Georgia Tech’s play at home over the weekend disappointed coach Paul Hewitt.
With such a young team, however, he might need to be prepared for some more frustrating performances ahead.
No. 20 Georgia Tech looks to avoid a third straight road loss when it faces Miami on Wednesday night.
The Yellow Jackets (17-6, 5-4 ACC) have won three of their last four, including a 73-71 victory at home over North Carolina State on Saturday. Their only loss during that span was to then-No. 10 Duke on the road last Thursday.
While Georgia Tech avoided consecutive losses for the first time this season by defeating the Wolfpack, it wasn’t the decisive victory the team was looking for against the ACC’s last-place team. The Yellow Jackets, who lost by 19 to the Blue Devils, trailed by two at the half and saw a 16-point lead in the final five minutes nearly disappear after North Carolina State went on a 17-2 run to get within one late.
Zachery Peacock scored 22 points and freshman Derrick Favors added 16 for Georgia Tech, which limited the Wolfpack to 35 percent (24 for 68) from the field.
“After we get through tomorrow’s off-day I told them, I don’t want to talk about this game anymore,” Hewitt said. “This game is over, let’s get ready for Miami. But, they better take a long look in the mirror, including me … and figure out what do we have to do to play 40 minutes like the way we’re supposed to play ball.”
Hewitt’s team will face another struggling ACC opponent in Miami (16-7, 2-7), but wins have been hard to come by on the road for the Yellow Jackets, who have dropped four of their last five away from home. A strong defensive team at home, allowing 59.5 points per game, Georgia Tech has been unable to replicate that success on the road, yielding 73.0 per contest.
Favors, who is battling Wake Forest’s C.J. Harris for the ACC freshman scoring lead, is averaging 9.3 points on the road compared to 12.2 at home.
Favors has seen a drop off in production since the start of the conference schedule. He scored in double figures in nine straight games to begin the season, but has reached 10 points in only one of the last three games.
Hewitt believes fatigue has contributed to the freshman’s decreased scoring.
“You have to understand most of these kids right now are used to the season winding down in high school. And certainly they haven’t played this sustained level of intensity ever in their basketball lives,” Hewitt said. “Right now we are in what I call our toughest stretch of the year. I’m really mindful of trying to keep the guys fresh, especially our four freshmen.”
Georgia Tech will look to do a better job at putting away the Hurricanes, who return home after dropping a pair of road games. They lost 71-65 to Florida State on Saturday for their sixth loss in seven games overall.
James Dews scored 15 points and Dwayne Collins added 11 for Miami, which has split its last six home games against ranked opponents.
The Hurricanes had a four-game win streak against the Yellow Jackets snapped with a 78-68 loss March 4 in the ACC tournament.