Georgia Tech has recently developed a dangerous habit it should probably break.
For the second straight November Josh Pastner’s Yellow Jackets opened a season by playing into overtime. Unfortunately, while they topped NC State at Raleigh to tip off the 2019-20 season, a game that stretched into a single extra period, the extended outcome was less salubrious this year.
The Nov. 25 opener against Georgia State, a crosstown Atlanta rival, stretched to four overtimes before the Jackets fell 123-120 to the Sun Belt school, once called the Georgia Tech Evening School of Commerce.
The four overtimes not only constituted the longest game ever played by Georgia Tech, but matched the most OTs ever endured by a team then an ACC member. There have been three other four-overtime results: a loss by NC State to Canisius in the 1956 NCAA tournament; a win by North Carolina at Tulane in Feb. 1976; and a victory by NC State over Wake Forest in the 1989 regular-season finale.
The ’56 loss by the Wolfpack in its NCAA opener, a year after coming off NCAA probation, shockingly derailed one of Everett Case’s best, fastest teams. The Pack was hampered, though, by a broken wrist incurred in the regular—season finale against Wake by Ronnie Shavlik, the ACC Player of the Year
The Tar Heels’ Tulane triumph in New Orleans’ year-old Super Dome was fueled by big man Mitch Kupchak (now GM of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets). The 1976 ACC Player of the Year had 35 points and 21 rebounds in a game that took three hours to play and was called “a classic” by UNC coach Dean Smith.
NC State used a seldom-successful set play in 1989 to overtake Wake Forest in its final game as the full-time tenant of the Greensboro Coliseum. Wolfpack guard Kelsey Weems was fouled with three second to go in regulation, made his first free throw and purposely missed the second. Backcourt mate Rodney Monroe rebounded the misfire just outside the lane and quickly scored to send the game into overtime, a maneuver not unlike that pulled by Duke’s Tre Jones in an overtime win last year at Chapel Hill.
There have also been 22 games in which an ACC team or teams extended play to triple overtime, involving 10 current members and Maryland. A dozen occurred in nonconference play.
Clearly the most notable came in consecutive games won by UNC in the 1957 Final Four.
Other than Georgia Tech-Georgia State, there have only been three games in this century involving an ACC member that stretched to at least three extra periods: Wake Forest won at the Smith Center in the Heels’ first league game under new coach Roy Williams just prior to Christmas in 2003; Florida State lost to Princeton in 15 extra minutes at Tallahassee just before the calendar year flipped to 2012; and last year Miami beat Virginia Tech at Blacksburg at mid-February, one of four overtime contests the Hurricanes endured in 2020.
As for the longest games ever involving current ACC members, Syracuse topped Connecticut 127-117 in six overtimes in the 2009 Big East tournament, and Notre Dame and Louisville played five overtimes in a Feb. 9, 2013 contest won by the Fighting Irish at the KFC Yum! Center.
Notre Dame and Syracuse joined the ACC in 2014, Louisville in 2015.
Longest Overtime Games By ACC Schools
(Listed By Most Recent First)
|L, 72-73||at Duke||3||2-24-82|
|W, 87-86||North Carolina||3||3-2-68|
|L, 68-70||at Virginia||3||2-25-58|
|Florida State||L, 73-75||Princeton||3||12-30-11|
|Georgia Tech||L, 120-123||Georgia State||4||11-25-20|
|W, 71-65||Oklahoma City||3||2-14-59|
|Maryland||W, 66-65||at Clemson||3||2-18-84|
|W, 67-65||Rhode Island (NIT)||3||3-7-79|
|W, 109-108||N.C. State (ACCT)||3||3-1-78|
|L, 64-69||at N.C. State||3||2-15-58|
|L, 46-47||Memphis State||3||12-30-57|
|Miami||W, 102-95||at Virginia Tech||3||2-19-20|
|North Carolina||W, 113-106||at Tulane||4||12-14-76|
|L, 114-119||Wake Forest||3||12-20-03|
|L, 86-87||at Duke||3||3-2-68|
|W, 54-53||Kansas (Final 4)||3||3-23-57|
|W, 74-70||Mich. St. (Final 4)||3||3-22-57|
|N.C. State||W, 110-103||at Wake Forest||4||3-4-89|
|L, 78-79||Canisius (NCAA)||4||3-12-56|
|L, 108-109||Maryland (ACCT)||3||3-1-78|
|Virginia||L, 111-115||Georgetown (NIT)||3||3-15-00|
|L, 71-72||at Georgia Tech||3||1-23-84|
|Virginia Tech||L, 95-102||Miami||3||2-19-20|
|Wake Forest||L, 103-110||N.C. State||4||3-4-89|
|W, 119-114||at North Carolina||3||12-20-03|