Yellow Jackets have week off before hosting FSU

Georgia Tech guard Miles Kelly (13) attempts a shot against Wake Forest center Matthew Marsh (33) during their game at McCamish Pavilion, Tuesday, February 6, 2024, in Atlanta. Wake Forest won 80-51. (Jason Getz /



Georgia Tech guard Miles Kelly (13) attempts a shot against Wake Forest center Matthew Marsh (33) during their game at McCamish Pavilion, Tuesday, February 6, 2024, in Atlanta. Wake Forest won 80-51. (Jason Getz /

Now winners of two of three games, Georgia Tech goes into the penultimate week of the regular season looking forward to some much needed down time.

The Yellow Jackets (12-16, 5-12 ACC) don’t play again until noon Saturday when they host Florida State. The break between games is a welcome respite from what has been a grueling previous seven weeks of ACC contests, Tech first-year coach Damon Stoudamire said Monday.

“I think this is good for us. We got a chance to, not necessarily reset because it’s the end of the year, but just a chance to just kind of sit back and look around,” Stoudamire said. “I think this is the time of year you maybe start talking hypothetically about certain things, so doing a lot of that as well.”

Tech began its league journey this season on the third day of the new year against the same FSU team that comes to town this weekend. That would be the first of 12 conference defeats for the Jackets and the second of what would turn out to be five straight losses at the time.

Stoudamire’s bunch also lost four in a row to start February before knocking off Syracuse on Feb. 17. On Saturday in Miami, Tech held on for an 80-76 triumph over the Hurricanes despite not making a field goal over the final 7:03 of the game.

Miami cut a 13-point deficit to 78-76 before Kyle Sturdivant made two free throws with 11 ticks to play to seal the victory. The win was just the third road win of the season for Tech.

“To me it’s been indicative of our season. Nothing has come easy for us,” Stoudamire said after the win. “We did a good job of persevering.”

The victory for Tech did nothing to change the Jackets’ standing ahead of this week’s action. The Jackets remain in 14th place in the 15-team league, 1-1/2-games up on last-place Louisville, 1/2-game back of 13th-place Notre Dame (which swept Tech already this season) and 3-1/2-games back of ninth-place FSU. The bottom six teams in the ACC standings at the end of the regular season begin conference tournament play March 12 in Washington D.C.

So while the odds are certainly not in Tech’s favor to climb out of the ACC basement, that doesn’t mean Stoudamire’s team has thrown in the towel, he said. His Jackets also travel to Wake Forest (March 5) and Virginia (March 9) before the ACC tournament and any win moving forward could help Tech’s tournament seeding.

“Most people might look at each team’s record. But for me, we’re still trying to play out this string,” he said Saturday. “This was a nice step in, now, trying to finish out the last four (guaranteed) games that we have. We’re not giving up on this season. We don’t know what it has in store. We just wanna keep playing as hard as we can and as long as we can.”

Florida State has dropped four of five games going into a 9 p.m. Tuesday matchup with North Carolina State in Tallahassee, Fla. The Seminoles (14-13, 8-8 ACC) beat Tech 82-71 on Jan. 3 and since then have become one of the league’s top teams in steals and turnovers forced per game.

Saturday’s game is also the final home game of the season for Tech. The Jackets have gone 7-7 in McCamish Pavilion this season and need a victory Saturday to avoid the fewest home wins in a season by a Tech team since the 2011-12 squad also managed only seven. Sturdivant, guard Carter Murphy and forward Tyzhaun Claude will all be part of their final games in Atlanta.

Until then, Stoudamire added that Tech’s practice routine won’t change that much this week outside of an off day Wednesday and a simulated game at some point ahead of Saturday.

“We do a lot of the mandatory stuff. I don’t go over and beyond. I try to make the main thing the main thing,” he said. “I think it’s mental this time of year anyway. In terms of practice I’d rather watch more film, to be honest with you. You gotta get on the floor more so for timing things.”