Alston, Alvarado lead Georgia Tech past Lamar
ATLANTA (AP) — Brandon Alston scored 17 points off the bench and Jose Alvarado scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half Friday to lead Georgia Tech to an 88-69 win over Lamar.
Alston and Alvarado each made a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch as Georgia Tech (1-0) hit 12 from beyond the arc, the most the Yellow Jackets have made in a game since coach Josh Pastner was hired before the 2016-17 season.
That’s saying something because the Jackets were among the nation’s least effective 3-point shooting teams in the past two years, and they made just 31.8 percent last season. In the season opener in McCamish Pavilion, they connected on 40 percent.
“Coach says if we’re open, shoot it,” Alvarado said.
T.J. Atwood paced Lamar (1-1) with 17 points and six rebounds. Nick Garth scored 15 and Josh Nzeakor added 12 points, but the Cardinals couldn’t overcome a ragged first half in which they committed 16 of their 19 turnovers.
Curtis Haywood II scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half, including three consecutive 3-pointers in the middle of the period, as the Yellow Jackets built a 36-15 lead before going into the break up 44-22.
“They exposed our post play. I thought they went right at us,” said Lamar head coach Tic Price. “Their length bothered us. We don’t see that type of length in our league (the Southland).”
Lamar chopped Tech’s 27-point lead down to 77-64 when Nzeakor made a free throw with 3:17 left in the game.
Alvarado said that the Jackets’ energy level dropped once they built a big lead.
“Immaturity,” Alston staid. “We’re still kind of a young team, and we get up . . . we’ve got to know that teams can come back. Everybody can shoot in the NCAA.”
That includes Georgia Tech.
The Jackets responded with 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions, one by Alvarado and two by Alston, who made 4 of 5 overall.
“We’re going to live by the 3 this year,” Pastner said. “I hope we don’t die by it.”
Lamar: The Cardinals hurt themselves badly with slopping passes and ball handling in the first half and if not for the overwhelming disparity, they might have given Tech a battle. Lamar won the second half 47-44, and outscored the Jackets 14-0 on second-chance points after intermission. “Our kids just kept fighting,” Price said.
Georgia Tech: The Jackets at least partially checked a couple boxes on Pastner’s preseason wish list, as he said he wants Tech to play at a faster pace and shoot the 3-point shot much more effectively. The 88 points scored were the most against a Division I opponent since he was hired.
Lamar: Will play Sunday at East Carolina to finish up a two-game eastern road trip.
Georgia Tech: Plays Tuesday at No. 6 Tennessee.