Georgia Tech forwards James Banks (1) and Abdoulaye Gueye (34) shot a combined 3-for-16 against Florida State on Saturday. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Georgia Tech offense struggles to convert at rim against Florida State

With its dangerously small margin for error on offense, Georgia Tech could not afford to do the simple things wrong. 

On Saturday, the Yellow Jackets failed to convert on numerous opportunities at the rim, squandering another good defensive performance in the 69-47 home loss to No. 17 Florida State. It was the third time in the past five games in which Tech has scored less than 50 points.

Big men James Banks and Abdoulaye Gueye were the primary culprits for the Jackets. Banks and Gueye combined to go 3-for-16 from the field, with most of those looks coming in the paint. As a team, Tech missed 10 of its 15 layup attempts and scored a measly 12 points in the paint.

The main man making life difficult for the Tech bigs was rim-protector Christ Koumadje, who stands at 7-foot-4. He finished the game with 10 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Tech coach Josh Pastner said that what makes Koumadje special is his ability to move at his size, which played into how hard it was for Banks and Gueye to hit shots.

Another explanation of the poor post play was the game plan and determination of Florida State’s defense. They keyed in extra on Gueye after his 15-point, seven-rebound performance in Tallahassee two weeks ago.

“Gueye has kicked us pretty good the last couple of times. Tonight, we did a better job of denying him the ball. I thought we crowded him a little bit,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. 

Tech had struggled with 3-point shooting in recent games, going 2-for-16 against North Carolina, 3-for-21 against Florida State in Tallahassee and 3-for-10 against Duke during its current seven-game losing streak. On Saturday, Tech’s corrected the long ball, but couldn’t make anything from close range. They shot 8-for-23 (35 percent) from deep, but only 8-for-36 (22 percent) on 2-point attempts.

The hope for the Jackets is that the inside scoring issue was only a matchup problem because other areas of the offense already look quite bleak. Of 351 Division I schools, Tech ranks 338th in made 3-pointers, 305th in total turnovers and 304th in offensive rebounds per game.

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