After a tough, two-point road loss last month against the Atlantic Coast Conference leaders, Georgia Tech gets another shot at No. 9 Virginia on Wednesday night in Atlanta.
The tallest and smallest players on the roster helped the Cavaliers (13-3, 9-1 ACC) hold off the Yellow Jackets (9-6, 5-4) in a 64-62 victory on Jan. 23 at Charlottesville, Va.
Virginia guard Kihei Clark missed his first eight shots in that game and finished 1 of 10 from the field, but the one bucket by the 5-foot-9 junior was a doozy. His short jumper with 68 seconds left provided the final points of the game.
“He’s got ice in his veins, and I trust him more than anybody in a lot of ways,” said 7-foot-1 teammate Jay Huff, who had 18 points and five blocks. “He makes big plays for us, and he always has.”
Huff’s final block came with 40 seconds left on a layup attempt by Moses Wright, preserving the lead. Sam Hauser led Virginia with 22 points, with 11 points coming during a momentum-swinging 15-2 run in the second half.
Jose Alvarado tallied 20 points, eight assists and six steals for Georgia Tech. Jordan Usher had 19 points and six rebounds, and Wright finished with 13 points and five blocks.
The Yellow Jackets shot a season-high 60 percent from 3-point range (9 of 15) and matched their season low with just six turnovers.
“All you can ask for is an opportunity to win the game, and we had some opportunities,” Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said after the loss. “Virginia hit some tough shots in the second half. Gotta give them credit, but I’m really proud of our guys. They fought, they competed, they battled.”
The Yellow Jackets were in another battle Saturday against Notre Dame, this time pulling out an 82-80 victory and improving their home record to 8-2.
Georgia Tech overcame a 50-35 halftime deficit against the Fighting Irish, with Michael Devoe scoring 14 of his 19 points in the second half to fuel the rally. Alvarado also scored 19 points and added six rebounds, six steals and five assists.
“Our guys, every game we’ve ever been down — knock on wood — we’ve always fought back,” Pastner said. “Our guys have a resilience about them in all my time here. They’ve competed and fought and scrapped, and we were able to get over the hump.”
The Cavaliers climbed five spots in the Top 25 following a 73-66 home win against Pittsburgh on Saturday. Hauser scored a season-high 23 points and Virginia shot 50 percent (12 of 24) from behind the arc.
Hauser made 8 of 9 shots from the field (3 of 4 from deep) and all four of his free throws against the Panthers.
“Sam is so steady. He’s poised. He knows how to play the game,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “Sam was the difference in this game with his offense and his defense.”
–Field Level Media