Florida State, Georgia Tech battle to advance in ACC tournament

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Mired in a nine-game losing streak a month ago, it was hard to see much good coming out of this season for Georgia Tech.

But the Yellow Jackets have won five of their past six games and enter the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament with renewed confidence.

Seeded 13th, Georgia Tech (14-17) will play 12th-seeded Florida State (9-22) Tuesday afternoon in Greensboro, N.C., in the tournament’s opening round.

Coming off a 73-65 win Saturday at Boston College, when Georgia Tech rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final 10 minutes, the Yellow Jackets are feeling good vibes, especially considering the site of this week’s tournament.

“The last time we were in Greensboro, we won it all,” said Kyle Sturdivant, referring to the Yellow Jackets’ 80-75 win over Florida State in the 2021 title game. “We just have to keep stacking days and keep getting better.”

It will take a lot of stacking (five wins in five days) to capture this ACC tournament.

The Yellow Jackets’ turnaround has been sparked by 3-point marksmanship. After shooting 30 percent from deep in its first 13 ACC games, the Yellow Jackets have hit at a 41 percent clip since.

The team’s top scorer, Miles Kelly, has led the surge. He hit only 30.4 percent from distance in January but has made 41.8 percent since. Lance Terry has had a similar spike from 3-point range, improving from 36.4 percent in January to 47.7 percent since.

Florida State enters the tournament having lost nine of its past 11 games. But the Seminoles are dangerous: Witness their 85-84 win at top-seeded Miami on Feb. 25 as Matthew Cleveland made a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to cap a 25-point comeback.

Florida State is coming off an 82-60 wire-to-wire loss at Virginia Tech on Saturday. The Seminoles never recovered after missing their first eight shots and falling behind 14-0.

Florida State won its lone meeting with Georgia Tech, 75-64 on Jan. 7, as Cleveland had 21 points and 12 rebounds.

“We have our work cut out for us with who we are this particular year,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said Saturday.

The Florida State-Georgia Tech winner will face fifth-seeded Pitt (21-10). The Panthers swept two games in the regular season from Georgia Tech and split with Florida State.

–Field Level Media

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