Yellow Jackets Pull Away In Second Half
ATLANTA, Ga. – Yale's trip to Georgia Tech came at an inopportune time. The Yellow Jackets were coming off a win over No. 15 Miami on Wednesday night and were feeling pretty good about themselves.
"I was watching them in warm ups and you could see the confidence," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs.
It was evident in the game as well. Georgia Tech played consistently at both ends of the floor, and the result was a hard-fought 74-60 victory over the Bulldogs before a nervous crowd of 6,630 at McCamish Pavilion.
Yale, playing its final non-conference game, stayed with the Yellow Jackets of the ACC for much of the 40 minutes.
The first half featured six ties and eight lead changes and ended with Georgia Tech in front by just four, 37-33.
"We did a good job at attacking their zone to begin the game, but we didn't do enough around the basket to be successful offensively," Jones said.
The Yellow Jackets seized control with a strong start to the second half. Jose Alvarado made three 3-pointers in the first four minutes as Georgia Tech stretched the lead to eight. After a little over seven minutes, the advantage had grown to 15.
The Bulldogs made a couple of pushes but could not get closer than 10 the rest of the way.
Yale, which made six 3-pointers in the first half, was just 3-of-12 from beyond the arc over the final 20 minutes.
"I thought we got good shots that we just missed," Jones said. "We took 27 threes and I'd tell you that probably 22 of them were pretty good looks for us. If you make a better percentage of those you have a much better chance. I think that Georgia Tech turned up their defense in the second half which made it more difficult to get those shots."
Three players did most of the damage for Georgia Tech. Alvarado was one. He scored 23 points and had four assists in 38 minutes. Josh Okogie, the Yellow Jackets leading scorer who had 30 points in the win over Miami, was another. Despite some foul trouble, he scored 20 points. The third was a surprise. Abdoulaye Gueye, who came into the night averaging just 3.8 points, scored a career-high 14 points to go along with nine rebounds.
"We did a poor job of double teaming [Gueye] in the post when we had opportunities, and he did a good job of finishing," Jones said.
The Bulldogs finish non-conference play with a 7-9 record but considering the injuries they have dealt with combined with a hectic schedule that saw them travel more than 12,000 miles, and Jones has every reason to be confident heading into next Friday's Ivy opener against Brown.
"I see our team building and getting better," he said.
During non-Ivy play, the Bulldogs faced top-flight major and mid-major opponents, including Creighton, Wisconsin, TCU, St. Bonaventure, Albany, Vermont, Lehigh, Delaware, Iona and Monmouth in addition to Georgia Tech.
NOTES: Yale had won its previous two meetings with Georgia Tech - a 79-78 win in Atlanta in 1968 and a 101-95 victory at the 1973 Old Dominion Classic… Junior Thomas Ryan played meaningful minutes in the first half and hit a three-pointer that tied the score at 24 with eight minutes remaining… The Yellow Jackets outrebounded the Bulldogs 34-23… There were a number of Yale fans in attendance, including Gerry Parker '84. Parker played for Yale in the early 1980s and treated the team to an outstanding dinner at McKendrick's Steak House on Friday night. Jim Murphy '65, who served as manager during his time at Yale and is a great friend of the program, joined the team at dinner as well… The Bulldogs' Ivy opener next Friday vs. Brown is a 5:30 p.m. tip.
Report filed by Tim Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity