Near the bottom of the ACC standings, Georgia Tech next heads to Virginia Tech

Georgia Tech players leave the basketball court after Pittsburgh beat Georgia Tech during an NCAA college basketball game at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion, Tuesday, January 23, 2024, in Atlanta. Pittsburgh won 72-64 over Georgia Tech. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Georgia Tech players leave the basketball court after Pittsburgh beat Georgia Tech during an NCAA college basketball game at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion, Tuesday, January 23, 2024, in Atlanta. Pittsburgh won 72-64 over Georgia Tech. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Georgia Tech guard Kowacie Reeves may have said it best Tuesday after the Yellow Jackets lost at home to Pittsburgh.

“I think it’s gonna take collectively, day-by-day process and belief,” he said when asked what it will take for Tech to get the season turned around for good. “I feel like we can’t waver right now because if we waver – I’ve been on teams that’s been in this kind of place before, and it can kind of go either way, depending on the mindset of each individual. You have to really rally together and really mean it collectively as players.

“The coaches play a huge part in what we have going on systematically, but I feel like we should have that connectivity as players to rally and try to do something special, man, because time is running out. Time is … you can’t get it back.”

Tech (9-10, 2-6 ACC) goes into a 5 p.m. Saturday game at Virginia Tech near the cellar of the league standings after back-to-back defeats to Virginia and Pitt, respectively. First-year coach Damon Stoudamire has seen his team lose seven of eight since an 8-3 start to the season and is tied for second-to-last place (along with Boston College and Notre Dame, both of whom have beaten Tech) and one game ahead of last-place Louisville.

A miffed Stoudamire on Tuesday referred to some of the recent defeats as, “Groundhog’s Day,” as he has witnessed the Jackets making the same mistakes in execution and same lapses in following the scouting report. His team’s propensity for being inconsistent, like going toe-to-toe with Duke in a five-point road loss and beating Clemson in double overtime on the road followed by flat performances against Virginia and Pitt have added to the frustration.

Of course, the onus lies with Stoudamire and his staff to figure out a way to get the Jackets moving back in the right direction.

“I’m hoping that they pick it up. We’re gonna continue to go over the same things,” Stoudamire said. “It’s frustrating, but I’m not frustrated with the process. There’s nothing that, honestly, I didn’t expect. I’m asking a lot of different things from a lot of different guys. And it’s probably new to ‘em.”

Tech will face a Virginia Tech side that enters Saturday’s fray having won back-to-back games after losing two consecutive. The Hokies (12-7, 4-4 ACC) beat Boston College on Tuesday despite being outscored by six in the second half and giving up 44 points in the paint.

But the Hokies have been extra tough at Cassel Coliseum, where they are 9-1 this season, playing in front of a little more than 7,100 fans per game, and 43-11 in their past 54.

Junior guard Sean Pedulla’s 16.1 points and 4.4 assists per game leads the Hokies. Virginia Tech has 192 more assists than turnovers, second only to Virginia among ACC teams, and is the league’s second-best shooting team at a 46.9 clip.

Tech has won twice in 13 tries in Blacksburg, Virginia, in 2021 and 2013.

“(Virginia) Tech is getting healthy, and they’ve really been playing well. They’re shooting the ball well,” Stoudamire said. “They’re shooting the ball well from 3, and they usually put at least 2-3 guys out there that can make shots. It is a challenge, but nothing that we haven’t faced before. The biggest thing is this group has responded. It has responded when it has needed to, and I don’t expect anything different (Saturday).”

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