College Basketball News

Louisville, Georgia Tech winding down tough seasons

A pair of struggling Atlantic Coast Conference teams meet Saturday when Georgia Tech hosts Louisville in Atlanta.

With three regular-season games left, the Yellow Jackets (11-17, 3-14 ACC) are two losses away from dropping their most conference games in a season since joining the ACC before the 1979-80 season. Georgia Tech tied the record last year, when it finished 5-15, marking its most setbacks in ACC play since going 3-15 during the 2014-15 season.

Last-place Louisville (4-24, 2-15) already has set the program’s season record for most losses overall and in conference play, toping its 14 ACC losses from last season. The Cardinals never lost more than 20 games in program history before this season.

Georgia Tech, which is in 13th place in the ACC, ended a two-game winning streak and lost for the 11th time in their past 14 games with a 76-68 setback at Pitt on Tuesday.

After Miles Kelly’s two free throws gave Georgia Tech a 52-51 edge with 9:31 remaining, Pitt responded with an 11-4 run to take a 62-56 lead with 4:43 to play and never trailed again.

Georgia Tech was led by Kelly, who hit a career-high six 3-pointers in 13 attempts to finish with a career-best 24 points to go along with five rebounds. Ja’von Franklin chipped in 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists, with Kyle Sturdivant finishing with 16 points and five assists.

The Yellow Jackets struggled without point guard Deivon Smith (ankle), who averages 8.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and a team-high 3.7 assists per game, but he might return against Louisville.

Kelly averages a team-high 13.2 points per game, while Dallan “Deebo” Coleman and Lance Terry average 9.4 and 9.1 points per game, respectively.

Louisville’s nine-point first-half lead was quickly erased by Duke, which took a 42-33 halftime advantage before pulling away for a 79-62 win on Monday.

“I thought we started out pretty good — then we put them on their heels, and then when they hit us back, we wilted. We wilted and never got it back,” Louisville coach Kenny Payne said. “I thought we refused to get into bodies, and man up and fight to get open. We’ve worked on it every day.”

El Ellis, who averages a team-high 18.1 points and 4.6 assists, had 21 points and seven assists against Duke. JJ Traynor was the only other Cardinals player to score in double figures, finishing with 16, well above his 6.5 average.

The Cardinals have dropped five of their past six and 15 of their past 17, with one of their two wins during that stretch a 68-58 victory over visiting Georgia Tech on Feb. 1.

“We’ve gotten better, we’ve improved and we’re playing the right way,” Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said.

“We just have to keep getting better and I’m really proud of our guys in the way they compete and the way they battle…We have a great opportunity on Saturday and we’ll go from there.”

–Field Level Media

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