Starting Five: Georgia Tech (12-17, 4-11) vs. Miami (18-12, 6-9)

March 5, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

TECH LEADING SCORER: Iman Shumpert, 17.4 ppg
TECH LEADING SCORER, ACC: Iman Shumpert, 18.8 ppg

MIAMI LEADING SCORER: Malcolm Grant, 15.1 ppg
MIAMI LEADING SCORER, ACC: Malcolm Grant, 14.4 ppg

TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Iman Shumpert, 6.2 rpg
TECH LEADING REBOUNDER, ACC: Iman Shumpert, 6.2 rpg

MIAMI LEADING REBOUNDER: Reggie Johnson, 9.6 rpg.
MIAMI LEADING REBOUNDER, ACC: Reggie Johnson, 9.8 rpg.

TECH PPG: 68.7/67.2 (ACC)
OPP. PPG: 67.7/69.7 (ACC)

MIAMI PPG: 72.1/67.6 (ACC)
OPP. PPG: 67.7/68.9 (ACC)

Miami Player to Watch: Malcolm Grant: The 6-1 redshirt junior guard leads the Hurricanes in scoring at 15.1 ppg, having raised his average more than five points per game from last year. In ACC play he’s 12th in scoring at 14.4 ppg and leads the league in three-point field goals (2.8 per game), and is second in three-point field goal percentage (.420, 42- of-100). Grant scored a team-high 15 points in the Feb. 3 meeting at the BankUnited Center.

Georgia Tech concludes its 2010-11 regular season and closes the door on Alexander Memorial Coliseum, hosting Miami this afternoon. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets successfully ended the road portion of their schedule, earning their first road win of the season, in an 80-54 rout of Wake Forest at Joel Coliseum Wednesday night. It was Tech’s first road victory since Jan. 16, 2010, a string of 16 games. Iman Shumpert led the way with 24 points and Moe Miller chipped in 20. Miller and Lance Storrs play their final games as Yellow Jackets today.

The Hurricanes have won three of their last four on the road — they’ve split their last six overall — but saw their three-game road win streak snapped their last time on the road, on Feb. 26 at Florida State. The ‘Canes are coming off an 80-66 win over Maryland at BankU Center on Wednesday night. Rion Brown scored 19 points off the bench to lead four Miami double-figure scorers. Reggie Johnson had his 12th double-double of the season, with 12 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.

The Jackets are trying to avoid a season sweep at the hands of Miami, which has won six of the last seven meetings in the series and have won six of the nine games since joining the ACC. Tech almost overcame a 21-point deficit in the final 13:30 before falling, 59-57, in the teams’ first meeting this season. Tech is 3-2 all-time against the U at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Today’s game will be televised on the ACC Network (WATL), with Steve Martin calling the play-by-play, and Eddie Fogler providing color. As always, the game can be heard on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network’s flagship stations WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM). Wes Durham and Randy Waters call the action. Fans also can follow the game on Ramblinwreck.com.

Here now, the starting five for today’s game.

Rising Jason: The move to the starting lineup is working well for freshman Jason Morris. Against Wake Forest he went for 13 points, three assists, and four steals, all season-highs. He had five field goals on 11 attempts, both also season-highs. Morris shot 2-for-5 from three, and has two 3-PTFGMs in all three of his starts. He had 13 over the season’s first 26 games. Morris is averaging 10.3 point and 3.3. rebounds in 27.3 minutes while shooting 50 percent from the floor (11-of-22) and behind the arc (6-of 12).

Wake Up Call: Georgia Tech really enjoyed its two games against Wake Forest. The Jackets not only swept the season series but won the two games by a total of 61 points. Both wins were by record-setting margins, as the 35-point win on Jan. 19 at AMC (74-39) set a school record for most lopsided ACC win. The 39 points allowed were the fewest allowed by Tech in a conference game. The 80-54 win Wednesday was similarly historic, as it was the largest win ever in an ACC road game.

The Big Finish: Iman Shumpert is finishing with a flourish. Over his last two games, Shumpert has gone for 24 and 21 points, on 15-for-29 shooting (51.7 percent), while grabbing 16 boards, with 10 assists and nine steals. The back-to-back 20-point games at N.C.State and at Wake Forest are his fourth set of 20-plus-point games this season, and first all on the road. Of his 11 20-point games this season, five have come away from home — four of those in true road games. His six steals against Wake were one off his season-high set against Virginia Tech on Jan. 25. Shumpert enters today’s game second in the ACC in scoring (18.8 ppg) and leads the conference with 2.7 steals per game. His 41 swipes are 13 more than the nearest competitor, Derwin Kitchen of Florida State, who has 28, 1.9 spg).

Way To Go, Moe: Moe Miller heads into his final game coming off what may have been his best game of the year on Wednesday night. He scored 20 points for the first time in ’10-11, in a season-best 33 minutes, while making a season-high six field goals, one short of matching his career-best. He also tied his season-highs with two three-point field goals, six free throws, and five rebounds, while his three steals were one off his season-best for thefts.

A Strong Second: Glen Rice established himself as a viable second option for Tech this season, especially on the road. The sophomore actually shot better away from AMC than primary, Iman Shumpert. Despite going only 12 for 34 (35.3 percent) in the Jackets’ final three road games, Rice had as many field goals on the road for the year as Shumpert (58) and as many three-point field goals (14), yet took 12 fewer shots and 12 fewer three-point attempts.

The Sixth Man: Redshirt-sophomore guard Derek Craig got into the scorebooks for the first time in 2010-11, scoring late Wednesday night at Wake. Craig, who played in seven games last season before redshirting, had only played six minutes all season in three games and attempted only one field goal attempt (a 3-pointer at Clemson on Jan. 12) converted a layup with 1:19 left. He added a steal with eight seconds remaining but committed a turnover five seconds after that.

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