With just under a minute to play, for instance, forward Marcus Georges-Hunt drove the lane for a layup but missed. Forward Robert Sampson and center Demarco Cox were in position for an offensive rebound, Gregory said, but couldn’t secure the ball.
“If the ball bounces a little different, Robert’s right at the rim for the tip,” he said.
While the agony of the team and fans builds with the losses, Gregory continues to look optimistically at the remainder of the season. After the disastrous offensive performance against Syracuse (Tech’s 26.3 percent shooting from the field was the lowest of Gregory’s tenure), the Jackets shot 43.8 percent in the past two games and 41.7 percent from 3-point range. The latter is particularly remarkable, as Tech ranked last in Division I in 3-point shooting percentage before the Wake Forest game Saturday, at 23.4 percent. The Jackets have improved to second-to-last.
With guards Josh Heath and Corey Heyward replacing Travis Jorgenson and Chris Bolden in the starting lineup, Tech held Notre Dame to 43.5 percent shooting, the Irish’s second-lowest rate of the season.
“All those things, we’re improving,” Gregory said. “We just need to keep on the track, keep chugging along.”
Against Syracuse, Tech scored four points in the final five minutes, missing all seven field-goal attempts. Against the Irish on Wednesday, the Jackets scored five points in the final five minutes, making one of five field-goal tries. (On the other hand, Tech scored nine points in the final five minutes of the second half in the first game against Notre Dame, coming back from a three-point deficit to force overtime.)
“We do a lot of end-of-game special situations,” Gregory said. “Special teams, we call them. You’ve got to keep working on it.”
Last season, Tech was 3-3 in ACC regular-season games that were decided by five points or fewer.
Gregory said that he’ll stay with the same starting lineup from the Notre Dame game, with Heyward getting his second start of the season and Heath his fourth.
“We need to keep fighting,” Gregory said. “I have all the confidence in the world our guys will continue to do that.”