Georgia Tech ran play to free Michael Devoe from slump: ‘It felt great’

012322 Atlanta: Georgia Tech guard Michael Devoe goes to the basket for two agains Clayton State forward Ricardo Lynch in a NCAA college basketball game on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Atlanta.   “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”`

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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012322 Atlanta: Georgia Tech guard Michael Devoe goes to the basket for two agains Clayton State forward Ricardo Lynch in a NCAA college basketball game on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Atlanta. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”`

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

On Georgia Tech’s first possession of its game against Clayton State on Sunday, guard Michael Devoe ran his man through the paint before popping out to the 3-point arc on the right side. Devoe took a pass from guard Kyle Sturdivant, set his feet and fired.

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Devoe was in a slump – in the previous seven games, he made 25% of his 3-point tries after averaging 52.8% in his first nine. That’s why coach Josh Pastner, in this rare non-conference game against a Division II opponent, designed a play specifically to free him for a 3-pointer.

For Devoe, there was the benefit of knowing he was going to get a clear shot, but also the weight of having to make a shot on a play specifically designed to help him get out of his slump.

“It’s kind of like a mixture of both,” he said Tuesday. “When you have some type of plays that you set up where you know you’re going to get it in certain spots or certain areas, you know that you’re really good at and you excel at – for that first play that we ran against Clayton State, that was a good one, because that’s one of my favorite spots to shoot from. To be able to come off that screen, I had my feet set and I knew it was good coming off my hand.”

The ball bounced off the front of the rim and then off the backboard before finally falling through the hoop.

“It felt great,” Devoe said.

Devoe finished the game with 20 points, making 4-for-7 from 3-point range. He easily could have scored more in the 103-53 win over the Lakers, but chose to get his teammates involved, accumulating seven assists, tying his season high.

Devoe will find out if his binge against an overmatched Clayton State team will carry over. The Jackets play Florida State, tied for first place with Miami, Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion. The Jackets, who had lost nine of their previous 11 before the Clayton State game and are in last place in the ACC at 1-6 (8-10 overall), play Miami at home Saturday.

Devoe called it one of the biggest weeks of the season thus far.

Said Devoe, “We’ve had a tough schedule all year, but right here, this is something we really want right now – this opportunity to be able to play these top teams right here and hopefully get a win from these two games.”

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