GREENSBORO, N.C. — Thursday afternoon, the 4th seed Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defeated the No.13 Miami Hurricanes 70-66 to advance to the semi-final round of the New York Life ACC Tournament. The Yellow Jackets fought hard for a win that came down to the final possessions. The Hurricanes’ big men Nysier Brooks and Deng Gak made it hard for them to score inside. The Jackets settled many times for bad jumpers and hook shots instead of backing down Brooks and Gak in the lane. There were few possessions in the first half where Tech’s Kyle Sturdivant made it a point to contest the bigs. Even still the Jackets could not find a consistent rhythm down low. Tech’s Michael Devoe began penetrating to penetrate the much more in the second half and was rewarded with free throws a few times.

On the offensive end, Miami guards Kameron McGusty and Isiaih Wong crashed the boards with ease. Tech’s Jose Alvarado was tasked with guarding Wong while getting help from a double team often. Alvarado left the game with an injury with three minutes remaining in the first half. Tech guard Bubba Parham took his minutes until he returned in the opening of the second half. Gusty finished the game with 25 points and seven points as the leading performer for the Hurricanes.

“Miami, man, they’re better than their record. They’re really good. They had it going, and they’re a really good team,” Jose Alvarado said. “Those two point guards were making good plays, and we just had to dial down and take pride on defense and try to stop them. And that’s what we did and got the win.”

Tech’s Moses Wright had the tough task of defending the true center Nysier Brooks. Brooks was able to back down Wright with ease for quick points for the Canes. Tech added center Rodney Howard to the regular rotation to provide some extra length. Howard made for a better matchup with Brooks and was able to get some much-needed rebounds. Wright found himself in foul trouble early in the second half. Tech forward Jordan Usher and Khalid Moore were forced to step up in his absence. Moore knocked down a tough jumper and got an offensive putback to gain some momentum for the Yellow Jackets. Jordan Usher brought down several rebounds, forced turnovers, and laid down a pair of dunks to remind the Hurricanes not to count them out.

“You know I like to get in transition,” Usher said. “I got a couple in transition. I feel like that’s where my game is at its best when I can get out on a run and leak out and do some things like that.”

The Yellow Jackets were able to pull away by a few points with less than four minutes in the game. This swing came from Jordan Usher and Michael Devoe going right at Nysier Brooks in the paint. Moses Wright returned to the game in foul trouble and brought down some key rebounds in the final minutes. Jose Alverado got fouled shooting a three and drained two free throws to extend Tech’s lead to eight in the final three minutes. Khalid Moore fouled Miami’s Kameron McGusty shooting a three on the next play and he knocked down two to cut Tech’s lead to six.

Moses Wright was called his fifth foul with two minutes remaining on an offensive charge and left the game. Tech began to have trouble inbounding and bringing the ball down as Miami applied a full-court press in the final two minutes. McGusty drained a three for Miami to cut Tech’s lead to three with one minute remaining. This was followed by Bubba Parham splitting defenders for a layup to extend Tech’s lead to five in the final thirty seconds. Kameron McGusty knocked down a quick three to instantly cut Tech’s lead to two in the final thirty seconds. Michael Devoe found Jordan Usher wide open after the inbound and Usher was able to knock it down and put the final stamp on the win. Usher finished the game with 15 points and two rebounds. Devoe ended with 13 points and seven assists.

The Yellow Jackets advance to face the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers in the semi-final round on Friday. The Yellow Jackets fell to the Cavaliers twice in the regular season and will be seeking revenge. Georgia Tech comes into the game riding a seven-game winning streak.

Photo: Georgia Tech Athletics

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