Clutch Plays Helped Jackets Finally Get Over The Hump
One of the more prominent criticisms of this iteration of Georgia Tech basketball has been their inability to close out in big games. They lost by a single point to Georgia, trailed Kentucky by 4 points with 10 minutes left in the game, were within a single possession of Duke with 3 minutes to go, and lost to the Cards in Louisville on the last possession of the game. Time after time, the Yellow Jackets have faltered down the stretch in some of their bigger matchups of the season.
But last night was not the case.
In the latter part of this season, head coach Josh Pastner has stated numerous times that the next step that his program needs to take is to "close the door" on teams. In a 64-58 win over Louisville last night, the Jackets took massive strides in taking that next step.
Junior forward Moses Wright delivered an emphatic block on David Johnson to deny a tie game with a minute and a half to go and made a pair of clutch buckets in the final 5 minutes. While clinging to a slim lead, the Jackets also made 9 of their final 10 free throw attempts, including 4 each to guards Jose Alvarado and Michael Devoe.
"I just wanted to seal the game," Devoe said following the win. "They got us last time, so we had to come in here and get them tonight."
Devoe said they learned a lot following the previous loss to Louisville back on January 22nd. He stated that the main difference in there ability to close out in the rematch was their fight towards to the end. Sticking together as a team played a key role in maintaining the fight towards the end and getting in the win column.
"When we stick together and we play as a unit, we're a really good team. It was good tonight to get over that hump," he said.
Alvarado shared the same sentiments as Devoe, and was just as satisfied that they were able to overcome a major obstacle.
"[This win]'s very important, but we've had games like this with other big time teams. We didn't just open that door, today we did and we got the win," he said.
He also voiced the importance of capitalizing on this momentum and making a late season run.
"It gives our guys confidence, but we're going to try and keep moving forward"
Whether or not the Jackets are able to translate the energy from last night into a run at the postseason remains to be seen, but there's no doubt they took a big step towards that goal.
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