Saturday afternoon, Georgia Tech stunned No. 16 Florida State in a 76-65 upset win at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets improved to 8-5 and spoiled the now 10-3 Seminoles five game winning streak. This was the second matchup between the ACC foes this season, as the Seminols clinched a win over the Jackets in December.
Florida State is a team loaded with bigs that were able to cause some trouble for the small ball Tech squad. With seven footers like Senior Tanor Ngom and Sophomore Balsa Koprivica in the regular rotation for the Seminoles, the Yellow Jackets had to fight hard to find open looks. Tech’s veteran forward Moses Wright has played most of the season at the 5 in the small-ball lineup. Today, his size was exploited the Seminoles true centers Koprivica, Ngom, and Ballard applied challenging double teams. Wright completely out-hustled guys in the post bringing down rebounds and forcing turnovers. The mismatches around the court stalled Tech’s half-court offense in the beginning of the game but that quickly changed due to efforts from Sr. guard Jose Alvarado.
Alvarado’s leadership and basketball IQ were clearly superior in tonight’s upset. Jose did an elite job of splitting defenders for a layup, breaking the defense down off the dribble, and finding his teammates in optimal scoring positions. Alvarado is a disciplined facilitar who is able to create shots for his teammates. Late In the first half, Alverado quickly found Michael Devoe to set him up for a fast-break bucket and extend the lead. A few plays later, Alvarado found Kyle Sturdivant following a scrappy steal and set him up to score in transition to put Tech up 33-26 before the half. The flashiest of his assists came from a smooth pass to cut to Moses under the basket who was able to lay it down. Alvarado finished the game with 21 points, six assists, and five steals.
“Coming in here to beat Florida State, it feels good and I am proud of my brothers.” Jose Alvarado exclaimed. “I go out there like my head is on fire and I am just going to give it all I got.”
Georgia Tech’s ability to force turnovers was a big factor in today’s win. The Jackets, averaging nine steals this season, were able to come away with a whopping 13 in today’s victory. Not only were they creating turnovers, but they were able to convert them into points on the other end. Moses Wright looked almost unstoppable in transition. Within the last thirty seconds of play, Wright slammed down three dunks lobbed by Usher and Alvarado. Yes, three dunks in thirty seconds of playtime. Wright finished the game with 23 points, six steals, and eight rebounds.
FSU’s freshman guard Scottie Barnes was able to drop 16 points during the two team’s first matchup in December. Today was a different story as Barnes was held to nine points and four turnovers. He was able to get Tech’s Jordan Usher in foul trouble early in the second half but struggled with Kyle Sturdivant taking over guarding him. Defensively, Barnes was a pesky perimeter defender for the smaller guards Jose Alverado and Michael Devoe. However, the duo’s ball-handling skills won them the matchup. With Bubba Parham out of the lineup today, Michael Devoe was tasked with stepping up in the backcourt. He finished the game with 19 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
“Michael Deveo was a stud.” Head Coach Josh Pastner said after the win. “And you cannot say enough about Jose Alverado.”
“One of the great keys I bring to the game is being able to facilitate and get my teammates open for shots,” Devoe explained. “It was a huge win for us tonight and we have to continue doing that.”
Tech’s defense applied the pressure all around the court. Florida State came to Atlanta shooting 53% from the field and 46.5% from behind the arc. Tech’s ability to stick to defenders and stay in their face resulted in 42.9% FG and 21.4% 3pt shooting from the Seminoles today.
“We guarded at a high-level today,” Pastner said. “Great win by Georgia Tech.”
Georgia Tech is now 3-3 against top 25 teams. The team will be put to the test again on Monday as they face another ranked opponent in No. 25 Louisville. With upsets over previously ranked Kentucky, Clemson, and now Florida State, Tech is building a resume to become a tournament team in March.