Starting Five: Georgia Tech (1-0) vs. Tennessee (1-0)

Nov. 16, 2015

Georgia Tech looks follow up their rousing opening-night victory and go 2-0 on the young 2015-16 season when they host Tennessee Monday night at McCamish Pavilion. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets put together a solid opening-night effort in a wire-to-wire 116-81 domination of Cornell, Friday night at McCamish. The Jackets got a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double from Charles Mitchell, who led seven double-figure Jackets. Transfer James White also had 11 rebounds. The Jackets shot 60 percent and pushed the smaller Big Red around, holding a 64-28 edge in points in the paint. They turned up the defensive heat in the second half, wearing down Cornell and outscoring them 59-32, while forcing 10 turnovers and scoring 11 points off them.

The Volunteers, picked for 12th in SEC preseason polls, also come in at 1-0, following their season-opening 82-78 win over UNC Asheville at Thompson-Boling Arena. Senior guard Kevin Punter scored a career-high 31 points, junior guard Robert Hubbs III added 18 and senior forward Armani Moore had 12 points and eight rebounds. The Vols, who, like Tech, start four seniors and a junior, led only 34-33 at the break but shot 55.6 percent in the second half. Despite leading by as many as 10 early in the second half UT found themselves trailing inside of three minutes before a 6-0 run then solid foul shooting in the final minutes put the game away. Tennessee shot 52.6 percent for the game but were outrebounded 36-33 and 14-9 off the offensive glass. The win was Coach Rick Barnes’ 14th straight in a season opener but the Vols’ first since 2012.

Tonight will be the 70th meeting between the schools and the first in Atlanta since 2002. The Volunteers hold a 42-27 overall lead but the Yellow Jackets lead 18-14 lead at home, although Tennessee won the last meeting on the Tech campus, taking a 70-69 decision on Dec. 12, 2002. The teams were SEC rivals from 1932-64, with Tennessee holding a 22-31 edge in those games. This will be the first time the teams have met at McCamish Pavilion.

The game, part of ESPN’s 24-Hour Tip-off Marathon, can be seen ESPNU with Tom Hart and Cory Alexander calling the action. It also can be heard on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, WYAY (106.7 FM), and on Satellite Radio, on Sirius Channel 132 and XM 193 with Brandon Gaudin and Randy Waters on the call. Tech fans also can get up-to-the-minute stats on Ramblinwreck.com. And now, the Starting Five for tonight’s game. The Last Time We Met: No. 15 Georgia Tech shot 57 percent in the second half to break open a close game and rout Tennessee, 77-62, on Feb. 7, 2004 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. Marvin Lewis had a game-high 24 points and B.J. Elder added 20 for the Jackets, who led most of the way and avenged a one-point loss two years prior at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Tech rained threes on the Vols, hitting eight three-pointers and shooting 50 percent from behind the arc. Lewis was especially locked in, nailing five of his six long-distance attempts. Defensively, the Jackets clamped down, limiting Tennessee to 30 percent shooting and frustrating their top three-point shooter, Scooter McFadgon, who managed only eight points on 2-for-13 shooting, 1-for-7 from three. The Jackets win snapped an eight-game losing streak against Tennessee following their leaving the SEC.

Remember Me?: Nick Jacobs knows Tennessee Orange quite well and will get one more look at it tonight. Jacobs, who transferred from Alabama, has had some success in against the Vols. He’s averaging 7.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 21.3 minutes in four games played against UT. That includes a big-time game on the defensive end in the 2013 SEC Tournament, when he grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked three shots in 25 minutes as the Tide eliminated the Vols, 58-48. Jacobs chipped in six points on 3-for-5 shooting and an assist in the victory. For his career Jacobs has shot .538 (14-for-26), against the Vols, with a high of 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting in the Feb. 1, 2014 game. Tennessee won that day, but the Crimson Tide went 3-2 overall against UT with Jacobs — he did not play against them as a freshman in 2012. The Jackets hope the 6-8, 262-pound big man can help add another win to his ledger against Tennessee, following his 21-point, .667-shooting (6-for-9), five-rebound, debut on Friday against Cornell.

Tech Trivia: Georgia Tech had seven double-figure scorers in its season opener. What was the Jackets’ season-high for double-figure scorers last season?

Five To One, One in Five: Georgia Tech plans to make a concerted effort to take care of the ball this season and got off to a good start on Friday night. The Jackets had 30 assists against Cornell — sixth-most in a game in program history — while committing only six turnovers, an impressive 5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Josh Heath had a game-high seven dimes against the Big Red (he had three turnovers), with fellow point Travis Jorgenson and transfer Adam Smith each adding five. Smith, who also nailed a team-high three three-pointers, tied his career-high for assists while Jorgenson missed matching his by one. Neither Smith nor Jorgenson had a turnover. The Jackets, who had 10 players record at least one assist.

Big Trouble: Georgia Tech’s big men had a big opener. Forwards Charles Mitchell, Nick Jacobs, James White and Ben Lammers combined for 53 points and dominated in the paint, shooting 83.3 percent (25-for-30). Mitchell was 10-for-11 inside, White was 6-for-7, Jacobs was 6-for-9, and Lammers was 3-for-3. The quartet also combined for 14 of Tech’s 20 offensive rebounds (Mitchell and White five each, Jacobs and Lammers two each), helping Tech to a 29-7 edge in second-chance points. UNC Asheville held a 17-9 edge over Tennessee in second-chance points.

The Sixth Man: The 116 points Georgia Tech scored Friday led to a unique night for Coach Brian Gregory, as it was his first team as a head coach to crack the century mark … Gregory hopes to continue a trend tonight, as he has never NOT gone 2-0 in his four seasons at Georgia Tech … Trivia Answer: Georgia Tech’s high for double-digit scorers was four, which they had six times last season, including their season-opener against Georgia … Quinton Stephens, who was named a captain with Marcus Georges-Hunt, prior to the game, celebrated by grabbing a career-high seven rebounds … Georgia Tech scored 57 points in the first half Friday and 59 in the second. Their highest scoring half last season was 46 points in the second half against IPFW on Nov. 18, 2014, in a 78-69 win.

STAT CATEGORY  GEORGIA TECH  TENNESSEE
Top Scorer Charles Mitchell, 21.0 ppg Kevin Punter, 31.0 ppg
Top Rebounder Charles Mitchell, 11.0 rpg Armani Moore & Derek Reese, 8.0 rpg
Top Assists Leader Josh Heath, 7.0 apg Armani Moore, 6.0 apg
2014-2015 Team PPG 116.0 82.0
2014-15 Opponent PPG 81.0 78.0

TENNESSEE Player To Watch – Kevin Punter: Good things happen when the 6-2, 190-pound senior guard from the Bronx, N.Y., has the ball in his hands. He showed that in UT’s opener as he lit up the Bulldogs for a career-high 31 points on 10-for-14 shooting (3-for-6 from three). The 10 FGMs also were a career-best. Punter, a career 35.2 percent three-point shooter, who revamped his shot during the off-season, also gets to the line, getting there a game-high 12 times against Asheville — taking 46 percent of Tennessee’s foul shots — making eight of them. He also can pass, as he dished out 1.9 assists last season and, defensively, he’s a ballhawk, making two steals in the opener. He averaged 1.8 helpers per game in SEC play last season, third in the league in conference play.

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