Georgia Tech Defense Stifles Hawai'i
A second half defensive show-of-force was the key to victory from Honolulu, as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets were able to rally back from a 9 point deficit and win 70-53 over the Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors. The victory clinched a Third Place finish in the 2019 Diamond Head Classic, and The Institute moved back to .500 on the season.
For the 9th time this season, the Yellow Jackets featured 3 different players in double digit scoring. Sophomore shooting guard Michael Devoe led the team with 18 points, junior power forward Moses Wright had 16 (averaged 17.7 in 2019 DHC), and senior center James Banks III had 11.
As well as they shot the ball (25-50), the biggest factor in the victory to end their trip to the Hawaiian Islands was as always their defense. But even for a defensively minded team like themselves, it was a performance to hang their hat on. Hawai'i shot just 36.4% for the game and a meager 22.2% (4-18) in the second half. The Rainbow Warriors also turned it over 19 times as GT relied heavily on the full court press throughout most of the game, and they only assisted on 5 baskets (averaged 15.3 heading into the game). Hawai'i also went just 1-15 (6.7%) from beyond the arc.
Like they have many times this season, Tech got off to a relatively slow start out of the gates. Hawai'i crashed the glass early, found holes in the Georgia Tech zone and the Jackets had early trouble with their shots as well. It culminated in a 3 point Hawai'i lead at half, and the Rainbow Warriors were also able to score the second half's first 6 points to extend it out to 9.
Fortunately the Jackets were able to find a bit of a rhythm on offense, and they fired off a 16-4 run to keep it competitive. However it could have reached a tipping point in the other way very quickly. Junior guard/forward Jordan Usher was ejected with 9:27 left to go when he assessed a Flagrant 2 foul after shoving his defender over his back.
But the Jackets did not cave, they actually did the opposite. From that moment until the final horn sounded, the Yellow Jackets went on an astounding 25-6 run, including a 21-4 run where they scored 8 & 13 unanswered. Hawai'i was held without a field goal in the final 9 minutes and 51 seconds of the game.
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