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Syracuse trailed just 50-45 entering the third quarter against then-No. 7 Notre Dame. It was 10 minutes away from pulling off an upset and massive resume-builder as it sat on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.
But the Orange struggled mightily in the fourth quarter, ultimately falling 72-56, but they showed signs that they can compete with top programs. Before a Sunday showdown at No. 13 Duke, Syracuse has a pitstop in Atlanta to face Georgia Tech, the worst team in the Atlantic Coast Conference that is winless in its last six games.
Here’s everything to know about Georgia Tech (9-9, 0-7 ACC):
All time series
Georgia Tech leads, 5-3.
Last time they played
Despite forcing 26 turnovers against the Yellow Jackets and only conceding 14, Syracuse struggled offensively in a 65-55 loss to then-No. 18 Georgia Tech almost a year ago. Both teams were abysmal from beyond the arc, shooting below 20%, but Syracuse struggled more, shooting just 33% from the field overall compared to GT’s 46%.
Syracuse trailed by 11 at halftime with a nine-point second quarter making a clear difference. The Orange trailed by as much as 16 midway through the second quarter, but shortened the deficit a bit in the third. On the glass, the Yellow Jackets dominated, securing 48 of the game’s 75 total rebounds.
Teisha Hyman led all SU scorers with 18 points while Chrislyn Carr and Alaysia Styles both added 12, but Georgia Tech’s Nerea Hermosa led all scorers with 21. GT had 32 points in the paint and 11 second-chance points.
The Yellow Jackets report
The Yellow Jackets enter Thursday’s contest as the worst team in the ACC, winless in seven conference games, including a 41-point loss to Florida State. They are on a six-game skid, dating back to Dec. 29, with their last win coming on Dec. 21 over Furman. It’s the worst start in conference play in head coach Nell Fortner’s four seasons at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have a couple Power Five wins, defeating Auburn and Michigan State early this season in addition to several wins over local opponents.
Per Her Hoop Stats, GT is in the bottom third in field-goal percentage (36.7%), 3-point shooting percentage (28.4%) and points per game (60.0). And in conference games, those numbers decrease to 34.9%, 27.2% and 56.4 points, respectively. Georgia Tech has better production from the charity stripe and on the offensive glass, ranking in the top 40, per Her Hoop Stats.
How Syracuse beats Georgia Tech
Syracuse proved in its last outing on Sunday that it can hang with tougher ACC opponents. SU trailed by just five against then-No. 7 Notre Dame before the start of the fourth quarter. It almost defeated NC State on New Year’s Day and lost by nine to Louisville, who’s been a powerhouse in the league.
Arlo Stone | Design Editor
This should be one of the easier conference wins this season, and would provide momentum heading into Sunday’s game against No. 13 Duke. The Orange relied upon multiple scoring options as of late, seeing at least five players score in double figures. Syracuse likes to play fast and push up the tempo, while Georgia Tech, statistically, is a slower-paced team. Head coach Felisha Legette-Jack emphasized Thursday of the importance of holding teams to 59 points or below. And against a team that averages just 56.4 points per conference game, Syracuse should win in Atlanta on Thursday.
Stat to know: -13.6
Taking into consideration its entire schedule and its nine nonconference wins, Georgia Tech is a better defensive team on paper. But against ACC opponents, where it’s 0-7, it concedes 70 points per game and only scores 56.4, creating a margin of -13.6. The Yellow Jackets don’t have a single player averaging double-digit points in ACC games.
Syracuse averages 73.9 points per game against conference opponents. As long as Dyaisha Fair continues her double-digit scoring streak and SU capitalizes on second-chance and transition opportunities, the Orange should be in a decent position to win.
Player to watch: Cameron Swartz, guard, No. 1
Swartz, a fifth-year graduate student, is on her third school, with previous stints at Colorado and Boston College. Last season with the Eagles, she was all-ACC First Team and the conference’s Most Improved Player. In her first season with GT, she is averaging a team-high 11.8 points and is the team’s primary 3-point shooter. In BC’s win over Syracuse in the 2022 ACC Tournament, Swart led BC with 20 points.
Published on January 18, 2023 at 9:11 pm
Contact Cole: [email protected] | @ColeBambini