Utah blew a big first-half lead, then rallied late and downed Georgia Tech 68-64 in the opening round of the Fort Myers Tip-Off on Monday night.
Gabe Madsen’s two free throws with 1.7 seconds remaining on the clock sealed the win in Fort Myers, Florida. Utah will face the winner of the Marquette-Mississippi State game in Wednesday’s final.
Here are 3 keys to Utah’s 68-64 win as the Utes improved to 4-1 on the season:
• Five Utes reached double figures, led by Gabe Madsen’s 16 points, as Utah bounced back from last week’s disappointing loss to Sam Houston with a solid win over an Atlantic Coast Conference team. Lazar Stefanovic and Marco Anthony added 11 points apiece and Rollie Worster made some key baskets down the stretch before fouling out.
• The Utes scored the game’s first 12 points and had a 23-4 lead midway through the first half before Georgia Tech turned up its defensive pressure and pace on offense and got back in it. The Jackets missed their first nine 3-point attempts and were 2 of 13 from deep in the first half.
Georgia Tech led 48-44 with 10:35 remaining and 57-54 with 7:20 left, but missed three big free throws in the final four minutes.
• Utah committed 11 turnovers in the first half and led just 36-28 at the break despite shooting 48% from the floor and 44% from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes. The Utes had a full complement of players for the first time this season; Keba Keita, Luka Tarlac and Marco Anthony have all missed games due to injury or illness.
The Utes finished with 19 turnovers, to five for Georgia Tech, and the Yellow Jackets scored 24 points off those Utah turnovers.