Ja’von Franklin steps in, powers Georgia Tech past Northern Illinois

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Georgia Tech outworked Northern Illinois on defense in a 68-50 win on Thursday at McCamish Pavilion.

The Jackets (3-0) finished with 48 rebounds, 10 blocks, and seven steals as they played fast and physical, keeping the Huskies from settling into a rhythm.

Forward Ja’von Franklin played a large role in the win, leading the team with 11 rebounds and 14 points. He finished with six defensive rebounds and also led the team with five blocks, earning coach Josh Pastner’s praise.

“Ja’von was incredible, a double-double and five blocks, he played great,” Pastner said. “I loved the blocked shots, I’m all about the shot-blocking and we need to have somebody on the all-defensive team.”

Franklin’s impact was not just limited to the defense as he impacted the offensive end early, replacing Rodney Howard, who was in foul trouble in the first four minutes of the game.

Franklin started fast, scoring the first four points of a 9:48, 23-6 run that extended the Jackets’ lead that the Huskies could not overcome. He credited his early entry into the game for his successful night.

“Rodney got into foul trouble and got me going early,” Franklin said. “It got me into the flow of the game and helped me with the motion of the offense.”

The game did not go perfectly, as Northern Illinois used a 14-1 run to start the second half to cut the score to 44-37.

Georgia Tech did not panic and settled into its defense to break the surge and secure the win.

“We knew they were going to make a run in the second half,” Franklin said. “The first half we came out with great intensity on defense, so they were going to make a run in the second half. We got in our defense and settled down and played hard.”

Franklin’s five blocks were the most by a Georgia Tech player since Moses Wright recorded seven in 2020 against Louisville.

If Howard continues to struggle like he did against Georgia State and Northern Illinois, having Franklin available to fill in and play at a high level like he did Thursday shows the depth of the team. He gives Georgia Tech one more weapon on both ends of the floor.