Georgia Tech pulled off another upset in the ACC on Wednesday night as they jumped out to a huge first-half lead and never looked back in a 78-56 win over No. 6 Florida State.
1. Georgia Tech shouldn’t be taken lightly
Before this season began new head coach Josh Pastner made some statements about how the Yellow Jackets didn’t have a lot to be ready for the ACC this season. Something like that was to be expected. Georgia Tech (12-8, 4-4) is supposed to be rebuilding right now and a lot of their pieces are young.
Except Georgia Tech has accelerated its rebuild by showcasing some really talented young players who are proving to be capable ACC players.
Freshman Josh Okogie has been one of the best freshmen in college basketball in terms of production and he backed that up with 35 points, 13 rebounds and five assists on Wednesday. Nobody has put up numbers like that in an ACC game since 2009. Junior Ben Lammers (18 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks) has improved a ton since last season as he’s now one of the nation’s shot blockers.
Of the four double-figure scorers on the Yellow Jackets only Quinton Stephens (13 points) is a senior while Tadric Jackson is only a junior.
With ACC wins over North Carolina, N.C. State, Clemson and Florida State, that is a pretty solid group of wins so far as Georgia Tech sits as the surprising .500 team in the loaded ACC.
2. Florida State’s defense was disappointing
The Seminoles (18-3, 6-2) losing on the road in the ACC wasn’t the disappointing part of Wednesday. It was how poorly Florida State played coming off of back-to-back ranked wins over Notre Dame and Louisville.
Off-nights on the offensive end are bound to happen — and that was certainly the case for Florida State on Wednesday night. Dwayne Bacon (12 points, 4-for-15) had a rough shooting night and freshman Jonathan Isaac (six points, 3-for-10 shooting) slowed down a bit after a hot recent stretch. Florida State only shot 28 percent from the field and 24 percent from three-point range. Some nights, the jumper just isn’t going to go.
But Florida State’s defense didn’t show up in a game where they could have stayed in it had they gotten stops. Georgia Tech jumped out to the huge early lead and ended up piling 41 points on the Seminoles in the first half.
3. Florida State needs to bounce back quickly on the road
The next two games for Florida State also come on the road as they still have to play at Syracuse and Miami during this three-game swing. Losing this badly to Georgia Tech to start this three-game trip as the co-leader of the ACC is not a good look for Florida State, especially when teams like Duke and Notre Dame lost on Tuesday night.
Florida State still only has one road win this season, and that win came at Virginia so it was really good, but it also points to the Seminoles being inconsistent away from home. These next two games are going to be more chances for Florida State to prove that they can win on the road and be a factor in the ACC conference race.