For much of Sunday afternoon’s game between Georgia Tech and NC State, it looked as if the Jackets were going to emerge with a pivotal road win, but the Wolfpack made the 2 biggest plays of the night and held serve by a final score of 80-78 in overtime.
NC State’s Desmond Lee notched a tip-in with less than 20 seconds remaining that sent the game to overtime, and sophomore forward T.J. Warren put the game out of reach with the game-winning jumper with 5 seconds remaining. The Jackets were given a ray of hope in that Warren left those 5 ticks on the clock, but Trae Golden was called for an offensive foul with less than 3 seconds remaining, it was the death blow for Tech. Chris Bolden managed to get off a last-second heave at the buzzer (thanks to a well-executed play after 2 missed free throws by NC State), but the shot went begging and the loss was sealed.
On the brighter side, it was a career day for two members of the Jackets in the loss, as center Daniel Miller and reserve forward Quinton Stephens had breakout games. Miller scored a career-high 21 points (on 8-for-14 shooting) and pulled down 14 rebounds, and the always effective rim-protector was a pivotal force on both ends in this one. In the case of Stephens, most of damage was done early, but everything counts in a 40-minute game. The freshman forward scored a career-high 13 points in the game, but 11 of those points (which would have been a career-high by itself) came in the first 14 minutes of action.
Still, this will certainly be remembered as a heart-breaker for the Yellow Jackets, especially given the amount of time that they held the lead. There is no shame in losing a road game in ACC play, but this was one that Brian Gregory and company certainly felt they had in their grasp, and they simply couldn’t close the deal in the final minutes.