This was a surprisingly interesting game to watch. The Jackets jumped out to an 18-point halftime lead on the strength of a very up-tempo defense. I want to go over a couple of stats from the game before giving my thoughts:
Daniel Miller has career game: The freshman had his best game in his young career, tallying 14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. It has been amazing to watch his development, as it seems like he gets visibly better with every single game played.
Steals: Georgia Tech had 14 steals, Savannah State had 0. Ever seen that kind of discrepancy? The Jackets only tuned the ball over 6 times, a season-low, and forced 22. That marked the third time this season Tech has forced more than 20 turnovers from an opponent.
Free throws: Tech shot 72% from the line, so that is not the story. The remarkable thing from the stat sheet is that Tech had 36 free throw attempts, while Savannah State had just 13. The total foul counts weren't significantly off, with the two teams getting called 24 (State) and 16 (Tech) times. It's not too often you see a team get almost three times as many free throw attempts though.
Rebounds: Tech was outrebounded 43-34, just the third time this season it has had a negative margin. The Jackets have utilized an gang-rebound mentality, and done so effectively in just about every game this season up until this point.
Three-pointers: The Jackets struggled from beyond the arc, shooting just 23%, its lowest percentage since the season opener. They allowed yet another opponent to have success from three, with Savannah State hitting on nine attempts and making 50%.
No bench support: Tech has had success off of the bench this year, with strong minutes coming from Kammeon Holsey, Lance Storrs, Jason Morris, Nate Hicks, etc. Tonight, however, they did not. The bench players combined for 48 minutes of play, and had zero points and 8 rebounds.
Shumpert gets second double-double: Iman Shumpert doesn't always play with the control and patience that you might look for in a ball-handler, but he continues to fill the stat sheet consistently. The junior guard led the team with 17 points and 10 rebounds, his second double-double of the season. He has now reached double figure points in eight straight games.
In the first half, the Jackets looked like they were trying new things, working on different defensive looks both in the full- and half-court sets. They had a lot of success doing so, and all five guys on the court pushed hard to out-hustle the opponent. In the second half, however, shots stopped falling and the pressure defense stopped working, letting the Tigers get back into the game. Tech was again killed by an opponent's ability from beyond the arc, as Joshua Montgomery and Jovonnia Shuler combined to connect on 7 three-pointers to help turn the momentum.
As the saying goes, a win is a win. But the Jackets have a lot to learn and work on before starting ACC play in the new year.