Despite coming into the game as a “favorite” over the Dayton Flyers at home, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets suffered their first defeat on the basketball court on Wednesday by a score of 82-72.
While it wasn’t the positive defensive performance that we predicted in the game preview, the culprit for the Tech loss can easily be tied to offensive ineptitude rather than defensive effort, despite the 82-point barrage from the Flyers. The Jackets committed 19 turnovers in the game, and while that isn’t staggering by any means, the fact that those turnovers led to 33 points for Dayton was the key result of the game.
In fact, head coach Brian Gregory was quick to assess blame on the turnover battle in the post-game (quote from Ramblinwreck.com)
“I think a key stat in the game was the turnover situation. I’m disappointed in that. We’ve done a good job not only in practice but in some of the games in taking care of the ball. When you have those empty possessions and also baskets on the other end, it puts your defense in a tough situation. It especially a problem in the first half with the number of points they had scored off turnovers. Give them credit, they forced them. It’s an opportunity for us to learn and grow and we’re going to get better. We’re really going to have to tighten that up.”
It’s virtually impossible to defend competitively when the offense is giving the ball away with that frequency, and that was evident here.
On the stat sheet, there were some positive efforts from members of the Tech team. Daniel Miller had a breakout game with 20 points and 7 rebounds in 29 minutes, and his incredibly efficiency display (7-for-9 FG, 6-for-6 FT) paced the scoring. In addition, Marcus Georges-Hunt (16 points on 6-for-10 shooting) and Kammeon Holsey (10 points on 5 field goal attempts) kept up the efficient shooting from the field.
Trae Golden struggled in live ball scoring situations, shooting just 2 of 8 on the night, but the senior guard reaffirmed his reputation for the ability to draw fouls by getting to the line 10 times in the game. In general, Golden and running mates Solomon Poole and Chris Bolden (who was a woeful 1 for 10 from the field) needed to stop penetration in a more effective way, and that type of showing will continue to put big-time pressure on the back line of defense.
It isn’t embarrassing to lose to a quality Dayton team, even at home, and this isn’t a disastrous loss. However, it would’ve been nice for the NCAA Tournament resume to get what will look like a decent non-conference win, and now, the hope will turn to Dayton being as good as I believe they are in order to avoid what could seem to be a “bad” loss.
The Jackets will face North Carolina A&T on Sunday afternoon (2:00 PM start), and will look to get the bad taste of losing out of their mouth with a dominant win. Stay tuned.