BLACKSBURG, Va. — Georgia Tech lost its fifth consecutive game, 102-77, on Sunday to Virginia Tech. It hasn’t beaten an opponent on its court in more than a year, a stretch of 14 games.
Other than by winning the ACC tournament, the Yellow Jackets have no hope of playing in the NCAA tournament. Even the NIT tournament seems a long shot at this point.
While the postseason seems a long way away — there are still six regular-season games remaining — what Tech do to avoid a losing season for the second time in three years?
Getting off to better starts might help.
During its past six losses, the Jackets have found themselves behind by at least eight points in the first half of each game. The Hokies had an unfathomable 25-point lead with 7:41 remaining.
When a team is having trouble scoring, like the Jackets are, that’s not a recipe for success.
FSU was able to race out to a 20-4 lead with 10:37 remaining in the first half. Clemson had an 11-point lead with 2:58 left. That came after Tech led by 12 with 10 minutes remaining. Miami led by 11 with 9 minutes remaining and eventually pushed it to 21 in the second half. Maryland led by eight just five minutes into the game. Virginia led by 16 with less than a minute left.
Even in its wins Tech has had to come from behind. The Hokies led the Jackets by seven with less than 12 minutes remaining when Tech’s jump shots finally started to fall in the 72-57 victory in Atlanta.
“Offense is just not clicking,” coach Paul Hewitt said. “We aren’t making shots.”
No, they aren’t. Tech is hitting just 40.7 percent of its field goals, including a miserable 29.3 percent of its 3-pointers.
The Jackets had some good looks early against the Hokies on Sunday, but the shots wouldn’t fall. As a result, Virginia Tech bounced out to a 9-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. Hewitt said he called a timeout at that point to tell the team to keep running the offense and the shots would fall.
By the time the shooters found the range it was too late.
“We started chipping it away and then I had the error in judgment that I had,” Hewitt said, referring to the technicals he received with 7:53 remaining. The Jackets were trailing by 20 at that point.
Iman Shumpert said the players didn’t follow the game plan. That has been a common reason given for losses by a few of the players during the streak. He also said they weren’t aggressive enough.
“We need to come out and play hard,” Shumpert said. “This had nothing to do with coach Hewitt, this had nothing to do with the system. They played harder. They wanted it more.”
Now, Georgia Tech is left to ponder how to break this streak with Chattanooga coming to Alexander Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday, and a game at Duke next Sunday.
“We can’t do anything about this game,” Hewitt said.
– Doug Roberson, AJC