Tech does it with talent, but this time with a purpose, too

Tech's Moe Miller hits the floor and corrals a loose ball. (AP photo)

Tech's Moe Miller hits the floor and corrals a loose ball. All-out effort, folks. (AP photo)

Milwaukee – Talent had something to do with it, but it wasn’t just talent this time. It was talent applied, talent backed with planning and purpose. It was talent plus tenacity, and added together it means Georgia Tech will play Sunday.

The Jackets outfought and outthought Oklahoma State down the stretch, and even if it lacked in artistry, it brimmed with heart. There’s was nothing pretty about this, nothing except the final score and the date in Sunday’s Round of 32.

In the end, it was all D. Iman Shumpert stole the ball from James Anderson, and then Derrick Favors forced another Anderson turnover, and that was it. Tech held its nerve and made its foul shots, and the Institute banked its first NCAA tournament victory since 2005.

The first half was strange. Anderson, the Big 12 player of the year, scored only seven points and sat the final 6 1/2 minutes after incurring his second foul. You would think the Cowboys might have buckled. Instead they fashioned a turnover-fed run that gave them a seven-point lead.

The halftime spread was five points and made little sense. Tech had outrebounded OSU 17-9, made only seven turnovers — that’s boffo by Jackets standards — and sank all eight of its free throws. Yet the Jackets were behind, and we could see why in the stats.

Shumpert had taken six shots, making one. (The one was off an alley-oop behind the Cowboys zone.) Favors had taken three shots, making all three. Gani Lawal had taken seven shots but had missed four layups. Tech wasn’t getting the ball inside enough, and when it did it wasn’t always converting.

There had been nothing wrong with the game plan. Tech fed the post on its first three possessions and seized a 6-0 lead. But then the Cowboys settled down and started making deflections and playing to their strength, meaning speed. And the fast-break points were all Oklahoma State, literally: It had nine to Tech’s zero.

The biggest Okie was the smallest: Keiton Page, all 5-foot-9 of him, scored 10 first-half-points and made two steals. It appeared comical, this little guy trying to hang with Tech’s massive-by-comparison guards, but Page had an aggregate impact. He kept pestering the Jackets and wound up frazzling them.

Say this for Shumpert, though: He had started on Anderson and had rendered him inefficient. The guy known as Big Game James had taken six first-half shots, making two. His baskets were layups. Again, nothing wrong the game plan. Or, in this instance, the execution.

The Jackets began the second half more composed. They got the ball inside again and drew even, then in front. They were defending well enough — State had made only three treys in 27 minutes — and were again protecting the ball.

And the Cowboys, who subsist on treys, still weren’t hitting. Credit the Jackets’ defense for making the wrong men shoot, and deduct points (again, literally) from OSU for not hitting when they were open. If anything, the Cowboys’ offense had become inside-oriented — reserve Marshall Moses was scoring 14 points. But if OSU isn’t scoring from the perimeter it isn’t really OSU.

And in the end OSU was O-for-the-Big-Dance. Tech is 1-for-1 and will try again Sunday. And if it holds together then the way it did this night, it could be headed to St. Louis.

115 comments Add your comment

todd grantham

March 19th, 2010
9:38 pm

todd grantham

March 19th, 2010
9:39 pm

Tech won this with talent and lights out free throw shooting. If they had lost, that last time out would have lived in infamy.

jimbo h

March 19th, 2010
9:42 pm

shumpert missed one….make him run steps tomorrow…great win.

Chitown Jackets

March 19th, 2010
9:45 pm

mark, there was one thing pretty about this win, free throw shooting!

Jacket Backer

March 19th, 2010
9:45 pm

who was that shooting free throws tonight???

Go Jackets!

Greg

March 19th, 2010
9:46 pm

Best game of the year. Everything we sucked at during the season was perfect. If Shumpert plays defense against OSU like he did against Anderson (I thought he was good lol!) than it could get interesting(knock on wood). Of course a little more three ball could help too. Good win.

Jacket Backer

March 19th, 2010
9:46 pm

who was that shooting free throws tonight!

Go Jackets!!

Greg

March 19th, 2010
9:46 pm

I can’t remember the last game we missed one stinkin’ free throw.

old Tech fan in NC

March 19th, 2010
9:48 pm

How can you explain that free throw shooting? What ever it was, hope the guys/coach can keep it going!

Volman

March 19th, 2010
9:49 pm

That’s what I like to see!!!! Great game by my fellow class-mates.

You mean you’re not watching the Hawks LOSE to the Bobcats right now Mr. Bradley? Oh the humanity!

ACC Hoops #1

March 19th, 2010
9:49 pm

Lets get those Buckeyes!

prowl

March 19th, 2010
9:49 pm

How clutch was the freethrow shooting?! Go Jackets!!!

todd grantham

March 19th, 2010
9:49 pm

Mark, let’s frame this event properly: Hewitt almost lost the game by his on-going mismanagment of timeouts.

Greg

March 19th, 2010
9:50 pm

I guess the cell phones were a BIG problem during the season. Lawal’s stroke looked so much better too.

Kay

March 19th, 2010
9:51 pm

Is it just me, or did the officials seem neutral for a change?

IndyGT

March 19th, 2010
9:52 pm

Who sees we can’t play defense? I said I wasn’t scared of playing big guards bc of Shumpert! Evan Turner better watch out. How bout 24-25 from the line!! GO JACKETS!

Greg

March 19th, 2010
9:52 pm

That timeout on the inbound with one minute left after the 5 minute review was astonishingly his only bad coaching job in the game.

Ricky Sheppard

March 19th, 2010
9:52 pm

I told yall Hewitt haters.

Aztec

March 19th, 2010
9:52 pm

GT1973

March 19th, 2010
9:52 pm

Still undefeated in NCAAT games in Milwaukee!

Opinion

March 19th, 2010
9:53 pm

if we get by Ohio State we got a good shot at the Elite 8 and Kansas !!!!

GTfanForerver

March 19th, 2010
9:54 pm

Awesome win. #10 v. #7 = GT Rocks. One more game like this and we are in the Sweet 16. Go Jackets! BYW…where are the haters…gone…that’s good.

eddie

March 19th, 2010
9:56 pm

WOW! Hewitt really learned to coach free throw shooting overnight, didn’t he? Lemming idiots!

mutt H8ter

March 19th, 2010
9:57 pm

todd great ham,

You’re kidding right? I thought all mutts took Basketball 101. If you had a clue you would be impressed at how well coach Hewitt managed the game.

Not Disappointed

March 19th, 2010
9:57 pm

Just win the next one! Great game Jackets!

goatD

March 19th, 2010
9:59 pm

Glory be! A plan well executed, free throws being hit, lotsa talent, defense, and desire. All we need now is to learn how to in-bound the ball. Go Jackets! ps – WHO owns this state? Wonder what the hot recruits are thinking now?

Resign or Resign?

March 19th, 2010
9:59 pm

I thought the refs were neutral, but they sure called the game a lot tighter than the other games I watched. Lots of fouls called that I didn’t see, and have been ignored in other games.

Biff Pocoroba

March 19th, 2010
10:00 pm

At least this continues to raise Hewitt’s stock. With the loss of so many players after this season and the possiblity of being put back on probation for poor graduation rates, Hewitt may bolt for Seton Hall or St Johns.

sugarpikegang

March 19th, 2010
10:01 pm

Well done Jackets!

Get ‘em!

MalibuGT

March 19th, 2010
10:02 pm

Go you hairy Gauchos!!!

SlimG

March 19th, 2010
10:02 pm

Give credit where it’s due Mark, Hewitt outcoached Ford plain and simple. CPH would substitute for optimal mismatches and Ford could never figure it out. Ford would sub one player we would bring in two.

Greg, that timeout was a great coaching decision, possession of the ball really matter at that point and our inbounder was running out of time.

Great performance guys, everyone. Hewitt is a tournament coach not someone who makes the alumni get off like fat boy johnson. When are u techies ever gonna learn.

Just wish we had a solid point guard to run our offense.

Also great adjustment coach to their run and jump off our high screens. Fake the screen then go to the hole. Awesome job, now stop trying to run of our coach.

HAWKFANATIC

March 19th, 2010
10:02 pm

Most complete game of the season! Go Jackets!!

Executive Stinger

March 19th, 2010
10:04 pm

Kay, I definitely noticed that as well. A fairly called game all the way around I’d say.

Excellent defense, excellent free throw shooting (Holy Mark Price, Batman, WOW!) and Hewitt managed the game and his players’ emotions very well. Good coaching, great win!

Opinion

March 19th, 2010
10:04 pm

Hewitt definitely did a better job substituting however that last timeout about screwed us…..if we didn’t win…..that’s all Mark Bradley would be talking about !!!!

GTman:

March 19th, 2010
10:06 pm

How bout the Jackets? That a baby! Where are all the mutt fans talking crap?

Ohio State is a good team, but I feel that the Jackets are on a mission. If they beat Ohio State, then Tennessee probably awaits. GT can defintely beat TN. Then it’s Kansas, which isn’t playing that well right now. Obviously, I am getting ahead of myself, but don’t count this team out of making a run at the NC. THWG! GO JACKETS!

techster

March 19th, 2010
10:07 pm

Ohio State is next! Great game tonight. Would love to whip the Buckeyes and most likely play Tennessee. That would be a great game.

GTman:

March 19th, 2010
10:07 pm

I am still curious if anyone has heard the UGA score? Thought not! LMFAO!

Browncoat

March 19th, 2010
10:10 pm

Where are all the mutt fans?

Tech Fan

March 19th, 2010
10:10 pm

Free throw shooting.

ToeMeetsLeather

March 19th, 2010
10:11 pm

Good point Kay about the neutral refs, I think we even had a big call go our way on that last foul on Shumpert. Good game plan and poise by the Jackets.Bring on the little TEN(eleven)!

mack the knife

March 19th, 2010
10:11 pm

bottom line- jackets win and advance Hewitt is coach of the winning team all of you critics on here couldn’t coach or play your way out of a paper bag

dawgdude

March 19th, 2010
10:11 pm

GTnman you are a riot. You can definately beat Tennessee….what a joke. They would definately beat the techies. But you won’t get to play UT….because Ohio State will bounce you first.

Louie Jr.

March 19th, 2010
10:13 pm

Looking for Louie! Anyone heard from the lil’ cup cake or is he still miffed about his “date” not showing up at the Atlanta Eagle?

snapshot

March 19th, 2010
10:13 pm

Are the leg humpers playing any where??????????????? Did they win, what????? Oh, they are not playing basketball I forgot.

Browncoat

March 19th, 2010
10:14 pm

dawgdude….How bout them dawgs, hahahahahahahahahaha

Go tech

March 19th, 2010
10:14 pm

Congrats Jackets for finally getting it together, except for a bad timeout at the end by the coach. See this is what happens when you work on some fundamentals of basketball like making freethrows.

My Doctor said Mylanta

March 19th, 2010
10:14 pm

As an outspoken Hewitt critic all year, I’ve got to say job well done to our coach. We should have won this game by double figures, but we persevered in the end. I thought it was a very well coached game over all. And how bout them free throws?? GO JACKETS!!

Fungus McGee

March 19th, 2010
10:14 pm

A win’s a win, but Hewitt still has to go.

My Doctor said Mylanta

March 19th, 2010
10:15 pm

Dawg fans, don’t you have a parking lot to trash somewhere? Get lost.

louisville slugger

March 19th, 2010
10:16 pm

Why was Udofia a DNP? Just curious; if it was a coach’s decision, it was a good one. Get Miller and Shumpert the PT at PG…