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Georgia Tech hoping to rekindle magic at Virginia Tech

Jan 13, 2024; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets guard Miles Kelly (13) controls the ball against Duke Blue Devils guard Tyrese Proctor (5) during the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

A December upset of then-No. 7 Duke was a thrilling introduction to the Atlantic Coast Conference for Georgia Tech’s first-year coach Damon Stoudamire.

But the ACC grind in January has brought a harsh dose of reality for the former NBA standout and his Yellow Jackets (9-10, 2-6 ACC), who have lost seven of their last eight games.

On Saturday, Georgia Tech will try to recapture its early promise when it travels to Blacksburg, Va., to face Virginia Tech (12-7, 4-4).

The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 72-64 loss Tuesday to visiting Pitt. It was Georgia Tech’s fourth straight loss by a single digits, showoing a lack of a finishing touch that largely is due to leadership issues, according to Stoudamire.

“Within this collective group, I haven’t figured out who to lean on,” he said. “It’s hard when guys don’t fight. You can’t coach effort.”

Baye Ndongo led the Yellow Jackets with 17 points and eight rebounds and Kowacie Reeves Jr. added 15 points.

The missing contributor was Georgia Tech’s top scorer, junior Miles Kelly (14.3 points per game), who failed to score for the first time since his freshman year as he took just two shots in 17 minutes.

“You’ve gotta get lost in everything about basketball. Do you love it?” Stoudamire asked about Kelly. “There’s more to basketball than scoring. You can play defense. You can take a charge. You can get assists. You gotta figure it out.”

Virginia Tech is coming off a 76-71 win Tuesday at home over Boston College as Hunter Cattoor tallied 17 points and Sean Pedulla scored seven of his 16 points in the final 4:03.

After losing four of five games, the Hokies have rebounded with a pair of wins, including an 84-78 victory at North Carolina State last weekend.

The team’s fortunes have been tied to the aggressive play of Pedulla, who has averaged 22.4 points, 5.8 assists and 5.6 turnovers in the Hokies’ last five games.

“He’s just such a downhill (player),” Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said. “You talk about all gas, there’s not a brake on (him).”

–Field Level Media

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