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Inside The Chart – Boston College – Men’s Basketball — Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Inside The Chart – Boston College – Men's Basketball — Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
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By Andy Demetra | Voice of the Yellow Jackets

The line between elation and deflation can be excruciatingly narrow, a lesson Georgia Tech has learned a lot over the past few weeks. Three of the Yellow Jackets’ last four games have been decided by four points or less, a streak that included another haunted ending at Littlejohn Coliseum Wednesday.

Tech found itself on the right side of that line January 12 in Chestnut Hill, rallying from a late current to outlast Boston College 81-76 at Conte Forum. The game earned Georgia Tech (11-19, 4-15 ACC) its first ACC win of the season after a four-game losing streak. The Jackets can now bookend their regular season with another win over the Eagles (11-18, 6-12 ACC) to snap a four-game losing streak. They can also send out their four seniors – players who bought in to Josh Pastner’s vision and became the brick and mortar of an NCAA Tournament team – with one last win at McCamish Pavilion.

Enjoy the top notes and quotes from my chart as Tech draws the curtain on the regular season in Atlanta (Noon ET, Georgia Tech Sports Network from Legends Sports):

With a closing flurry, Michael Devoe could become just the fifth Tech player to shoot 40 percent from three-point range over his career. (photo by Danny Karnik)

Tech’s first game with BC may forever be known as the “Tristan Maxwell game” after the sophomore exploded for 22 out-of-nowhere points off the bench. But equally important was Georgia Tech’s play against Boston College starting guards, freshman Jaeden Zackery and junior Makai Ashton-Langford. Zackery committed a season-high six turnswhile Ashton-Langford finished with a season low-tying four points (2-11 FG, 0-7 3pt.).

Expect those two to factor heavily in the rematch. The 6-3 Ashton-Langford still leads the Eagles in scoring (12.2 ppg) and hung 21 points on Miami Wednesday. Tech did a good job forcing him into off-platform shots in Chestnut Hill, but he’s a rangy, graceful guard who doesn’t get rushed around screens. Zackery complements him as a broad-shouldered driver and selective but effective three-point shooter (45.8 pct.). Boston College also got relief that night from 7-foot center Quentin Post, who shattered his previous career high with 24 points and nine rebounds. With Rodney Howard still sidelined, Georgia Tech played small in the post with Jordan Usher and Khalid Moore. Both Post and 6-9, 250-pound James Karnik (8 points) punished Tech with their physicality on the block.

The Jackets have Howard back for Saturday. Can he help subdue Karnik, who has scored in double figures in seven straight games and posted a career-high 26 points in a win over Virginia Tech? Boston College likes to play inside-out, and the Eagles were talented enough to shoot 56 percent in an overtime loss at Notre Dame. Tech allowed 68.8-percent shooting from two-point range against Clemson, its second highest percentage of the season.

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Something to monitor over the final two-plus games: Michael Devoe is averaging 39.4 percent for his career from three-point range.

With one last flurry, he could become the fifth player in Tech history – and the first since Anthony Morrow – to average 40 percent from three for his career.

40%+ 3pt.% career

  • Mark Price – 44.0%
  • Dennis Scott – 42.2%
  • Anthony Morrow – 42.1%
  • Anthony Byrd – 40.3%

Though they’re both acknowledged in the Georgia Tech record books, Price and Byrd may require a bit of an asterisk. The teammates only played one season with a three-point line – the ACC experimented with one in 1982-83 – and its distance was 17 feet, 9 inches, a far cry from its current length of 20 feet, 9 inches.

Even if Maxwell doesn’t play Saturday, Boston College ranks 13th in the ACC in three-point percentage defense in conference play (37.7 pct.). Georgia Tech has averaged 43.7 percent from three in its ACC wins.

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Deebo Coleman picked up his dribble prematurely on Tech’s final possession against Clemson, a snap decision that may have cost the freshman a chance at a game-winning three-pointer. Last play notwithstanding, tentativeness hasn’t been an issue this year for the Memphis native, whom Josh Pastner first remembered from attending one of his University of Memphis basketball camps as a fifth grader. Coleman made 3 of 6 threes in Chestnut Hill, and he enters Saturday’s finale having made 42.2 percent of his three-point attempts (43 of 102).

The last Yellow Jacket freshman to make at least 40 percent of his threes while attempting at least three per game? Another Memphis native – Thaddeus Youngwho connected on 41.9 percent of his threes in 2006-07.

Jordan Usher is finishing his career at the school where his mother, Karen, always wanted him to go. (photo by Anthony McClellan)

The schedule makers may have given Tech some advance training for Saturday.

BC head coach Earl Grant spent four years as an assistant to Brad Brownell at Clemson, and a lot of the Eagles’ defensive principles carry a distinct Clemson influence. Look for them to help hard from the weak side, dig liberally in its man-to-man, and shrink the floor in the halfcourt. The 6-3 Zackery (No. 4 in the ACC in steals) is an especially sturdy defender who will likely body up Devoe. While much was made of Georgia Tech’s three-point shooting in Chestnut Hill, the Jackets’ work on the offensive glass can’t be discounted either. Excluding Division II Clayton State, Georgia Tech had its second-best offensive rebounding percentage of the season against Boston College (39.3 pct.).

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As he prepares to play his final game at McCamish Pavilion, it’s worth revisiting a story Jordan Usher told us last year on the “Georgia Tech Basketball Report.” Unbeknownst to him, a souvenir in his childhood bedroom offered a clue to his future school.

“My Mom always wanted me to stay close to home. She loves Tech. She wanted me to play here since the jump,” recalled the Canton, Ga., native, whose Mom Karen has been a mainstay at her son’s games at McCamish and beyond.

“Whenever Tech made it to the Final Four [in 2004]she got me a basketball from when they went to the Final Four [and] put it in my room. [She] kind of tried to manifest my recruitment for me,” Usher said.

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Now that we’re prepared, we hope you are as well. Join us for pregame coverage starting at 11:30 am ET on the Georgia Tech Sports Network. See you at McCamish.

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