Inconsistent play causes Miami to extend its losing streak to six in loss to Georgia Tech

During the Saturday evening Watsco game, fourth-year junior Norchad Omier reacts after being fouled on a missed layup during the second half of the four-point loss against Georgia Tech. Photo credit: Charisma Jones

As play started in the second half, Georgia Tech took control of the lead and never returned it.

In a game where Miami led early and at the break, the offense collapsed during the second half, allowing Georgia Tech to defeat the Miami Hurricanes 80-76 at the Watsco Center on Saturday night.

A roaring start to the second half put Georgia Tech in the driver’s seat. A quick 9-0 run by the Yellow Jackets caused Miami to play from behind. While Miami would stage a late comeback that brought them within two with under a minute left, the effort was in vain.

“Start of the second half was a big part of the story,” said Coach Jim Larrañaga. “They did a great job getting out of halftime, going on a 9-0 run, and had to call a timeout after just two minutes which you never like to do. We forced some turnovers that gave us a chance late in the game and unfortunately were not able to overcome their ten-point lead.”

Miami entered this contest at a low point, losing their last five games. Georgia Tech was not doing too well, either. The Yellow-Jackets have only won three of their last 16 games and dwell at the bottom of the ACC standings alongside Miami.

Junior guard Miles Kelly leads the Yellow Jackets. The Stone Mountain, Georgia native is the straw that stirs the proverbial drink that is the Yellow Jacket offense. Kelly has explosive potential and dropped 36 points earlier this month in a game versus Louisville.

Kelly certainly lived up to his reputation in this one—the junior put on a show with 25 points to lead all scorers. Miami seemed to have no answer for him when it came to defending his lethal three-point shot. Kelly ended the night 7-11 from three.

“He’s a good overall player,” said freshman guard Kyshawn George. “He can shoot the three, put it on the deck, has a good pull-up, is athletic, can finish at the rim. We have to do a better job individually and as a team to stop the other team from scoring.”

The ‘Canes were playing at a partial strength, something they’ve done far too often this season. Standard starting point guard Nijel Pack missed his third straight game for Miami with a lower-body injury, and junior guard Bensley Joseph started in his place.

An incredibly high-scoring first half saw Miami lead 49-45. A combined 20 three-pointers were made in the first half. Miami exceeded their total point total of 38 earlier this month against Virginia in just one half against Georgia Tech.

Miami rode a sharp shooting first half from George to the lead as the freshman had 16 points and five assists in the first half. George was shooting 67% from three and 71% from the field during the first half of play. The Swiss native would fail to record any more points for the remainder of the game. Joseph also had a strong game, scoring 16 points and leading the team in minutes played with 38.

Miami closes out February with a trip to Chapel Hill to take on the top-10 North Carolina Tar Heels. Miami played them tightly earlier this month when the Tar Heels visited Coral Gables. An opportunity to play late-season spoilers is open to the ‘Canes. Tip-off for this contest is set for 7:00 P.M. and will be aired on ESPN.

All stats and data via ESPN and Miami StatsBroadcast unless otherwise noted.