Starting Five: NC State (20-8, 9-6 ACC) at Georgia Tech (15-12, 5-10 ACC)

March 2, 2013

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Georgia Tech concludes its 2012-13 home slate tonight on Senior Night, hosting North Carolina State. Tip-off at McCamish Pavilion is set for 6:00 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets snapped their two-game losing streak with an impressive 78-68 win over Maryland Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion. Robert Carter, Jr. recorded his fourth triple-double of the season, going for 19 points and 10 rebounds, both game-highs. Brandon Reed added 17 and Daniel Miller added 16, to spark the Jackets, who shot 51.0 percent. Trailing by three with 10:22 left in the half, Tech went on a 10-0 run, with eight of the points scored by Reed, to take a 24-17 lead. After the Terps cut the lead down to one inside the half’s final minute, the Jackets went on a 9-0 run bridging the end of the first half and the first 64 seconds of the second to open a 10-point lead.

Reed and Carter hit big shots in the final 51 seconds of the first half to push the lead to 38-33 at the break. Then, coming out of the locker room, Miller hit a pair of free throws, then Marcus Georges-Hunt drained a three to give the Jackets a 43-33 lead. The game remained a two-possession game the rest of the way. Carter shot 7-for-11, while Reed was 6-for-9, 3-for-4 from three. Tech defended the three-point line well all night, limiting Maryland to 21.1 percent shooting (4-for-19).

The Wolfpack reached the 20-win mark on Wednesday night, routing Boston College, 82-64, at PNC Arena. Freshman Rodney Purvis came off the bench to score a game- and career-high 21 to lead five double-digit scorers. State spotted B.C. the first basket of the game then reeled off the next 14 points. They led by as much as 16, then, after B.C. pulled to within three, got a three from Scott Wood, one of his five on the day, to take a 33-27 lead into halftime. In the second half, Wood hit another three on the first possession to stretch the lead to nine. The ‘Pack put the game on ice, going on a 10-0 run, with Purvis scoring six of the 10 points to push the lead to 49-34, and the Eagles never got closer than 11. The unselfish Wolfpack handed out 19 assists and ran wild in transition, outscoring B.C. 25-4 in fast break points.

Tonight’s game will be the final meeting between the schools this season and the 91st in a series that dates back to 1925. The Jackets trail the series 53-37 and have lost three of four and two of the last three at home. But they still hold a 22-15 all-time advantage in home games. Today is the first meeting at McCamish Pavilion.

The game can be seen on the ESPNU, with Carter Blackburn and Jay Williams calling the action and Allison Williams reporting from the sidelines. It also can be heard on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM), with Wes Durham and Randy Waters calling the action and via Satellite Radio (Sirius Ch. 92 and XM Ch. 191). Tech fans can follow the game online on ESPN3 or Ramblinwreck.com.

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

The Last Time We Met: Georgia Tech nearly pulled off a gigantic upset, but ran out of gas late and dropped an 83-70 decision on Jan. 9 at PNC Arena. The Yellow Jackets had No. 20 NC State on the ropes, leading 51-47 with 10 minutes to play, but made only three field goals over the final 7:30 and the ‘Pack took advantage and pulled away. Daniel Miller had 15 points, on 7-for-11 shooting, and 10 rebounds to lead the Jackets. Mfon Udofia had 13 and Robert Carter, Jr. added 12. Tech closed the half with a 5-0 run in the final 47 seconds to take a 38-37 lead into the locker room. The second half saw six ties and three lead changes before Wood’s three-pointer with 7:33 left broke a 55-55 tie, giving the home team the lead for good and igniting a 17-5 run. Wood scored eight points in the run. The Jackets shot only 30.6 percent in the final 20 minutes, while State shot 56.0 percent, hitting 4-of-8 threes. Tech went 1-for-9 from behind the arc in the second half after shooting 3-for-9 in the first 20.

In Control: Mfon Udofia, who will be playing his final home game tonight, has been a master of ball control this season. He enters his final home game with 82 assists, against 49 turnovers, a 1.7 ratio, ninth in the ACC, and he has chalked up 274 career assists, good for 18th in school history. He’s 11 helpers away from tying Dennis Scott for 17th. Mfon has been especially immaculate of late, as over the last seven games he’s had 25 assists against only nine giveaways. That includes two clean games and three one-turnover games. Udofia, one of three players to start every game this season, has seven assists against but one turnover in his last two games, covering 56 minutes.

In Control (II): Pierre Jordan, who also plays his final home game today, has proved the perfect complement to Udofia and has been as careful in handling the rock. Jordan, who will complete the requirements for his Master’s in Building Construction in the spring, has turned the ball over only 30 times in 469 minutes of action in his two seasons at Tech, with 24 clean games in his 46 appearances. He’s been particularly safe in ACC play this season, as he has but one turnover in the seven ACC games in which he’s appeared. That came in his first conference game, against Miami on Jan. 5.

Downtown Is Carter Country: Robert Carter, Jr. doesn’t shoot a lot from three but is proving to be a legitimate threat when he does. The 6-8, 245-pound freshman forward, Tech’s leading scorer in ACC play and second on the team overall, is hitting 35.3 percent from behind the arc in conference action. That’s second on the team (minimum five attempts). Carter made at least one three in four straight games and in 10 of the last 12 games in which he’s attempted a three.

Who Was That Masked Man?: Redshirt-junior guard Brandon Reed’s 17-point explosion Wednesday night was as welcome to Georgia Tech as it was surprising to Maryland. Reed, who shot 67 percent on the night (6-for-9) and 75.0 percent from three (3-for-4), had totaled 15 points, five field goals and three threes over his previous five games. The 17 points were his ACC high and two points off his season high set Nov. 25th against St. Mary’s at the DirecTV Classic. The six FGMs matched his season best, done twice previously (against St. Mary’s and most recently Dec. 17th against Alabama State). The three three-pointers were one away from his season best and matched his 2013 conference-high, set on Feb. 25th against Florida State. Perhaps the most amazing part of the performance was that Reed needed only 21 minutes to do all that damage.

The Sixth Man: Mfon Udofia has missed four of his last five free throw attempts but is still shooting a career-best 70.2 percent from the line in conference play. Last season he made a then-career-best 61.5 percent…With its 15th win, Georgia Tech has won its most games since 2009-10…Brian Gregory has had two losing seasons in his career, but both times has seen his teams bounce back the following season. At Dayton, his 2005-06 team went 14-17 but the Flyers followed by going 19-12, a five-game improvement. Tech was 11-20 last season and is 15-12 heading into today’s action. They need one more win over the final three games to reach that same five-game improvement and earn a winning season…Robert Carter, Jr., who posted his fourth double-double of the season against Maryland has distinguished himself as one of the ACC’s top freshmen. He enters today fifth among first-year players in scoring and double-digit scoring games (13), and is second in rebounding and double-digit rebound games (6).

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 10.6 ppg
NC STATE LEADING SCORER: C.J. Leslie, 15.2 ppg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER (ACC): Robert Carter, Jr., 10.2 ppg
NC STATE LEADING SCORER (ACC): C.J. Leslie, 14.7 ppg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Robert Carter, Jr., Daniel Miller, 6.9 rpg
NC STATE LEADING REBOUNDER: Richard Howell, 11.1 rpg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Daniel Miller, 7.7 rpg
NC STATE LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Richard Howell, 12.3 rpg

GEORGIA TECH PPG: 64.0/62.0 ppg.
OPP. PPG: 60.6/66.3 ppg.

NC STATE PPG: 78.3/75.5 ppg.
OPP. PPG: 71.0/72.3 ppg.

NC STATE Player To Watch: Richard Howell: The 6-8, 257-pound forward is a double-double machine, as he leads the ACC and is fifth in the nation with 16 of them. That’s more than 10 of the 11 other TEAMS in the ACC and is the most for a Wolfpack player since Tom Burleson had 26 in 1973-74. Howell does his best work on the boards, where he leads the ACC, grabbing 11.1 a game (12.3 in ACC play), which is fourth in the nation. He also leads the ACC with 3.9 offensive rebounds per game (4.5 in league play) and he is only 15 away from becoming the fifth player in school history to grab 1,000 caroms. Howell also can shoot, as he is 18th in the ACC in scoring (12.8 ppg) and third in the conference in field goal percentage (56.2 percent). The Marietta native (he starred at Wheeler HIgh School), has been relatively kind to his hometown school, as he’s averaging 6.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in six games against Georgia Tech, scoring six points with 12 rebounds in their previous meeting this season.

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