When No. 3 North Carolina paid Georgia Tech a visit, Kyle Sturdivant informed his teammates it was time to dig out the “big boy drawers.”
In response, Naithan George made the biggest play of the match.
With 7.7 seconds left, George made the game-winning, left-handed layup to help Georgia Tech defeat North Carolina 74-73 on Tuesday, snapping the Tar Heels’ 10-game winning streak.
Hubert Davis, the coach of North Carolina, stated, “They were able to make one more play than we were.” “It was a really good shot by George.”
Georgia Tech (10-11, 3-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) was near the bottom of the conference rankings after losing three games in a row and eight of the previous nine. Nevertheless, there have been bright spots for the Yellow Jackets, who opened the ACC play with victories over No. 7 Duke 72-68 on December 2 and No. 21 Mississippi State 67-59 on November 28. This is their third home victory over a team ranked in the top 25.
“I told the guys whenever we play a Top 25 team it feels like we put on our big boy drawers, so let’s do that,” Sturdivant explained.
In the 2005 ACC tournament, Georgia Tech defeated third-ranked North Carolina, the last time the club had defeated a team with a ranking as high as No. 3. Since 2020–21, the Yellow Jackets have not triumphed over both Duke and North Carolina in the same season.
After George missed a jump shot, RJ Davis, who scored a game-high 28 points for North Carolina (17-4, 9-1), won the race to the loose ball and scored a layup with 34 seconds left to give his team a 73-72 lead.
After a timeout by Georgia Tech, George drove for the game-winning layup.
“If I could get downhill, I could at least get a shot up and let my teammates crash the glass,” said George.
With 4.6 seconds left, North Carolina took a timeout, but RJ Davis missed a last-second jumper, causing Georgia Tech supporters to leap onto the court in celebration.
Ebenezer Dowuona of Georgia Tech made contact with Davis during the final shot, attempting unsuccessfully to convince the officials to call a foul. Hubert Davis stated he was unable to discern if a foul had occurred.
“We felt like [Davis] was in position where he had an angle on a guy and had a couple steps on him,” said Hubert Davis. “I couldn’t see any more than that. The last thing I saw, RJ was on the ground.”
After enjoying its greatest ACC start since winning its first 11 ACC games in the 2000–01 season, North Carolina dropped its first conference match.
With eighteen points, Sturdivant led Georgia Tech. Miles Kelly contributed 15 points, while George finished with 16.
The Tar Heels took a 36–25 lead after Cormac Ryan’s 3-pointer. With a 12-1 run to end the first half, the Yellow Jackets tied the score at 37 at the break.
Fans of North Carolina turned out in force for the event, with a sellout crowd of 8,600. A white-out was called by Georgia Tech, but about half of the audience was Carolina blue.