Georgia Tech stunned at home by UMass-Lowell

Georgia Tech coach Damon Stoudamire saw his team lose after two victories. Photo by Danny Karnik / Georgia Tech Athletics

Credit: Danny Karnik

Credit: Danny Karnik

Georgia Tech coach Damon Stoudamire saw his team lose after two victories. Photo by Danny Karnik / Georgia Tech Athletics

Georgia Tech was stunned by Massachusetts Lowell on Tuesday at McCamish Pavilion, losing 74-71 in coach Damon Stoudamire’s first defeat as coach.

The Yellow Jackets (2-1) gave up 44 points in the paint, missed 10 free throws and allowed 29 defensive rebounds. They dug themselves a double-digit hole in the second half that proved too much to overcome.

UMass-Lowell received $120,000 from Tech to play Tuesday’s game. It was the second win ever over an ACC program for the River Hawks, who are 3-0 for the first time in their 10-year Division I history.

“We’ll learn from this. We just gotta get better,” Stoudamire said. “We got 28 more of these. I knew what I signed up for and I’m still committed to what I said I was gonna do. We’ll come back (Wednesday), we’ll look at the film and we’ll get better.”

For Tech, Deebo Coleman had a career-high 24 points, but the junior guard didn’t have too much help. Kyle Sturdivant chipped in 12 and had five assists while Miles Kelly was held to 11 points on 5 of 19 shooting (including 0-for-6 from 3-point range).

The Jackets missed 24 of the 30 3s they took and only tallied 11 assists. One more helper in the waning moments may have very well changed the outcome.

Cam Morris had put UML in front 72-71 with a three-point play with 64 seconds left. Then Sturdivant’s layup made the score 72-71 with 48 seconds to go.

The Jackets forced a shot-clock violation on the other end and called timeout with 18 seconds left. Sturdivant began the ensuing possession at the top of the key and tried to drive the lane, but his entry pass was blocked by Max Brooks. Andres Fulgencio sank a pair of free throws to ice the win and Sturdivant missed a long 3 at the buzzer, disappointing the sparse crowd of 3,778.

“We had an opportunity there at the end and unfortunately the ball didn’t bounce our way,” Stoudamire said. “I’m proud of our guys for fighting.”

Tech is off until Nov. 22 when it plays at Cincinnati (3-0), the first road game of the season for the Jackets.

The River Hawks began Tuesday night by calmly going on a 10-2 run and forcing Stoudamire to use a timeout less than four minutes into the fray. Coleman came out of that timeout and buried a right-corner 3 to start what amounted to a 16-0 run over the next 7:50.

Tyzhuan Claude’s putback gave the Jackets their first lead at 11-10 and then Claude’s finish off a pick and roll made it 13-0. Coleman continued the run with another triple from the same spot as before, making it 16-10, before Ebenezer Dowuona joined the fun with an easy layup at 18-10.

Kowacie Reeves puts up a shot for the Jackets. Danny Karnik / Georgia Tech Athletics

Credit: Danny Karnik

icon to expand image

Credit: Danny Karnik

Tech then slogged its way through a 4 1/2-minute drought, but the visitors couldn’t take advantage. A fastbreak layup from Sturdivant broke the spell and kept the Jackets ahead 22-16 with 3:50 to go in the half.

At halftime, Tech led 26-23 after shooting 30% and 2 of 16 from distance. It had seven turnovers and allowed 16 points in the paint but dodged a bit of a bullet with the River Hawks going 0-for-8 from beyond the arc.

“It’s rare that a school in our conference at our level can compete inside with an ACC team, both on the board and score that many points,” UMass-Lowell coach Pat Duquette said. “We can win a lot of different ways and we showed that tonight.”

After a slow start out of the locker room, Tech went on a 9-0 run to go up 37-32 – Coleman scored seven of those nine. But UMass-Lowell wouldn’t go quietly into the night.

Abdoul Karim Coulibaly’s three-point play completed a 10-0 run in 72 seconds and put the Hawks ahead 50-46 with 9:28 on the clock. Not more than two minutes later, Ayinde Hikim sank a long 3 (UML’s first of the night after 12 straight misses) to give the visitors a 56-49 lead.

The River Hawks built an advantage as large as 64-53 with 5:43 to play. That’s when the Jackets began their comeback and finally tied it at 69 on a Kelly jumper in the paint – but they could never get over the threshold from there.

“I preach this all the time, you gotta honor the game, man. You gotta come out and you gotta do the right thing every day,” Stoudamire said. “What happens is you play good teams and they start doing different things and people start checking your temperature on if you’re committed to being a really good team. That comes to the attention to detail. There’s some things that happened tonight that we wish we can get back, but we just got to continue to hammer ‘em home and turn those into habits.

“Right now we’re too inconsistent with our habits on both ends of the floor. But we’ll keep on working and we’ll get to that point.”

Hikim finished with 24 to lead UML while Brayden O’Connor had 18 and Coulibaly added 16 to go along with nine rebounds.