Atlanta, GA—-It is something about McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta that has the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets seeming to be a totally different team.
The Yellow Jackets (9-10, 2-6 in ACC) doubled their conference win total Wednesday night by defeating Florida State (13-6, 6-3) 75-61 at the Pavilion.
The loss, paired with Duke’s win over Clemson Tuesday and Miami’s road victory at Virginia Tech Wednesday, costs the Seminoles its ACC lead. The events of the week so far drop FSU from first to a tie for sixth in the ACC standings with the Tarheels.
Anthony Polite scored 11 points and Naheem McLeod chipped in 10 points for Florida State. The loss stopped a season-high six-game winning streak – including five consecutive wins in ACC play – for the Seminoles.
The Seminoles committed 17 turnovers and had five steals, as the Yellow Jackets were able to convert them into points, leading the contest for just over 25 of the 40 minutes played.
FSU came out hot and led for a majority of the first half until the under four-minute media timeout in which the Yellow Jackets went up by three points, 33-30. Georgia Tech closed out the first half on a 19-7 run to take control of the game.
“We had tremendous energy, and then I don’t think they had the energy to match us,” Josh Okogie said. “We were just feeding off that.”
The first half was a disaster for the Seminoles, they missed 29 of 35 shots and were 1 for 11 on 3-point attempts.
The Yellow Jackets made some defensive adjustments at the half, they installed some ball pressure on the perimeter which work to perfection for them.
FSU were down 53-42 under the 12-minute media timeout in the second half but had an 8-0 run to trim the lead to 57-53. At the end, the Seminoles ran out of gas.
Considering FSU played 11 players Wednesday and GT played with just seven, you would think the Seminoles would have the stamina down the stretch.
That sure wasn’t the case, the Yellow Jackets closed out the game on a 14-5 run and the Seminoles had no made field goals over the final five minutes of the game.
Polite shot four of eight from the field (.500 percent) and contributed three triples. He also had a block and a steal. In the last three games, Polite is averaging 11.7 points (35 total points scored), shooting .583 from the field (14 of 24), and is shooting .667 from downtown (six of nine).
Georgia Tech’s Jordan Usher scored a team-high 19 points along with eight rebounds, while Michael Devoe chipped 15 points and five total boards for the Yellow Jackets.
FSU has now turned it over 13-plus times in each of its last three games.
The Yellow Jackets upset then-No. 9 North Carolina on Dec. 31, three days after barely escaping with a home win over North Carolina A&T. They also played then-No. 9 Louisville at home before losing, but returned with a win over a veteran Clemson team. So they are use to battling top contenders.
“In year one of a major rebuild job, this is great for us and for people to see what we’re trying to do and the vision of what we’re trying to accomplish here in the long term,” Yellow Jackets coach Josh Pastner said.
Florida State: Visits Syracuse on Saturday and Miami on Feb. 1.
Georgia Tech: Hosts No. 14 Notre Dame on Saturday and visits Clemson on Feb. 1.