Georgia Tech entered its game against No. 23 Miami on Wednesday having lost seven straight games. The Yellow Jackets were winless in ACC play, and they’d be facing a ranked team on the road.
Needless to say, that game could have gotten ugly.
Well, it did – but not in the manner you might think.
Georgia Tech stunned Miami, 70-50, placing three players in double figures and shooting nearly 57 percent from the floor.
How in the world did this happen?
“I just think that we just stayed focused on what our task was,” Georgia Tech center Demarco Cox said on Ferrall on the Bench. “During practice, we stayed focused and said that we weren’t going to give up. We were just going to keep playing. We went out and competed as a team and played good defense and encouraged each other to keep playing and not give up.”
Georgia Tech (10-10, 1-7) dominated in the paint, as Marcus Georges-Hunt (24 points) and Cox (10) combined for 34 points on 14-of-18 shooting. Cox had a game-high seven rebounds, while Georges-Hunt added six boards, three assists, three steals and a block.
“I think every chance we got to compete, we were able to make the plays we should make in the open floor,” Cox said. “Whenever we get a chance, we was able to go ahead and make a play. When your name is called, you just have to do what you got to do. Whenever coach (Brian Gregory) calls your name, you got to be there to make the play.”
Georgia Tech clamped down on the Canes defensively, limiting them to 19-of-55 shooting (34.5 percent) from the floor, including 6-of-26 (23.1 percent) from three-point range.
“We just played Georgia Tech defense,” Cox said. “Before the game, coach preached about it. We’re just going to play Georgia Tech defense tonight and go out there and play together as a team. So that’s what we did. We just went out there and competed and played as a team and got a chance to get a good win.”
Georgia Tech finished with more rebounds, more assists, more steals, more blocks and fewer turnovers than Miami (14-6, 4-3). The Yellow Jackets also made three times as many free throws (18-6).
“Rebounding is one of our main focuses,” Cox said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against. We always want to rebound (our opponents).”
Although Georgia Tech had lost seven straight games, six were by seven points or fewer. Two were to Notre Dame – on the road in double overtime and at home by three.
On Wednesday, Georgia Tech was determined to get the ACC monkey off its back.
“We just came out tonight and wanted to compete and figure out a way to get a win,” Cox said. “That’s all we wanted to do. That was the only thing that was on our mind tonight – find a way to get a win. And that’s what we did.”
Georgia Tech hosts NC State (13-9, 4-5) this Saturday at 12 p.m. ET before hitting the road for a game at No. 4 Duke (17-3, 4-3) on Feb. 4.
Said Cox, “I just feel like this is the beginning for us.”