When we last watched Georgia Tech in a home game, the Jackets held on to defeat Clemson, 66-64, for their third win over a ranked ACC team of the season. It seemed they had started to turn the corner.
Then came Sunday’s reminder that this corner might take a while to turn.
The Jackets had the ball and a one-point lead in the final half-minute at Florida State. Then Zach Peacock missed a free throw, Glen Rice committed a foul at the offensive end, the Seminoles hit two free throws and the Jackets eventually lost, 68-66.
In the final 26 seconds of the game, Tech went 0-for-3 from the floor, 0-for-1 from the free throw line, committed two fouls and had a turnover. Such are the growing pains of a team that has four freshmen (Rice, Derrick Favors, Brian Oliver, Mfon Udofia) and a sophomore (Iman Shumpert) in its regular rotation.
That needs to change tonight against Wake Forest. If the Jackets are to return to the NCAA tournament this season, they can’t afford to have similar meltdowns on their home court. The Jackets are 14-5 overall and 3-3 in the ACC (wins over North Carolina Duke, Clemson; losses to Florida State, Virginia and FSU again). Wake Forest has slightly better records (14-4, 4-2), with a win over North Carolina and a loss to Duke.
I’ll be here, blogging live during the game. But with the calendar about to turn to February, the Jackets need to grow up quick. Let me know your thoughts and I’ll check back at tipoff.