Alvarado, Georgia Tech Snap Losing Skid With Win Over NC State

Matthew McGavic

A theme as of late with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets has been their inability to close out late in games. The Jackets came into Saturday's game having lost their last three games—against Notre Dame, Virginia and Louisville—by a combined 13 points. 

This time, it was Tech that won in a close one, capturing a 64-58 win over the NC State Wolfpack on Saturday. It's the Jackets' (9-11, 4-6 ACC) first home win since beating Nebraska on Dec. 4.

From start to finish, junior point guard Jose Alvarado established himself as the best player on the floor. He finished with 26 points on 9-21 shooting, eight rebounds and eight steals, leading all categories in the matchup. 

Alvarado's eight steals tie Kenny Anderson's single-game school record, a mark Anderson set on Jan. 30, 1991, against Duke. It's also the most steals that NC State (14-6, 5-4 ACC) has ever allowed to an opposing player in a single game.

His performance tonight is magnified by the fact that GT's leading scorer, shooting guard Michael Devoe (16.2 PPG), sat out with a sore foot. Despite NC State's backcourt defense focusing on him in lieu of Devoe, Alvarado scored from just about everywhere on the floor. His hesitation move helped create space to get to the rim, he attacked the basket despite facing mismatches on several occasions, and he nailed a pair of shots from outside the perimeter.

Tech started this game with a hot hand, opening up with a 15-5 run before the second media timeout. But head coach Kevin Keatts and his Wolfpack made the necessary defensive adjustments and closed out the half on a 27-16 run to take a one-point lead into the half.

The second half saw both team trading runs, and with 6 minutes to go NC State possessed a 55-50 lead. Instead of faltering like they had done so in their last three games, the Jackets fired off an 10-3 run to take a two-point lead in the closing seconds.

It was here where Alvarado made the biggest plays of the game. With 8.4 seconds to go, he stripped the ball away from NC State's CJ Bryce, was subsequently fouled and nailed both free throws on the opposite end. And for good measure, he secured his eighth and final steal on the ensuing Wolfpack possession, putting an exclamation point on the victory.

Next up, Georgia Tech will be back in action in McCamish Pavilion this Tuesday against Division II Morehouse. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30pm EST on ACC Network Extra.

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