Digesting the Maryland loss

OK, let’s see how quickly I can bang out a blog with about 15 minutes to go before I board my flight back to Atlanta. I thought it might be good to clear the air after yesterday’s game and allow you guys to take a deep breath today.

You may or may not want to hear this, but I thought that was a heck of a game yesterday and one that showed many more positive signs for Tech than negative.

The way Tech played earlier in the year, that team goes to Maryland and gets blown out by 20. The fact that the Yellow Jackets just came a last-second shot from beating the team that’s No. 2 in the ACC is legit. Want to complain about the loss at Miami? I’m all ears. Should have figured a way to win one of those game against Florida State? By all means.

But that game yesterday was a sign that Georgia Tech is playing well as a team and making a push to play some of its best basketball heading into March. Derrick Favors was an absolute monster yesterday – season-high 21 points, season-high 18 rebounds, only one foul. He showed the kind of aggressiveness late in the game – including two putback baskets in the final 57 seconds, that should give Tech confidence and other teams fears that Favors is going to find a way to make things happen down the stretch.

He also hit both his free throws with 2:36 left. He’s showing you his fire right there, belying that calm demeanor everybody sees on the outside.

So does Tech take advantage of the progress Favors is making? They’ll need to in their final three games against Boston College Saturday, at Clemson Tuesday and at home against Virginia Tech on March 6 to get off the bubble and safely into the NCAA tournament.

The free throw line continues to be a big problem. Tech was 11-for-20 there yesterday, including 2-for-8 from Gani Lawal. That is a killer, no doubt. Outside of Lawal, the Yellow Jackets went 9-for-12 at the line. They need him to find a way to settle down and regain his confidence there. Just two games ago Lawal made 7-of-10 free throws at Wake. He’s got it in him.

And Lawal looked to me yesterday like he was trying to be too aggressive around the basket, if that’s possible. He went up seemingly too strong with a lot of his shots and didn’t have much touch. If anything, I think that comes from trying so hard. And I think as a junior, with a lot of experience, he’ll find a way to get his game turned back around from the last two game when he’s gone 9-for-24. He still finished with 12 points yesterday but Tech could have really used those two free throws he missed with 1:44 to play and the game tied 68-68.

Paul Hewitt said after the game yesterday that he felt like Tech was on the verge of something really big, and that he felt they deserved a break to go their way. The Yellow Jackets did play like that to me, that they are on the verge on winning a game or games like they lost yesterday. Just one more play and it’s theirs.

For a little perspective, I thought I’d include what Maryland coach Gary Williams had to say after the game yesterday.

“That game was a great game,” Williams said. “When you win a game like that and when you have been on the other side of that, which I have been, you have empathy for Paul Hewitt in this case because they did everything right to win the game and they didn’t. That’s the tough side of coaching sometimes and I don’t think they could have done anything different than they did. Georgia Tech is probably playing as well as anyone in the league, and I am sure down the stretch it is going to be interesting with what they do because of their toughness, size, guard play, all of those things that they do have.”

With that, I’m going to leave it to you guys. Tech will take today and tomorrow off, then begin practicing Tuesday for Saturday’s game at home against Boston College.

Note: I wanted to let you guys know that I’m taking this week off to clear my head for what should be a busy March between at least one trip to cover the Braves in spring training, maybe two, and covering the Yellow Jackets in the ACC and NCAA tournaments. I know a lot of you are down, but from what I saw yesterday, I believe it could turn out to be a busy March after all.

I’ll be back blogging next week heading into the Clemson game. Meanwhile I’m sure Doug Roberson will be posting and you guys will have a place to gather. Thanks for blogging with me!

98 comments Add your comment

GTGuy44

February 21st, 2010
12:22 pm

Same old same old. Hewitt is just a good coach. The negative feelings among alumni are more intense than they were for Chan Gailey. What really matters is his record and the fact that he has a losing record in the ACC since he has been at Tech. He needs to go.

GTGuy44

February 21st, 2010
12:23 pm

Sorry meant to say bad coach.

Buzzzed

February 21st, 2010
12:30 pm

“Tech will take today and tomorrow off, then begin practicing Tuesday for Saturday’s game”

Lawal needs no days off. He needs to be shooting 200 free throws every day. The Maryland game was a good effort by the team. I’m hoping to see constant improvement going into the ACC tourney.

Angus

February 21st, 2010
12:33 pm

I think that was the best Tech has played all year.

I understand (and agree for the most part) with the flak the CPH takes, but this one wasn’t on him. The players had chances to win this game at the end – you can’t ask for much more from a coach.

Nittany Jacket

February 21st, 2010
12:35 pm

Carroll,
Such a harddddd loss to take. Sheesh. Did anyone ask Paul about the free throw shooting? He was almost, dare I say, HAPPY at the press conference. We are less than a play away if the balls go in at the line. Here’s hoping he is finally right…….

Turnt up!

February 21st, 2010
12:38 pm

I am sorry Favors is now looking like a world beater with season slipping away. I figure if we are going to lose anyway, I hope he doesn’t dominate so that he will consider playing another year. Happened to Lawal. By the way, comparing the two, Favors has a combination of strength and touch. Lawal, not so much touch. In fact, Favors looks a lot more comfortable out there than does Lawal. Way to see Shumpert reaquaint us with his game. When he plays that aggressively, we can do big damage in March, providing we make it…

NoCoach Blewitt

February 21st, 2010
12:40 pm

You can not have Lawal and Bell in the game in the final 2 minutes …. both are HUGE liabilities ….. Bell turns the ball over routinely and in my opinion should not be playing at the end of the game but shouldnt be playing more than 5 min a game MAX

Lawal couldnt hit an ocean from 15 feet away so why in the world would he be in the game, at least on the offensive side, at the end of the game …. If I am not mistaken he bricked two more again within the final 2 minutes (which surprised NO ONE)

Moe Miller coming off 2 outstanding games rode pine the entire game basically. I am sure he is close to quitting and who could blame him. CHUMPert and Blewitt are playing grab a$$ with each other. CHUMPert is not a point guard but yet he is constantly playing that role. He has had 2 good games in ACC play in two years, which flat out means he is not good. Between him and Lawal I am shocked others get a chance to shoot.

Just fire this bum already so I can return to being a GT basketball fan and again attend games. At this point I do not think you could pay me to show up and watch another GT basketball RERUN…..same thing different day ….. same BS quotes from Blewitt “We are soo close”

Like I said yesterday I think Blewitt must coach to have his team gelled and ballin sometime around July …… which would make sense his record is a joke.

Carroll it being Sunday and all I do not want to have to do any investigation …….. What is Blewitts record on the road in the ACC over his career at Tech??? If I had to guess at most he has 12 wins …… P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C

BCWRECK

February 21st, 2010
12:53 pm

That was a good loss, a moral victory. This coach can play close and lose to any team in the nation.
Tech will play close its last 3 games, and in the ACC Tournament.
And if they make the NCAAs they will play close there too. Every game is a good opportunity to win and to lose.

Billy

February 21st, 2010
1:06 pm

“Moral victory”? Are you kidding me? It’s the middle of February. This is the same stuff that has happened for years with Hewitt. What a joke. I can’t even pretend to get excited about Tech basketball anymore.

409 yards

February 21st, 2010
1:12 pm

Cant win without making free throws. Regardless of how well we play otherwise the free throws are sucking the life out of our momentum. I thought we were going to get blown out by the terps, so the team deserves a lot of credit. Looks like another freshman of the week for Derrick!

Techman78

February 21st, 2010
1:13 pm

Blewitt seems sooo happy that we ALMOST beat a team on the road that consequently isnt even in the top 25. What a joke!! Everyone seems to forget though that this was a very tired Maryland team that had played like 4 games in 10 days because of having to reschedule from the snow storm. For goodness sakes the utah junior college for the deaf and blind could have played within 5 points of Maryland yesterday. If they had not have had such a tough week we would have found a way to lose by at least 10. This crap is not gonna change until we fire this bum. He is not a good coach. We will beat Boston College then we will get hammered by Clemson at Littlejohn and Virginia Tech will come to our house and beat us. We will finish 19-11 and Blewitt will make his self sound like a god because of our turnaround from last season. We will either go to the NCAA tournament by the skin of our teeth or go to the NIT and this loser will think that justifies another season of this crappy mediocrity. Fire Hewitt!!!

GO TECH

February 21st, 2010
1:17 pm

On to the next challenge… Played tough and didnt quit. Maryland is outstanding at home, second only to Duke.

UGAissolastdecade

February 21st, 2010
1:19 pm

Pls awful as usual. The 3 pointer at the end did not lost the game for us – the free throw line – once again – did. When they give us the NIT bid, we should turn it down – no one really cares.

SlimG

February 21st, 2010
1:22 pm

Blame the coach unless his name is Johnson then don’t u dare…..Give me a break bees, coach doesn’t shot free throws or play defense. This team has talent at a few positions, but still is a shooting guard and sixth man away at the very least. It’s incredible how some fans love to place blame on the coach, but probably never played any ball much less basketball.

jfanngt

February 21st, 2010
1:26 pm

When you loses 33 of your last 39 ACC road games, some will be close some won’t, you’ll play well in some and some you won’t but you just keep losing. I take no moral victories from this one.

LikesThisTeam

February 21st, 2010
2:00 pm

Really good game all around, but it felt like Tucker’s last shot went right through my heart. Too bad this great effort didn’t get a win.

The really good things were 1)Hewitt managed to work a good defensive strategy all day long and the guys executed: no big runs, no big lapses. 2) He coached the team back from 5 down to a lead in the last few minutes. 3) Everybody played well and made some improvements that were needed. The guys really picked it up. I’m predicting three straight wins to end the regular season and two wins in the ACC tournament. I will be a happy fan.

Jeffrey

February 21st, 2010
2:01 pm

I’ll repeat what I’ve been saying for 3+ years, “FIRE PAUL HEWITT AND FIRE HIM NOW!”

Jeffrey

February 21st, 2010
2:03 pm

SlimG—When year after year, players fail to perform on the court, you eventually have to turn to the coach. The one constant over the past several years is Coach Paul Hewitt. He either isn’t recruiting the right talent, or if he is, then he isn’t preparing and developing them well enough.

Steve T

February 21st, 2010
2:07 pm

I hold CPH responsible for another mediocre season with primo players. I hold him responsible for the loss to the Terps. I don’t think he puts good player combinations on the floor, especially where the PGs are concerned. Shumpert is our #1 PG? No way. 2 PGs in the game at the same time? Why? If CPH managed the players better during the game, making sure there is always a good, balanced team on the floor at any given time, making sure that the hot hands stay in the game while they are hot, and making sure the players who are floundering during a particular stretch sit down….I believe the raw talent alone would have given us a win with a comfortable margin. But the changes that CPH makes during games are detrimental to the team’s performance.

At least I only have to suffer through 2 more home games. We are poised for an 8-8 ACC record, an early ACC Tourney exit, and an NIT invite.

A couple of points re: CPH:
1. Chan Gailey is a better coach than CPH.
2. If CPH worked for CPJ, CPJ would have made the decision earlier this season to let CPH go at the end of the season (a la Dave Wommack).

white & old gold

February 21st, 2010
2:13 pm

we’ve lost multiple games to bad FT shooting

vs. Dayton: loss by 4; 11-20 (55%) ft shooting
@ FSU: loss by 2; 11-22 (50%) ft shooting
@ Miami: loss by 2; 8-16 (50%) ft shooting
@ Maryland: loss by 2; 11-20 (55%) ft shooting

that’s 3 or 4 games (depending on what you think of that 4 point margin vs Dayton) that we would have won with AVERAGE ft shooting. we win those games, we could be looking at a 3 or 4 seed maybe, who knows…

as it is, we’re slipping dangerously into a bubble situation.

Biff Pocoroba

February 21st, 2010
2:22 pm

You are right SlimG. You can’t place any blame on the coach. He doesn’t recruit the players. He doesn’t lead practices. He has no blame whatsover. He just cashes a $1.7 million pay check for nothing. If Tech practices the day before a game and loses, Hewitt claims that his team was too tired and that is why they struggled at the end. However, Maryland can play 4 games in 8 days and still be fresh enough to win at the end with less depth than Tech has. It is time to end the excuses and put Paul out to pasture.

RAMBLE ON!!!

February 21st, 2010
2:37 pm

11 for 20 from the f/t line…yes we can blame this loss on Phewitt.

Just being a average f/t shooting team, we win.

NoCoach Blewitt

February 21st, 2010
2:44 pm

white & old gold ….. pretty sure the FT shooting in the UGA game was horrendous as well

LikesThisTeam ….. can you please drop some of the stuff your smoking?? Win the last three game … .1. what in the f$%k makes you think Blewitt will win a game on the road??? 2. Anytime Blewitt has a full week to prepare for a game we lose, I expect we might be able to pull it out Saturday but that would be solely due to our 7th player being better than BS’s #1

NoCoach Blewitt

February 21st, 2010
2:45 pm

NoCoach Blewitt

February 21st, 2010
2:47 pm

Also LikesThisTeam if you are a gambling man let me know….. hell I think I’d put up my house, cars, and kids on this one ….. NO FREAKIN WAY we win the last three games

tony

February 21st, 2010
3:14 pm

I saw some bright spots in the game, but unfortunately, bright spots don’t win games. Tech is a good average team. Good teams win close games, though not all games. Tech doesn’t have players that cosistently give regular averages from game to game. It’s hit and miss. Lastly, there is no go to guy that wants the ball in the end that can take over like a John Wall type player. If they make it to the Big Dance it will probably be a one and done. We’ll see.

LikesThisTeam

February 21st, 2010
3:25 pm

I like the team and I like the coach too. Have you watched how the big guys rotate to help out in the paint? That’s good coaching and good execution. Tech never gives up a back door cut. They almost never give up a fast break. They get a ton of rebounds. There’s a whole lot coaching going on to get players to be in the right place at the right time. These guys are freshmen and sophmores and they’ve got defense down pat. The reason Tech has this great recruiting class is because the kids know he will make them better.

It is really hard to coach free-throw shooting. Some guys try and try but never get to 65%. I still put Gani in the starting line-up every time.

LikesThisTeam

February 21st, 2010
3:26 pm

NCB: My prediction on three straight is a bit optimistic so I will need some decent odds on the bet. Whatcha say to house, cars, and kids against a couple of beers?

Yurtle_the_Turtle

February 21st, 2010
3:36 pm

oh well…didn’t even watch the game. Not watching any more with Hewitt “coaching” this team. Never seems to win the close one because he has no clue as what to do to be a successful coach. Don’t care any more. GT basketball doesn’t get my time or money anymore…

dpj98

February 21st, 2010
4:04 pm

Ball Blewitt has a loser mentality, it’s as simple as that. When a coach says his team played the best game of the year and lost because they were unlucky, then he’s a loser, plain and simple. You don’t lose games on last second shots if they aren’t close enough to lose on last second shots. No one, absolutely no one wants that guy coaching our team. We got rid of Gailey why can’t we just give that clown his $7 million and be done with it?
Congrats to Gary Williams for coming up with the best joke of the day, joking that Tech is playing as well as anyone in the league. Let’s see, 2-4 in the last six, blown out by Duke, blew a 16 point lead and narrowly beat last place NC St, lost to a lowly Miami team, run off the court by Wake, beat a horrible UNC squad and lost to Maryland? Hilarious, Gary. I’d hate to see how a team not playing well would be doing. Williams must be smoking the same stuff Blewitt is smoking.

UGAissolastdecade

February 21st, 2010
4:12 pm

SlimG is not a Tech student or alum. He has no clue (ie. intelligence).

RC

February 21st, 2010
4:16 pm

It was a very good game…Terps didn’t blow them out …and it was a home game ..and that’s what they usually do..
next game…!!

William Casey

February 21st, 2010
4:30 pm

GT lost because Favors made a fundamental defensive error on Maryland’s last in-bounds pass. Same as Clinch did vs. FSU in ACC tourney. Not blaming it on Favors. Hmmmmmmmm

NoCoach Blewitt

February 21st, 2010
4:53 pm

LikeThisTeam ….. I like your betting style but I fortunately have no kids ….it was added to add a little oomph …LOL

I say we win Saturday and not again until the first round of the NIT (but who will care other than Hewitt)

Also, if the coaching is good please explain the issues with turnovers, the lineup rotations, and of course the lack of a single offensive strategy period.

Tubby Smith needs to move down to ATL and get out of that dud of a basketball school

LikesThisTeam

February 21st, 2010
5:08 pm

NCB: Turnovers come from playing fast. ACC is so much faster than where these guys were last year. They are getting used to it and fast, smooth play is coming on the offensive end. Watch Rice on this. He is getting it.
Lineup rotations are Coach Hewitt’s strategy. He changes lineup to get the specialists into the game. He will always have the offensive/defensive teams. With this team he is doing it less.
The offensive strategy is the same as any team with a big front line. Work the ball around to find an angle to get an entry to the low post. Receiver either moves to the bucket or kicks it out for a jump shot. It’s the best strategy anybody has ever figured out.

APD

February 21st, 2010
5:13 pm

We are a basketball school …..right ???? Aren’t we??? arghhhhh,arghhhhhhhhh

We EVEN LOST to UGA and they are not basketball school. Arghhhhh,arghhhhhhhhhhh

NIT will be fine for the jackets. AAAAAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAHAHAHAAA

Truth Hurts

February 21st, 2010
5:14 pm

And the 4-8, 12-13 poodles will be home again, working on their art history or excercise science “degrees”.

Crazy

February 21st, 2010
5:22 pm

Not only did you lose to my Terps, but you lost to UGA by 6…….. Ya’ll just flat out suck!

WoodstockDave

February 21st, 2010
6:42 pm

Hewitt’s contract is the most generous welfare program in the U.S.

messin with sasquatch

February 21st, 2010
6:50 pm

ugag sucks.
having said that, it gets old losin all road games. this game was within our reach.

Hattie

February 21st, 2010
7:16 pm

Can we PLEASE just run Hewitt out the door now and end this suffering. PLEASE!!!

This jerk couldn’t coach high school, much less an ACC team.

PLEASE. Get the tar and feathers ready and let’s have a farewell party.

4 jacks

February 21st, 2010
7:20 pm

It is a tough Hewitt contract to swallow. but it is time. We have to start all over again as Hewitt has made the program totally irrevelant not only nationally, but the ACC and most of his fan baseas well. If the man had a 10th of the love for GT and the integrity that Bobby had he would take a smaller buyout and resign. However, I will not hold my breath. After all Hewitt said no one wanted the job when he took it. I am sure he is an ok guy, but he has to be one of the worst D-1 coaches out there. All this talent this year, although it is not just about this year, and we will not be, or really struggle to be .500 in a down conference. Give a decent coach this talent and you would have a top 15 team and a 3 seed in the dance. Hell, we will be lucky to just get to the dance. However, enjoy this year GT fans, because this is as good as it’s going to get with Hewitt.

GT in SC

February 21st, 2010
7:43 pm

Shumpart = NOT A PG!! He is a SG!
Mo Miller was doing good at PG and needs to start the rest of the season.
Favors seems to be getting better. To bad the season is almost over.

Ricky Bobby

February 21st, 2010
7:54 pm

Let me sum it up.
Tech Sucks.

<3,
Ricky

Joe

February 21st, 2010
7:59 pm

You people are without a doubt the most pompous bunch of losers in all of sports. You’re the smartest people on the planet and you recruit only 5 star Rhodes scholars yet you underachieve in every athletic contest you enter. Get a life and back to your cubicle!

NYJacket

February 21st, 2010
8:05 pm

No one wanted the job when he took it? You have to be kidding me! An opportunity to coach at an ACC school located in Atlanta and he is the only coach in country who would want the job? Get real!!!!

Hewitt was coaching at a small college in upstate New York and was winning games against competition that was several levels below the competition in the ACC.

We get rid of Bobby Cremins and hire this guy???

Thanks Dave Braine.

DRC

February 21st, 2010
8:10 pm

Joe-You are a idiot.

Ozzy

February 21st, 2010
8:11 pm

Are you working on one of those Art History or Excercise Science degrees Joe?

79

February 21st, 2010
8:12 pm

Tech basketball….yawn…..

Ga Tech JR

February 21st, 2010
8:24 pm

Need a new head coach in Basketball, Ga Tech will never be a great team with Hewitt there. Look at the talent we have this year and look at our record. No excuse, boot Hewitt.