Beyond the view of most of the college basketball world, Georgia Tech is gathering steam. In a second-round NIT game late Monday night, the Yellow Jackets rolled over South Carolina by an 83-66 score to advance to the tournament quarterfinals.
Winning loose balls, playing with patience and keeping the Gamecocks off the offensive glass, Tech hammered a Gamecocks team that only a week ago was considered in the NCAA tournament field. The Jackets will fly west Tuesday morning to play the winner of Monday night’s San Diego State-Washington game on Wednesday night.
Tech’s superiority at Colonial Life Arena was evident with each rebound wrestled away from the Gamecocks, each smartly executed possession creating an open shot and each confidently released 3-pointer.
The Jackets led by 14 at halftime, by 21 less than a minute and a half into the second half and by 31 with 10:57 remaining before easing up.
Tech (21-14) has now won eight of its past 10 games. Playing with the same confidence and freedom that they showed in the 19-point win over Houston in the first-round game, the Jackets moved the ball in and out of the post and torched South Carolina (25-9) from beyond the 3-point arc. One of the country’s worst teams at defending the 3-pointer, the Gamecocks permitted Tech to shoot 11-for-22 from beyond the arc. Guard Adam Smith collected his 10th 20-point game of the season and fourth in the past five games with a game-high 21 points, including 5-for-10 shooting from 3-point range.
Tech also kept South Carolina off the offensive glass, limiting the Gamecocks to four offensive rebounds out of 31 available rebounds. The Gamecocks entered the game as one of the top 15 offensive-rebounding teams in the country at 36.3 percent. South Carolina scored only four second-chance points, tied for the season low.
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