Georgia Tech blows out Division II Tusculum 96-58

ATLANTA (AP) Freshman Josh Okogie scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Ben Lammers added 13 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots to help Georgia Tech overwhelm Division II Tusculum 96-58 on Tuesday night.

All 13 Tech players who played scored at least once, several for the first time as collegians as the Yellow Jackets (14-10) were not challenged by the Division II Pioneers in a rare mid-winter, non-conference game.

Georgia Tech snapped a two-game losing streak after falling last week at Clemson and Wake Forest, and Lammers felt morale was restored. ”I think it’s also good for the guys who don’t get as much playing time to get in there,” he said.

First-year Tech coach Josh Pastner scheduled this game during his team’s ACC bye because he prefers his team play twice a week.

”I really felt we needed Josh O(kogie) and Josh Heath to get back in rhythm. They did not play well last week,” Pastner said. ”We had the injury bug, we were sick and we played that way. We needed to get back to getting in a rhythm.”

Kendall Patterson led Tusculum with 21 points, making 6 of 9 3-pointers, but the rest of the Pioneers made a combined 14-of-53 shots (26.4 percent) and trailed 58-31 at halftime.

Pioneers coach Michael Jones said his team was nervous early.

”There’s no question that all basketball players have dreams of playing at this level,” he explained. ”So, for them to be able to experience the lights and the sounds (of a Division I arena), that means a lot.”

SUBS LEFT AND RIGHT

For the Jackets, rarely-used reserves Sylvester Ogbonda, a redshirt freshman, scored a career-high eight points, freshman Christian Matthews had 12, and graduate Jodan Price, who played previously at Eastern Michigan, scored for the first time at Tech, adding five.

Senior forward Rand Rowland, a former walk-on who earned a scholarship for his final semester, scored for the first time as a collegian, as did walk-on guards Shaheed Medlock and Norman Harris. They each scored two points.

BIG PICTURE

Tusculum: The Pioneers probably want to flush this game from their memory banks, especially after gaining a modest $10,000 payday for making the trip from Greenville, Tennessee, to Atlanta.

Georgia Tech: Having lost their last two games, on the road at Clemson and Wake Forest, the Jackets may have regained some confidence for their stretch run in the ACC, especially after registering 25 assists on 36 field goals.

LACK OF PUNCH

Ronnie Baylark was the only Pioneer to score double digits, with 10 points, and Tusculum was outrebounded 47-29. ”We were good on the offensive glass, not that we were boxing out or anything,” Tech’s Okogie said. ”We were just able to jump over them and beat them to the ball.”

AILING JACKETS

Heath sprained an ankle in the second half, and soon left the game. ”I pray that it’s very minor,” Pastner said. ”But he needed to play.” … Freshman Justin Moore, who started 18 of the first 19 games for Georgia Tech, did not play for the second straight game because of an abdominal injury.

UP NEXT

Tusculum returns to South Atlantic Conference action Wednesday with a game at Lincoln Memorial.

Georgia Tech will finish the regular season with seven ACC games beginning at home Saturday against another of the league’s most improved teams, Boston College.