Last week, the Georgia Tech men’s basketball team was eating lunch in its dining hall and watching ESPN.
And that’s when the bulletin-board material flashed across the screen.
According to ESPN, there was a 97 percent chance that Georgia Tech would lose to Syracuse on March 4.
“We kind of circled this game when we saw that,” Georgia Tech senior guard Trae Golden said on Ferrall on the Bench. “We just really locked in.”
That they did. The Yellow Jackets stunned No. 7 Syracuse at the Carrier Dome on Tuesday, racing out to a 31-23 halftime lead and eventually winning, 67-62.
Golden scored a team-high 16 points to go with three rebounds and three assists, while Daniel Miller and Robert Carter, Jr., chipped in with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
“That’s what you have to do when you come on the road,” Golden said of his team’s balanced scoring. “We were just glad. It was a great team effort, and Coach (Brian) Gregory drew up a great game plan. We just followed it as best we could.”
Georgia Tech (14-16, 5-12) had lost six of its previous seven games, including four straight.
“Yeah, we’re definitely excited,” Golden said. “It’s been a long road trip. We flew (to) New York (from) Tallahassee (after losing to Florida State on March 2). We’re just excited we got the win. (We’re) happy to go back to Atlanta and just get ready for Saturday and our Senior Day.”
The Yellow Jackets host Virginia Tech (9-20, 2-15) at 2 p.m. EST.
Syracuse, meanwhile, has now dropped four of five after starting 25-0. Golden, however, didn’t think Syracuse looked like a struggling team.
“No, that’s a great team,” he said. “We knew that. Those guys are great. They didn’t look like a team that’s slumping. I just think we came and got a tough win.”
Indeed, Georgia Tech overcome 28 points from C.J. Fair and 18 from Tyler Ennis. That duo combined for nearly 75 percent of Syracuse’s points on 19-of-42 shooting (.452), as the rest of the team had just 16 points on 6-of-22 shooting (.273).
Syracuse also hit just 7-of-16 free throws (.438), while Georgia Tech hit 15-of-21 (.714). Golden was 8-of-8 from the foul line, many of which came in crunch time.
“I’m excited I got those to go in,” he said. “That’s what you have to do when you’re on the road – hit free throws. I’m just glad they went in and we got the win.
“We just stayed together as a team. We’re very resilient. That was the main thing for us.”
Golden, who leads Georgia Tech with 12.9 points per game, was asked if this was his best game of the season.
“I’ll say that’s the best win,” he said. “That’s what matters.”