Usher comes up big in Tech’s win over Georgia State



With Michael Devoe, their best player, beset by foul trouble and having an off-night, Georgia Tech’s Jordan Usher found a way to make the difference.

The senior made two free throws with 10.3 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime and scored nine of his career-high 30 points in the extra period to send the Yellow Jackets to a 72-62 win over crosstown rival Georgia State on Tuesday at McCamish Pavilion.

“Mike is one of the best shooters in the country. Mike had an off night,” Usher said. “It could have been anybody, but the ball came to me and it was going in and that’s how it is.”

Usher was 5-for-6 shooting from distance, with six rebounds to help the Yellow Jackets end a four-game losing streak, three of them against ranked teams.

“Everything they normally get from (Michael) Devoe, he provided for them,” Georgia State coach Rob Lanier said. “It was a tremendous performance by that kid.”

It appeared that Georgia State was on its way to a second straight win in the series – the Panthers won in four overtimes last season – when they had a six-point lead after Kane Williams made a pair of free throws to put them up 52-46. That ended a 10-0 run with 7:59 left.

But Georgia Tech kept pecking away – despite Devoe fouling out with 1:20 remaining – and tied it on Usher’s free throws. Georgia State’s Corey Allen missed a well-guarded 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game.

The overtime was dominated by Tech. Usher made one of two free throws, drained a 3-pointer, got two free throws from Khalid Moore and another 3 from Usher for a 9-0 run.

“Jordan Usher really came through for us,” Tech coach Josh Pastner said. “His energy was awesome. He made some big shots at key times.”

Georgia Tech (6-5) also got 12 points and seven rebounds from Kyle Sturdivant and 11 points and six rebounds from Khalid Moore. Devoe scored only eight, his lowest output of the season.

Georgia State (6-5) was led by Allen with 15 points, including four 3-pointers. Williams scored 13 and Nelson Phillips scored 11 before fouling out.

The Tech comeback was predicated on defense. Georgia State missed 14 straight shots in the final 5:09.

“I thought our defense won the game,” Pastner said. “We really guarded. It was just a gut check. A real team win.”

The Yellow Jackets took a double-digit lead for the first time at 29-18 when Khalid Moore grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed 3-pointer from the middle of three Panthers and easily scored on the putback. Tech stretched the lead to 15 on three different occasions.

Georgia State saved its best stretch of the half for the final two minutes, when Allen hit a pair of 3-pointers to highlight an 9-0 run. Allen’s long straight-on trey at the buzzer bounced in at the horn and caused his enthusiastic teammates to jump to their feet and run to the locker room, trailing 40-33.

“That was great,” Lanier said. “I felt like we had some fight from the outset. We looked like our former selves, in a way, and I’ve been longing for that. Even with that, we’ve got a long way to go, but I thought we took some steps in the right direction.”

Georgia Tech was without freshman Deebo Coleman, who along with senior Bubba Parham missed the game because of health and safety protocols. Parham has been out with a knee injury but was in the plans to play until gameday. Rodney Howard tried to play through an ankle injury that limited him to eight minutes.

The two teams will meet again next year in the final game of the three-year arrangement. Georgia Tech will be one of the first opponents to visit Georgia State when the Panthers open their new arena in 2022.