Shanghai, China - Senior Ben Lammers scored a double-double with game highs of 24 points and 10 rebounds Saturday, but Georgia Tech fell, 63-60, to 21st-ranked UCLA in the Pac 12 China Game at the Baoshan Sports Center.
The end of the eight-day journey to China featured a thrilling contest between the Yellow Jackets (0-1) and the Bruins (1-0), as both teams' defense made the other work hard in a grind-it-out affair.
Lammers, a 6-10 senior from San Antonio, Texas, led the game 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Jose Alvarado finished with 12 points and seven boards. Brandon Alston also reached double digits, chipping in 10 points as well.
Tech struggled to find offense in the first half, but was able to turn to Lammers, who would score 18 of its 32 first-half points off perfect 8-of-8 shooting. The Bruins led by three at the half, thanks in part to 40 percent shooting from three-point land to kickstart the game. Tech was also able to keep UCLA off the boards in the first half, outrebounding the Bruins 14-7 while also minimizing turnovers with just five.
The second half would see the Bruins break out and push out their lead to 11 - the largest of the game. The Yellow Jackets went nearly seven minutes without a basket as the offense went cold. A 10-foot baseline jumper by Lammers, followed quickly by a layup by Alvarado, gave Tech a second life, as they would begin to claw back at the lead.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Alvarado and a free throw by Alston brought Tech within two points with just 21 seconds remaining. UCLA would make the first free throw on the other end, but miss the second, giving the Jackets a chance to tie the game.
An Alvarado straightaway three-pointer with three seconds left clanged off the back iron as the Jackets fell just shy of completing the comeback.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE: Georgia Tech capitalized off UCLA miscues, turning 14 turnovers into 18 points ... Both teams were tested in half-court execution and defense as two total fastbreak points were scored (by Georgia Tech) ... After going nearly seven minutes without a basket, Georgia Tech held UCLA to zero field goals over the final three minutes to close the game ... Despite foul trouble, Abdoulaye Gueye rejected a game-high four shots and had six rebounds.
COACH PASTNER SAID: "UCLA is a very good team. It was a very good basketball game. As a coach, all you can ask is a chance to tie or win the game at the end, and Jose got a good look. It just rimmed out. From our first private scrimmage to our exhibitions against Georgia State and Faulkner, we have improved each game. We missed a lot of layup opportunities, and some fast break opportunities that we have to be better about. Between Moses (Wright), Justin (Moore) and Brandon (Alston), we were 2-for-21 (from the floor), so we need to get better on our shot production there. Besides Ben, nobody has played a lot of college basketball, so we'll grow and get better."
UP NEXT: The Yellow Jackets fly back to Atlanta Sunday and return to action Sunday, Nov. 19, with Georgia Tech's home opener against Bethune-Cookman, 2 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion.