Double Bonus: Georgia Tech

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Joe Harris scored 18 points at Georgia Tech, but just 4 after the half.

The road continued to perplex the Virginia men’s basketball team Sunday at Georgia Tech as the Cavaliers fell 66-60 in Atlanta. Of UVa’s 6 losses this season, all but one have come away from the John Paul Jones Arena. Against the Yellow Jackets, the Hoos let a lead slip away in the final 10 minutes to end up on the losing end of the equation. The “Double Bonus” takes a look inside the game with GT.

Defending Harris

Virginia’s Joe Harris cashed in 6 shots for 18 points against Georgia Tech, but 14 of those came in the first half when he made 5 of 9 shots. What happened after halftime when Harris picked up half as many shot attempts and went 1 of 5? Harris’ shot variety changed.

GT’s Marcus Georges-Hunt drew the Harris assignment most of the day and I think he played defense the same way throughout the game. It appeared clear to me that the Jackets’ plan was to lock and chase Harris off of screens in trail position with the screener’s defender providing help against curl cuts or potential 3-point looks while Georges-Hunt fought to catch up to Harris. This is not an unusual strategy against any shooter really and it certainly isn’t a foreign concept in defending Harris.

Early in the game, Harris missed his first three shot attempts, but all three were clean looks that he typically makes at a high clip. The first came on off an on-ball screen switch by the defense and the post defender Robert Carter Jr. gave him too much space. The second came on a drive where he drew some contact on from Georges-Hunt on a lay-up attempt. The third came when Jontel Evans shuffled the ball out to him for a transition 3-point attempt. Harris finally broke through on his fourth attempt when he knocked down a wide open 3-pointer on an offensive rebound kickout.

Harris then rebounded his own miss for two points after a drive to the basket. He scored