Albany Tech freshman and former Westover star Terrance Noel goes up for a reverse layup in Wednesday night’s game against Central Georgia Tech. Noel had six points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal in the Titans’ 61-46 victory on Tuesday at Albany State’s HPER gym.
ALBANY — The Albany Tech Titans managed only 22 points in the first half. They missed more than half their free throws and had a total of two assists.
Yet they trailed by a mere four points at halftime.
Then the second half commenced and everything that was going wrong started to go right. The Titans shifted into another gear and cruised their way to a stylish victory, beating Central Georgia Tech, 61-46, Wednesday night at the Albany State HPER gymnasium.
“After the talk he gave us at halftime, we had no choice but to turn it up on (Central Georgia),” Jamorris Gaines said, referring to Coach Sylvester Patterson’s half time speech.
Gaines, a former Worth County star, continued: “He basically told us that we were just playing around and not working hard, so we had to come out and do differently.”
Gaines, who has drawn the attention of a couple of scouts, had a game-high 19 points to go along with six rebounds (five offensive) and three blocks for the Titans, who notched their first Region XVII victory.
“We did not tell him there were any (scouts) in the house because we didn’t want to jinx him,” Patterson admitted. “He really showed up and turned things around in the second half.”
Patrick Lewis and Robert Ellis also scored in double figures for the Titans (5-5, 1-1) with 10 points each.
Central Georgia’s poor first-half shooting (34 percent) prevented it from taking advantage of Albany Tech’s lethargy. The Cougars had just three more first-half assists than the Titans and were outrebounded, 30-20.
“The defense was actually good all game,” Patterson stated. “(Central Georgia) only scored 26 points in the first half and then we held them to 20 points in the second, so the defense was good all game. We just had to fix the offense.”
Part of correcting the offense was crashing the boards and getting offensive putbacks. Former Monroe star Anthony Mackey led the team with 12 rebounds, six of which were on the offensive end.
“I just played hard, played smart and looked for opportunities,” Mackey said, who added three points. “I just waited for the ball to come off the rim and it was just dropping in my hands.”
The Titans opened the second half on an 8-0 run that soon turned into a 16-3 run. The Cougars went from a disciplined offense to not being able to execute at all.
“That’s the million-dollar question,” Central Georgia coach Johnny Simmons said when asked what went wrong with his team. “We’re a young team that is just beginning to gel. Right now we are just figuring each other out.”
Central Georgia (4-3) finished with 21 turnovers and nine assists. Earl Farnum was the only Cougar to score in double figures with 11 points.
“We just weren’t clicking,” Simmons said. “If you’re competitive you can stay in the game, but when a young team doesn’t run the plays and is not competitive, you get blown out.”
Better communication on defense and greater intensity were the biggest factors to the Titans’ second half domination. With the ability to force turnovers the Titans got out in transition, which led to several fastbreak points.
“We like to get up and down, so a couple of turnovers helps us (tremendously),” Gaines said.
While happy with the win, Patterson said the next step is for his team to consistently get off to a quality start.
“We just have to keep practicing,” he said. “We have simplified things on offense by cutting the playbook down and that really helped (Wednesday) night.”
LADY TITANS WIN: Led by Bianca Fennessee, who filled the stat sheet with a triple-double (10 points, 20 rebounds and 12 blocks), the Lady Titans hung on to beat Central Georgia Tech, 65-59, Wednesday night.
Shakima Wiggins scored a game-high 17 points while Shater Fortner contributed 16 points.
The Lady Titans shot 41 percent from the field and held Central Georgia to 29 percent shooting.