Georgia Tech (10-7, 1-3) played admirably against one of the better teams in the ACC so far this basketball season, but Pitt (16-1, 4-0) was able to regroup in the second half and pull away from the Yellow Jackets to win 81-74.
The Jackets actually led the first half 35-32 thanks to some solid 3-point shooting from the team, but once the Panthers came out in the second half, it was just too much for Tech to handle.
Pitt pounded the ball inside for the rest of the game and there wasn’t a whole lot the Jackets could do to stop them. Talib Zanna was particularly effective down low for the Panthers, scoring 22 points and picking up eight boards. His presence down low was probably also a contributing factor to Daniel Miller’s slow down in the rebounding area.
While Miller is averaging 8.2 rebounds on the season, in this one, he was only able to pull down four. Rebounding turned out to be a huge key to the game, where Pitt held a 38-18 advantage. In addition to Zanna’s nine boards, Lamar Patterson and Michael Young each picked up seven of their own.
Once again, Trae Golden led the way for the Jackets offensively and made a fantastic push near the end of the game to bring the Jackets within four points. With under a minute to play, and Georgia Tech down 75-67, Golden scored seven points in 20 seconds to bring the Jackets within four points (78-74). But, the Jackets were forced to foul and the Panthers did what they needed to at the free throw line to put a pretty competitive game away.
Golden finished the game as Tech’s leading scorer with 22 points on a 6-16 night from the floor, and 4-10 from 3-point range. Those might not be the most efficient numbers in the world, but Golden proved again tonight that he can be relied on in clutch situations. He was also effective, yet again, in getting to the line. The senior guard took eight free throws and sunk six of them
While it’s obviously not good to lose, it was a solid showing for the Jackets against arguably the second best team in the conference at this point. An interesting note is that this was the first time Pitt has ever taken down the Jackets on the hardwood, with Georgia Tech previously owning the Panthers, 5-0 overall.