Alvarado’s 20 points lead Georgia Tech past Arkansas, 69-65
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Jose Alvarado knew he wasn’t likely to come off the court when Georgia Tech took the court for a second time in three nights.
The point guard made the most of his extended minutes while leading the Yellow Jackets to a much-needed 69-65 win at Arkansas on Wednesday night.
Alvarado scored 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting, and the 6-foot guard added nine rebounds in the win — doing so while playing the entire 40 minutes for a second straight game.
“I’m dealing with it pretty good; my team got a win,” Alvarado said of playing the entire game against Arkansas’ pressure defense. “I’m proud that they believe in me to play 40 minutes.”
It was in that previous game where Georgia Tech (6-4) suffered an embarrassing 79-69 home defeat to Gardner-Webb on Monday night. The Yellow Jackets trailed by as many as five points early in the second half on Wednesday, but they recovered by holding the Razorbacks (7-3) to just 38.1 percent (24 of 63) shooting.
“The Gardner-Webb one, that falls on me,” Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. “We didn’t do a good job on Monday and partly, that’s based on me . Monday, we weren’t good, and today we were much better.”
In addition to Alvarado’s full-game performance, James Banks III added 14 points and 14 rebounds for Georgia Tech. Michael Devoe also finished in double figures with 11 points, and Khalid Moore had 10 in the win.
The loss is the second in the last three games for the Razorbacks, who have also lost two straight at home in Bud Walton Arena.
Mason Jones led Arkansas with 17 points, while Daniel Gafford added 14 and Isaiah Joe 13.
Joe put the Razorbacks up 60-59 with his third 3-pointer late in the game, but Georgia Tech responded with an 8-2 run to all but put the game out of reach.
“I thought they came in with the right mindset,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said of the Yellow Jackets. “They played desperate.”
Arkansas trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half while opening the game 1 of 11 from the field, including 0 of 8 on 3-pointers.
The Razorbacks, however, hit 6 of 9 3-point attempts to close out the half — with Jones and Joe combining for five — and rallied to take a 32-31 halftime lead.
After a disappointing 13-19 record in Pastner’s second season a year ago, Georgia Tech was in desperate need of a victory after entering the game with three losses in its last four games - including the loss to Gardner-Webb. The Yellow Jackets survived a series of lead changes in the second half to do just that.
Banks’ double-double was the fourth in the last five games for the Georgia Tech junior, who also added five blocks on Wednesday. The 6-foot-9 Banks fared well in his matchup with Gafford, an expected lottery pick, and he’s hit 27 of 38 shots (71.1 percent) over his last five games.
Joe was just 3 of 12 from 3-point range, ending a stretch of four straight games in which the freshman had made at least four 3-pointers. The Razorbacks hit 10 of 32 3-point attempts overall — with 32 of their 63 shots in the game coming from behind the arc. “I thought we settled,” Anderson said. “Half of our shots were 3-pointers, and we’re not that type of team.
Georgia Tech plays its third game in six days when it hosts Georgia on Saturday.
The Razorbacks host Texas State on Saturday.