With 13:43 to play in the second half, things didn’t look particularly positive for Brian Gregory and his Georgia Tech squad, but thanks to Trae Golden and company, the Jackets rebounded to steal a 78-71 victory over North Carolina A&T.
The visiting Aggies led by a score of 49-38 at the aforementioned 13+ minute mark of the 2nd half, but Golden led a 13-3 run that put the Jackets back into contention, and gave them the ability to persevere for the win. For the day, the senior guard had a game-high 20 points and 7 assists, and his 11 for 12 output at the free throw line (something he was famously lauded for upon arriving in Atlanta) was absolutely huge in giving the offense a boost.
Golden was flanked by Marcus Georges-Hunt (16 points, 7 rebounds) and Robert Carter, Jr. (9 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals), as the trio accounted for more than half of the total scoring. In conjunction with the offensive boost in the second half, the defense allowed A&T to tally just 40% from the field overall, and while the 3-point shot was dropping (10 of 22), it wasn’t quite enough.
Head coach Brian Gregory (correctly) pointed out that the second half was much better than the 1st (quote from the official Twitter account of Georgia Tech Basketball):
“The 2nd half, last 10 minutes, (our) level of intensity was where it needs to be all the time.”
Frankly, that is absolutely spot-on, and the fact that this game (with apologies to A&T) was this competitive is a knock on the focus of the Jackets in this spot. If the Jackets played at their closing level from the opening tip, it would’ve been the cruising victory that we predicted on Sunday morning, but with the lapse of performance, this turned into a game that was extremely dicey at times.
Georgia Tech will be back in action on Tuesday night, as the Jackets host Mississippi Valley State at 7:00 PM ET. Stay tuned.