Georgia Tech can’t climb out of big hole in loss at Florida State

Georgia Tech guard Miles Kelly scored 20. File photo  by Jason Getz /



Georgia Tech guard Miles Kelly scored 20. File photo by Jason Getz /

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Georgia Tech put itself in too big of a pit Wednesday and, despite fighting a full 40 minutes to try to come back, didn’t have enough defensive answers in an 82-71 loss to Florida State at the Tucker Civic Center.

The Yellow Jackets fell to 0-3 on the road this season after dropping a game they led only 3-0 for the first 91 seconds of the contest. Florida State led by as many as 17 and withstood any semblance of an offensive run Tech tried to put together.

“Our competitive spirit wasn’t there tonight,” Tech coach Damon Stoudamire said. “I just thought the second half was different because we played hard, but I would like to believe that my team is not frontrunners. I don’t wanna get down 13-15 and then guys start playing hard. To me that’s losing basketball. That’s not what I’m trying to build here. So for me, that was the biggest disappointment.

“I was disappointed collectively, and I’ll take that hit, I just didn’t have ‘em prepared I guess. I thought I did, but I didn’t have ‘em prepared. I don’t like when my teams don’t compete. It bothers me. That bothers me. And I was bothered in the first half. When you don’t compete, consistently, it doesn’t matter about a play, it doesn’t matter about nothing. When they’re just beating you to loose balls, when they’re getting offensive rebounds, when they’re being the aggressor it makes it hard out there on the floor.”

Miles Kelly had 20 to lead Tech (8-5, 1-1 ACC) who had won six of eight coming into the game. Kowacie Reeves added 18 and Baye Ndongo was a rebound short of a double-double with 10 points and nine boards.

The Jackets missed 12 free throws in the loss, their sixth in a row at FSU, and turned the ball over 10 times. Tech returns home at 4 p.m. Saturday to host Boston College (9-4, 0-2).

“First half I feel like we were just kinda searching out there,” Reeves said. “I feel like we got a great group of guys and we wanna compete but sometimes when the ball goes up it’s just not there. Me personally, I could have been better with leadership as far as rallying the guys. We got a lot of inexperienced guys that are talented, we got a lot of freshmen playing, and I just feel like it’s our job as older guys that have been in college to help them find their competitive nature, find their competitive spirit during the game.”

Tech’s start to the evening Wednesday was not optimal, a foretelling of things to come.

The Jackets missed seven of their first eight shots from the floor, turned the ball over four times and went 5:29 between made buckets as they fell behind 10-3. Even after a Deebo Coleman short jumper got Tech within 12-7 at the 12:16 mark, FSU went on a 5-0 spurt to stretch the margin to 17-7.

Things didn’t get much better from there for the visitors. Florida State ended the half on an 8-2 run that included a Cameron Corhen tip-in at the buzzer sending the Seminoles into the locker room up 32-19.

Tech shot 26.7% in the first half, missed 13 of its 14 3-pointers and turned the ball over seven times.

“I didn’t think we moved the ball. We weren’t particularly sharp,” Stoudamire said. “And we worked on a whole lot of things – we knew that they were gonna pressure us, we knew that they were gonna switch, we knew that they were gonna take things away and we just didn’t handle that well. And it just put us in a hole. Sometimes people say, well, your defense can put you in a hole. Well tonight I think our offense put us in the hole. We just didn’t do a good job of handling the pressure.”

Florida State started the second half by building a 39-22 lead less than three minutes into the period. Tech, meanwhile, actually made five of its first six shots from the field but continued to struggle to get stops on the defensive end to be able to cut into the deficit – the Seminoles made four straight shots at one point to get up 49-35 with 12:48 to play.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere starting at the 11:11 mark, Tech went on an 8-0 run and was suddenly down just 51-43 after a Kelly layup 56 seconds later. But FSU continued to score easily on the other end to shatter any illusions of a comeback. Darin Green’s triple with 1:56 left, and with the shot clock expiring, iced the result by putting the Seminoles up 73-61.

Corhen paced FSU (7-6, 1-1 ACC) with 14 points. The Seminoles got 42 points from their bench, shot 64.3% in the second half and made 13 of their 17 free throw tries.

“They came in, they played hard, and whether they won or lose the game they were gonna make sure they competed,” Stoudamire said. “You gotta compete when you play against a team that presses and they’re trapping and they’re relentless. They’re coming in with waves of guys. They hit big shots when they needed to, timely shots that kept us at arm’s length.

“They kinda had their way. We never really were able to get momentum going to get over the hump.”


  • Ibrahima Sacko made his first career start
  • Tech’s 19 points in the first half was its lowest first-half total of the season
  • The Jackets had been looking to start 2-0 in ACC play for the first time since the 2005-06 season
  • Tech last won at FSU on Feb. 17, 2016
  • Tech is now 33-46 against the Seminoles and 11-26 all-time at FSU
  • Kelly surpassed 800 points for his career
  • Attendance was announced as 4,248