone else getting the hell out of Stanley’s way and letting him create something. Additionally, Pringle hit our only made free throws in the final minute, which made all the difference in the end.
- Danny Morrissey seemed to be a big momentum-killer for Tech as every time Tech would cut the defecit down to a couple points, Danny would knock down a trey to silence the crowd. His 13 points on 3-for-5 shooting from downtown tell the story.
On the negative side:
- The interior defense was absolutely nowhere to be found. Georgia Tech’s Gani Lawal pretty much did whatever he wanted to down low, garnering 34 points and 11 rebounds. I lost count of how many easy dunks/layups Tech was able to get on us, particularly in the transition game.
- Free throw shooting was actually pretty decent before the disastrous final couple of minutes. I don’t know what it is that creeps into the players’ heads when they’re shooting critical free throws but they need to reach a mental state where free throws are just a routine thing.
- What the HELL was DJ thinking not going for the easy layup late in the game and pulling the ball out instead? Even if he hadn’t missed the front end of the one-in-one free throw that followed, I still would be harping on him for it. If a basket is there for the taking, by all means TAKE IT!
- The seven-man rotation worked this time, but I sure hope Ed is still not relying on it come Big Ten season.
Again, while the ending was way more nerve-racking than it should’ve been, this is nonetheless a huge win for the team. A victory on Saturday against Temple at the BJC followed by beating the remaining cupcakes on the non-conference schedule will have us going into the Big Ten slate with a 12-1 record. Seriously, when’s the last time that happened? If we can go at least 9-9 in the Big Ten from there, it will lead to serious talk about a possible NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since the Crispin brothers were ripping the nets.
In the meantime however, plenty of work needs to be done defensively and at the charity stripe in order to make such a dream a reality…