Okogie scores 22 points as Georgia Tech tops Wake Forest
Possession on the jump ball went to Wake Forest, and Okogie seethed.
With only 36.9 seconds remaining, it was a potential game-turning play and Okogie said, ”I kind of took it personal.”
Seconds later, Okogie drew a charge – on Crawford – and then sank six free throws in the final 17 seconds, leading the Yellow Jackets to a 64-56 win over the Demon Deacons on Saturday.
”I love the pressure. I embrace it,” Okogie said after leading Georgia Tech with 22 points in the matchup of two of the ACC’s bottom three teams.
Georgia Tech (13-18, 6-12 Atlantic Coast Conference) closed the regular season with two straight wins. The Yellow Jackets ended a seven-game losing streak with Thursday night’s 78-75 win over North Carolina State.
Crawford had 22 points and Doral Moore had 12 points and 13 rebounds for Wake Forest (11-19, 4-14).
Okogie said he was focused on defending the basket, not drawing a charge.
”I didn’t know I was going to get it,” he said. ”I was more focused on not letting him get to the basket.”
Crawford had three assists and eight turnovers for Wake Forest, leading coach Danny Manning to say ”That’s hard to come back from.”
Crawford had nine assists with no turnovers in the Demon Deacons’ 79-62 home win over the Yellow Jackets on Feb. 14.
”We just didn’t take care of the ball today,” Crawford said.
Added Moore when asked about the team’s season-high 22 turnovers: ”That’s what basically cost us the game.”
Georgia Tech scored 19 points off the turnovers.
A 3-point play by Crawford with 54.9 seconds remaining cut Georgia Tech’s lead to 58-56. Driving for a potential tying layup, Crawford was called for the charge drawn by Okogie.
”Those are winning plays,” said Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner.
Okogie made 11 of 12 free throws and had a game-high five steals.
In a game with nine lead changes and six ties, the Yellow Jackets finally took the lead for good at 48-46 on Tadric Jackson’s layup.
Wake Forest: Moore recorded his ninth double-double in ACC play. He began the day averaging 11.7 points and 10.8 rebounds in ACC games. He is one of only three players in the conference to average a double-double in ACC games. … The Demon Deacons have lost 12 straight at Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech: Even though Wake Forest ranks last in the ACC in scoring defense, Georgia Tech was held to 26 first-half points. … Brandon Alston and Jackson had 12 points. Evan Cole had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Georgia Tech senior center Ben Lammers was about to shoot a free throw late in the first half when a fan yelled ”Nice hair!”
The taunt drew laughs, but Lammers made both free throws.
”I actually did hear that,” he said, adding that after he dries his hair with a towel during a game ”it’s to the point where I can’t do much with it.”
Slowed by foul trouble, Lammers had six points and four rebounds in his final home game.
BACK IN FORM
Crawford returned to scoring form after being held to six points in a loss to Notre Dame last week – only his second game under 10 points this season.
Wake Forest, the No. 14 seed, will play Syracuse in the first round of the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Georgia Tech, the No. 13 seed, will play Boston College in its ACC first-round game on Tuesday at noon.
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