CORAL GABLES, Fla. — After seven straight losses — all in the ACC — the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets players decided it was time for a change.
“Before the game, I talked to my teammates and said: ‘Here is another chance. Today is the day we can crack the slump,'” Georgia Tech shooting guard Marcus Georges-Hunt said.
Georges-Hunt was right.
The Yellow Jackets cracked the slump in impressive fashion, routing the No. 23 Miami Hurricanes 70-50 on Wednesday
night at the BankUnited Center.
Georgia Tech (10-10, 1-7) entered the night as the only winless team in conference play. It was the first victory this calendar year for Georgia Tech, which had not prevailed since beating Charlotte on Dec. 30.
In fact, it was less than one week ago when Georgia Tech was embarrassed by Virginia in a 57-28 blowout.
Georges-Hunt, though, was not about to let that happen again, especially against Miami.
Two years ago, when Miami was ranked sixth in the nation, Georges-Hunt beat the Hurricanes in this same building with a tip-in at the buzzer.
On Wednesday, Georges-Hunt had a game-high 24 points, making 10 of 12 shots from the floor.
“Maybe we should come here more often,” Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said.
But Georges-Hunt said the entire team was clicking on Wednesday as evidenced by its 57.1 shooting percentage.
“It seemed like we had so much fun moving the ball, sharing the ball,” he said. “It was all smiles.”
There were no smiles for Miami, however.
The Hurricanes (14-6, 4-3) were betrayed by their offense. The Hurricanes’ top two scorers, junior guards Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan, were both shut down. McClellan had six points and Rodriguez was held scoreless, missing all eight of his shots from the field.
Rodriguez, who took five 3-pointers, played just 15 minutes. He was benched for almost the entire second half, playing just four minutes after the break.
Center Tonye Jekiri led Miami with 13 points and nine rebounds. But Miami shot just 34.5 percent from the floor.
The Hurricanes have been wildly inconsistent all season. On the positive side, they have won at Duke, at Florida and at Syracuse, taken Virginia to double overtime and defeated Illinois.
On the negative side, the Hurricanes lost to Wisconsin Green Bay, Eastern Kentucky and Georgia Tech — all at home.
Jekiri said the team is more “focused” on the road.
“On the road, we feel like we are the underdogs, and that gets everybody on their feet,” he said.
“When we come home, I feel like we are relaxed, and we let other teams come in and show that we’re not that good. It’s a lack of focus.”
Miami coach Jim Larranaga agreed.
“We are very inconsistent with giving effort, especially on the defensive end,” Larranaga said. “It’s very disappointing, but the personality on this team is to be inconsistent.
“Kids are confusing. This team probably has the widest range of performances I’ve ever seen.”
Georgia Tech, which never trailed, got off to a great start, making nine of its first 11 shots from the floor and taking a 20-6 lead with 9:50 left in the first half.
Miami went on a 7-0 run and the teams played fairly evenly after that, with Georgia Tech going into halftime up 34-26.
Miami never got closer than seven points in the second half, and that was in the opening minutes.
Jekiri said the team’s problems start with poor practices. Larranaga said the veterans are not working hard enough, and the younger players are following that poor example.
Larranaga also said Miami’s poor attendance — the crowd on Wednesday was announced at 5,031 — doesn’t help, but he added that his team cannot rely on fans to provide motivation.
He was then asked how much his team’s lack of effort can be blamed on him and his assistant coaches.
“I don’t think anyone has ever questioned my staff’s ability to motivate people,” he said. “But to motivate people, they have to want to be motivated. … If the guy you are talking to is not paying attention and doesn’t really care, you
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