Georgia Tech’s strategy was to let Kihei shoot; UVA leads ACC in road wins

By Jerry Ratcliffe

kihei clark gt2

Kihei Clark put up 14 points in the second half to key Virginia’s 57-49 win at Georgia Tech. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

There’s an old saying around the conference that the ACC road is filled with land mines. This season is a prime example.

Looking back at Virginia’s come-from-behind win at Georgia Tech on Wednesday night should make Cavaliers fans even more appreciative of what their team accomplished regardless of whether or not it was ugly.

There are only two teams in the 15-member ACC that have winning road records within the conference this season: Virginia at 5-1, and Louisville at 3-2. By contrast, 11 league teams have losing road records in the conference and two others are at .500.

Road wins are huge during a season where home teams are 52-27 (65.8 percent).

North Carolina, which plays at Virginia on Saturday night, is 3-4 on the road in the league.

Georgia Tech poured everything it had into trying to beat the Cavaliers in Atlanta before bowing, 57-49. Yellow Jackets coach Josh Pastner believed his team was going to end its losing streak to UVA, which now stands at eight in a row for the Cavaliers.

“Our guys played well enough to win the game,” Pastner said. “We executed our game plan. We felt we had to hold them to under 60 and we did. We’re No. 1 in the league in forcing turnovers and we forced them into 17. I think Virginia was No. 1 in the country in not turning the ball over.”

Pastner’s game plan was to smother UVA’s top two scorers, Sam Hauser and Jay Huff, and did so.

“We limited Huff and Houser on their 3-pointers,” Pastner said. “Part of who we are is our 3-point shooting and I think 3-pointers was the difference. It’s a make and miss game, so you need guys to make some key shots at key times and we just missed.”

Virginia was 7 of 20 from the arc, while Georgia Tech was 4 of 21. Tech’s 19 percent was a season low.

Four of the Cavaliers’ 3’s were from point guard Kihei Clark _ all of ‘em in the second half _ as he rode to his team’s rescue.

“The game plan was letting [Clark] try to shoot the ball, but obviously that didn’t work out,” said Georgia Tech point guard Jose Alvarado. “You’ve got to give him props, man. I’m a small guard in the ACC, so I’ve got to give him some props that he made big-time shots when he needed to.”

Clark’s four 3’s were a career high for him as he scored all 14 of his points in the second half.

Alvarado also deserved props for his defense against UVA’s Hauser, who finished with just eight points.

“If Jose is not ACC Defensive Player of the Year, I don’t know who is,” Pastner said. “He did a great job on Hauser. Give Hauser credit. He hit a really tough shot in a clutch moment and made some tough shots at key times.”

 

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