Marquette sends Georgia Tech to first defeat, 72-70


The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets had an opportunity to make a positive impression nationally with an ESPN-televised contest against Marquette on Thanksgiving night. Unfortunately, Brian Gregory’s team struggled mightily in the second half, and as a result, the Jackets suffered their first loss of the season by a final score of 72-70.

Things began in a relatively positive way for Tech in this spot, as they were able to accrue a slim, two-point lead at the half. The Jackets utterly dominated the glass in the first 20 minutes, snatching 21 of the 32 available rebounds, but aside from that, it was a relatively uninspiring string of basketball.

The second half was not as kind, however, as Marquette got things going offensively. Marquette senior Matt Carlino shot the lights out throughout the night, scoring 38 (!) points including 8-for-14 from beyond the arc, and he helped to key the Golden Eagles to a 14-5 run that would place the Jackets in a 10-point hole at 59-49 with less than six minutes to go in the game.

Georgia Tech freshman Tadric Jackson knocked down a three to snap that blitz from Marquette, but the Jackets waited a bit too long to mount their full challenge. The Ramblin’ Wreck presented a 10-3 run to get within three in the final minute, and when Jackson converted on a big shot for Tech, bringing the team within one at 69-68 with 12.3 seconds left, there was real optimism. However, the aforementioned Carlino gave Marquette a three-point lead with two huge free throws on the other end, and the Jackets could manage only a two-point field goal (somewhat inexplicably) in the final two seconds on the way to the eventual, two-point defeat.

Jackson, who was easily Gregory’s biggest recruit in this class, scored 17 points on the night, which represents a career-best in a Georgia Tech uniform. Aside from that, though, there wasn’t a lot to hold onto offensively, as the Jackets shot just 44% from the floor and 29% from 3-point land on the night. Losing to a decent Marquette team on a neutral floor should not represent anything disastrous for this team, but as Brian Gregory would surely attest, this was not an A-plus effort from the squad.

Despite the defeat, Georgia Tech will continue their run at the Orlando Classic at 6:30 pm ET on Friday, as they face off with Rider (who fell to Michigan State on Thursday) in a consolation round match-up. Stay tuned.