Georgia Tech and senior forward Quinton Stephens made fitting history Tuesday night with their 75-63 win over Indiana in a first-round NIT matchup.
The Yellow Jackets, who have thrived at McCamish Pavilion this season, won their 16th game at home to tie the 2006-07 team. Tech is now 16-4 at McCamish. The 2006-07 team was 16-1. This team had the advantage of having more home games in part because it did not play in an early-season neutral-site tournament; the 20 home games is the most in school history.
That said, the Jackets were not expected to win 16 games altogether, and certainly not beat North Carolina, Florida State and Notre Dame on their home floor, nor Indiana, for that matter. If Tuesday’s game was the final one at McCamish this season – the Jackets will play there again if Belmont upsets Georgia in their first-round matchup Wednesday – it was a celebration of the strong home-court advantage that fans at McCamish have provided.
Stephens broke Tech’s school record by playing in his 131st career game. The record of 130 had been held by Malcolm Mackey, Marvin Lewis, Anthony McHenry and Marcus Georges-Hunt. Stephens has missed only two games in his career, one each in his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Stephens’ career has not been the most prolific, but his dedication to his game and the team have been consistent. He set the mark with one of the better games of his career, scoring 16 points with 4-for-7 shooting from 3-point range along with nine rebounds and three assists against one turnover in 37 minutes of play.
Like the team’s tying the home wins record, Stephens has been advantaged by the schedule and its length. For example, Mackey appeared in all 130 games of his career (1989-93), but Tech played in 20 postseason games (including the ACC tournament). The NIT game Tuesday was Stephens’ 10th postseason game.
Regardless, Stephens has been consistent and durable enough to be invariably available to his team over a four-year period.