Starting Five: Georgia Tech (10-18, 3-11) at Boston College (8-20, 3-11)

Feb. 28, 2012

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Georgia Tech plays its final road game of the season, when it heads to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College. Tip-off tonight at Conte Forum is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets snapped a four-game losing streak and halted a stretch that saw them lose 10 of 11 with an inspired effort in beating Maryland, 63-61, Sunday afternoon at Philips Arena. Kam Holsey recorded his first career double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Daniel Miller added 10 points and four blocks to lead the way. The Yellow Jackets fought back from an early-second-half, nine-point deficit by clamping down on the Terrapins in the second half, limiting them to 23.3 percent shooting (7-for-30) and 20 percent from three (1-for-5).

The Eagles hope home court can help them halt their current four-game losing streak and stretch of 10 losses in 11 games. They have won all three of their conference games at Conte Forum, including a 64-60 upset of Florida State on Feb. 8. The last time out, the Eagles lost at Wake Forest, 85-56. Ryan Anderson just missed his seventh double-double of the year, scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds, but B.C. had no answer defensively for Wake, which shot 55.4 percent and nailed 64.3 percent of its threes (9-for-14). The Eagles trailed by nine at the half but couldn’t keep up in the second half, trailing by as much as 32.

Tonight will be the 15th meeting in a series that started in 1946 but wasn’t played regularly until 2004, when B.C. joined the ACC. A win would give the Jackets their 10th win in the series and first season sweep of the Eagles. Since the teams became conference rivals, eight of the 10 games have been decided by eight or fewer points, with Georgia Tech winning five of those games. At Conte Forum, Tech is 0-4, but the first three of those losses came by a total of seven points. Last year’s meeting was an 11-point victory for the home team.

Tonight’s game can be seen on Fox Sports South, with Rich Waltz and Cory Alexander calling the action. Of course, fans can listen to Wes Durham and Randy Waters on Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network’s flagship stations WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM). The game also can be heard via satellite radio on Sirius (Channel 136, the B.C. broadcast). Tech fans can always follow the game and get live stats on Ramblinwreck.com.

And now, the starting five for tonight’s game.

The Last Time We Met: Kam Holsey’s jumper with 2:56 to go broke the sixth tie of the second half and Brandon Reed buried a pair of free throws with 11 seconds remaining to ice a 51-47 Georgia Tech victory, Feb. 4 at Philips Arena. Tech held Boston College to 30.4 percent shooting in the first half and carried a 20-19 lead into the half. B.C.’s shooting woes, especially from three, continued in the second half as the Eagles shot only 29.6 percent from three for the game. Mfon Udofia dished out a game-high six assists without a turnover to spark the Jackets, who shot 46.2 percent in the second half.

Morris Coming On: Sophomore forward Jason Morris is putting a nice finish on what had been a February to forget. That continued on Sunday, as Morris had nine points and hit his first two three-point attempts against Maryland. The first three came at the 19:51 mark of the first half and snapped a streak of five games without one. Coincidentally, the stretch, which saw him shoot 0-for-12, began with the Feb. 4 game against Boston College at Philips. On Feb. 18 at Virginia Tech, Morris had his first double-figure scoring game of the month, then added nine points against Maryland. In between, he didn’t score in 17 minutes against Clemson, but was trying to play through a foot injury suffered late in the game with the Hokies.

Putting It Together: Mfon Udofia had a nicely balanced offensive game on Sunday. As a distributor, the junior guard set his career-high with nine assists against only three turnovers. The nine helpers were three more than his previous career-high set in the season opener and matched twice since, and one more than his previous three games combined. He also shot decently, canning three of his seven attempts and finishing with seven points. The 3-for-7 was a nice bounce-back from the 0-for-4 vs. Clemson and broke an even more bizarre string. In his last three games that he’d chalked up at least five assists — Dec. 29 at Fordham, when he had six, February 4 against Boston College, when he had six, and Feb. 9 against NC State, when he had five — Udofia had shot a combined 1-for-26 (1-for-10 vs. Fordham, 0-for-7 vs. B.C. and 0-for-9 vs. NC State).

Money In the Middle: As Georgia Tech’s big men go, so go the Jackets. Sunday’s game against Maryland marked the sixth time this season that big men Kam Holsey and Daniel Miller scored in double figures. Four times Georgia Tech came out victorious (vs. VCU, at Georgia, vs. Boston College and vs. Maryland) and in the other two games, the Jackets lost a close game to NC State and a buzzer-beater at Virginia Tech. In those six games, the duo has combined to shoot 63.8 percent (60-for-94), with Holsey scoring 83 points (13.8 per game), and Miller adding 61 (10.2 ppg). Miller is shooting a team-best 51.6 percent in ACC games, while Holsey is second at 51.1 percent. He also leads the team in field goal percentage for the season at 59.9. Defensively, Miller’s four blocked shots give him 69 on the season, matching his single-season best set last season (he blocked 67 as a freshman). He has a block in all but one game, has multiple-blocks in 21 games, and has at least four blocks in a game nine times.

Nick of Time: Senior guard Nick Foreman gave Georgia Tech a much needed burst of energy off the bench on Sunday and he certainly didn’t waste any time getting started. Foreman entered the game at the 14:22 mark, and in less than two minutes, nailed a pair of three-pointers and grabbed a rebound. The six-point outburst helped Georgia Tech open up a five-point lead. He’d finish the game with eight points on perfect 3-for-3 shooting — his final basket was a much higher percentage shot, a dunk with 1:41 left in the half. It was nice to see some shots fall for Foreman, as coming into the game he had missed his last 11 attempts and hadn’t made a field goal in ACC play. The eight points were one off his season-high, set in the opener against Florida A&M when he shot 3-for-4 (2-for-3 from three and 1-for-2 at the line). His three rebounds (all on the defensive end) matched his ACC season-high and were two fewer than his season best set against VCU on Nov. 18.

The Sixth Man: To show how Georgia Tech has put the squeeze on defensively, only six opponents have scored 70-or-more points on the Yellow Jackets this season. That’s down from 12 teams that hit the 70-point mark in 2010-11.

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Glen Rice, 13.0 ppg LEADING SCORER (ACC): Glen Rice, 13.7 ppg

BOSTON COLLEGE LEADING SCORER: Ryan Anderson, 11.0 ppg LEADING SCORER (ACC): Ryan Anderson, 12.6 ppg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Glen Rice, 6.7 rpg LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Glen Rice, 6.6 rpg

BOSTON COLLEGE LEADING REBOUNDER: Ryan Anderson, 7.0 rpg. LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Ryan Anderson, 7.6 rpg.

GEORGIA TECH PPG/ACC: 61.0/58.3 ppg OPP. PPG/ACC: 63.1/66.4 ppg.

BOSTON COLLEGE PPG/ACC: 59.6/57.4 ppg OPP. PPG/ACC: 68.5/68.7 ppg.

Boston College Player to Watch: Ryan Anderson: The freshman forward is finishing his debut season with a flourish. He was ACC Rookie of the Week for the week ending February 19, when he averaged 21.5 points and 9.0 rebounds. Over his last five games, Anderson is averaging 18.4 points and 8.0 rebounds, while shooting 56.9 percent (33-for-58), 44.4 from three (4-for-9) and he has led the Eagles in scoring and rebounding in each of the last four games. That five-game stretch followed the Feb. 4 loss to Georgia Tech at Philips, when he scored five points, his second-lowest day of the season, and shot 2-for-10 (1-for-4 from three).

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