5 things to know about Georgia Tech’s game Wednesday

Florida State forward Brandon Allen (40) and Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie (5) vie for a rebound during the second half of an NCAA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in Atlanta. Georgia Tech won 78-56. (AP Photo/John Amis)

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Florida State forward Brandon Allen (40) and Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie (5) vie for a rebound during the second half of an NCAA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in Atlanta. Georgia Tech won 78-56. (AP Photo/John Amis)

A surprise to all save the most optimistic supporter, Georgia Tech dropped an anvil on No. 6 Florida State on Wednesday night. Powered by a first half that was played with precision and energy on defense, the Yellow Jackets ran the Seminoles out of McCamish Pavilion with a 78-56 win, arguably their most impressive win since the arena was re-opened in 2012.

With a lockdown performance from the tip, Tech led by as many as 28 in the first half against Florida State, a team that had risen into the top 10 by winning five of its previous six games, all against ranked teams. Before the game, coach Josh Pastner said that the Jackets would need to be near perfect to have a chance, and they just about were.

“The guys executed and just a great win, a great win for Georgia Tech, for our young men and obviously for the recruits and for the fan base and all the loyal supporters,” he said. “What a great crowd.”

The Yellow Jackets earned their second win over an AP top-10 team, following their 75-63 win over then-No. 9 North Carolina on New Year’s Eve. It’s the first time Tech has accomplished that double since the 2004-05 season, and the first time the Jackets have done it in the regular season since 2003-04, the season they advanced to the national championship game.

ESPN's Dick Vitale weighed in on Twitter, praising Pastner for "an incredible job" and Tech guard Josh Okogie (who scored 35 points) as an "unsung #DIAPERDANDY."

Here are five observations from the game:

When the game was won

Tech took control from the start, leading 12-2 at the 16:27 mark and 31-11 with 6:30 remaining in the half. The Jackets suffocated FSU, which entered the game leading the ACC in field-goal percentage at 49.8 percent, with its effort and multiple looks on defense. Tech asserted control of the defensive glass, not allowing the Seminoles their second offensive rebound until more than 10:30 had elapsed.

“To be honest, I think we put ’em away probably the first five minutes of the game,” Okogie said. “Not saying that I thought we were going to win, but just the energy that we all had — we had tremendous energy — and then I don’t think they had the energy to match our energy, so were just feeding off that.”

Starring role

With his 35, Okogie became the third Tech freshman to record two 30-point games, joining the most elite company, Mark Price and Kenny Anderson. He posted career highs with 13 rebounds and five assists, evidence of the energy and focus he brought to the game.

He brought the crowd to its feet with a first-half breakaway dunk after rebounding a Florida State miss and helped thwart an early second-half rally by FSU when he was fouled on a last-ditch 3-point attempt as the shot clock ran down. His three makes stopped a 9-2 FSU run adn pushed the lead back to 49-24.

“He was as focused as anybody I’ve seen,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “He had another game earlier in the year where I think he had 38, so this is no fluke. He’s the real deal. He’s a very good player.”

Lammers dynamic

The Jackets were highly effective running their offense through center Ben Lammers, who fed teammates cutting to the basket with handoffs and also flashed to the basket for easy points. After his quietest performance of the season in Saturday’s loss to Virginia — 3-for-12 for seven points with seven rebounds — Lammers exploded out of the blocks with eight points, two rebounds, one assist and three fouls drawn by the time he briefly checked out of the game at the 16:10 mark. He finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocks for his 10th double-double.

Magnificent defense

Tech was first to loose balls, expanded and collapsed its zone defense to bother Florida State on the perimeter and in the lane. Second in the ACC in field-goal percentage defense in league games, the Jackets held FSU to a season-low 28.2 percent shooting from the field. According to sports-reference.com, the Seminoles have not shot under 30 percent from the field since at least the 2010-11 season.

“Their defensive scheme seemed to cause us to be extremely tentative,” Hamilton said.

Positive impression

Pastner’s team likely made a lasting impression on a few important guests to McCamish. Among the 10 or so prospects in attendance was Wheeler High small forward Jordan Tucker, rated a five-star prospect by ESPN and the No. 5 senior in the state. Tucker is undecided and can sign in April. Jonesboro High guard M.J. Walker, who was expected to attend, was unable to make it.

“We’ve got to get the recruits thinking Georgia Tech’s cool again,” Pastner said.

Beating two top-10 teams in a span of 26 days is a pretty good start.