Starting Five: No. 9 Georgia Tech (16-14, 6-12 ACC) vs. No. 8 Boston College (15-16, 7-11 ACC)

March 13, 2013

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

– Georgia Tech kicks off the 60th Annual ACC Tournament, with a noon match-up at Greensboro Coliseum against Boston College.

The Yellow Jackets should know the Eagles pretty well and vice versa, as the teams met on Sunday at Conte Forum to conclude the regular season. The home standing Eagles won that game, 74-72. Marcus Georges-Hunt had 16 and Chris Bolden added 12 for the Yellow Jackets, who led by four at the half and by as much as 10 in the second period. Tech led 52-42 with 14:23 left, then, after B.C. rallied to tie the game at 56, took a five-point lead with 4:19 to play. But down the stretch, Tech went 0-for-3 with two turnovers, allowing B.C. to go on a 12-0 run to take a seven-point lead and the Jackets never got possession with the game closer than four. Joe Rahon led B.C. with 15 points, while Olivier Hanlan added 14 and Ryan Anderson chipped in with 13 for the Eagles, who won their final three regular-season games.

Today’s game will be the first meeting between the schools in ACC Tournament play. Boston College had been the only school Georgia Tech had never played in the ACC Tournament. It marks the second straight season the Jackets have played a school in the ACC Tournament for the first time, last year doing so against Miami.

The game can be seen on the ACC Network (WATL in Atlanta), with Tim Brant and Mike Gminski calling the action, and Debbie Antonelli reporting the sidelines. The game also can be seen on ESPNU, with Dave O’Brien and Doris Burke on the call, and Allison Williams patrolling from the sidelines. The game 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 (Channels to be determined). Tech fans also can follow the game online on ESPN3 or Ramblinwreck.com.

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

I Demand A Rematch!: Today’s game marks the third time in Georgia Tech’s history that the Jackets will play the same team in their ACC Tournament opener that they met in their conference regular-season finale. It’s the first time since 1986, when the No. 4/3 Jackets completed the season with a 74-63 win at the Thrillerdome over Clemson, then, as the Tournament’s top seed, routed the No. 8 Tigers, 79-61, on their way to finishing as runner-up. Four years earlier, Tech lost to North Carolina, 77-54, in the regular-season finale, then came into the Tournament as No. 8 and lost to the No. 1 Tar Heels, 55-39. There is a slight difference between 1982 and the last two occurrences. This year and ’86 the games were consecutive, while in ’82 the Jackets played Georgia State in between.

Tech Trivia: Who are the three Yellow Jackets to win the Everett Case Award as ACC Tournament MVP?

Magna Carter: The Yellow Jackets has had their best success in 2012-13 came when freshman forward Robert Carter, Jr. is at his best. Tech has won 11 of 13 games in which Carter, the team’s leading scorer in ACC play (9.9 ppg), scored at least 10 points. They were 6-1 when Carter and fellow freshman Marcus Georges-Hunt, the team’s leading scorer for the season (10.4 ppg), got into double-digits. In the Jackets’ loss to Boston College last Sunday Georges-Hunt scored had 16, but Carter was held to six points, on 3-of-6 shooting, 0-for-1 from three. He did not get to the line. In fact, his dearth of free throw attempts is an issue that needs to be addressed. Carter, the team’s second-best free throw shooter during the season at 65.1 percent (minimum 10 attempts), hasn’t made a free throw in his last two games and has only taken a total of two free throws. He didn’t attempt a free throw in three of the team’s final six games.

Putting The D in Daniel: Daniel Miller’s earning a place on the ACC All-Defensive Team is an honor that is very much deserved. Miller led the ACC in blocked shots, swatting away 62 and his 2.1 blocks per game tied with Clemson’s K.J. McDaniels (56 blocks in 27 games) for the conference lead. Miller’s 62 rejections were more than double the nearest Yellow Jacket (Carter had 29) and was one fewer than the rest of the team had combined. Miller proved a consistent force inside night in and night out, as after going without a block in three of the season’s first five games, he had 11 multi-block games in the next 13 and had at least one block in all but three games the rest of the way. Miller proved to be more than just a shot-blocker and an intimidator in the paint, leading the team in rebounding with 6.7 boards per game (12th in the ACC) and finishing second on the team in steals with 24, one behind team leader Mfon Udofia (his 17 steals in ACC play also were second to team leader Chris Bolden). He carries a season-high streak of four straight games with a steal. He’s made at least one theft in seven of the last 10 games. He has 12 steals in that span, doubling his total from the season’s first 20 games.

Road Warrior: Chris Bolden has become Georgia Tech’s main outside threat, and over the season’s final two games, it seemed the further outside the better. Bolden was 12-for-29 in the games at Miami (8-for-18) and Boston College (4-for-11), 41.3 percent shooting and was 7-for-15 from downtown (46.7 percent). In fact, Bolden probably doesn’t mind that the ACC Tournament will be in Greensboro Coliseum or anywhere outside of Atlanta, as the further he got from downtown Atlanta, the better he seems to shoot. Over his last five road games, Bolden was 9-for-22 (40.9 percent) from behind the arc, while in the last five at McCamish Pavilion he shot 5-for-18 (27.7 percent).

The Sixth Man: Georgia Tech defense was significantly better in 2012-13 than 2011-12. Opponents shot 42.5 percent this season, down from 43.2 last year. From three, opponents shot 32.9 percent, down from last year’s 38.8 … Robert Carter, Jr. improved tremendously as a shot-blocker as the ACC season went along. He made 20 blocks in conference play and finished the season with at least one block in six straight games and eight of the final nine games. After going blockless in his first two ACC games, he didn’t go without a block in back-to-back games … Georges-Hunt snapped out of a mini-slump against Boston College, shooting 6-for-10. The 60 percent shooting was his second-best day in ACC play (his best was 4-for-6 on Jan. 26 vs. Wake Forest), while the six field goals matched the total of his three previous games, during which he shot 6-for-25. His 2-for-5 shooting from three vs. B.C. snapped a three-game stretch in which he was 2-for-7 … Tech Trivia: Mark Price won the award in 1985, Brian Oliver won it in 1990 and James Forrest did it 1993 … When Mfon Udofia was held without an assist by B.C. it marked only the second time he’d been assistless in ACC play and only the third time all season … Georgia Tech needs to get more points and more attempts from the free throw line. They’ve scored fewer than 10 points at the line in six of their last seven games, and have been outscored from there in that span 109-54, with 20 of their 54 points coming in the loss to Maryland. In those seven games, they’ve been outshot from the stripe 146-86.

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 10.4 ppg
BOSTON COLLEGE LEADING SCORER: Ryan Anderson, 15.1 ppg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER (ACC): Robert Carter, Jr., 9.9 ppg
BOSTON COLLEGE LEADING SCORER (ACC): Olivier Hanlan, 15.7 ppg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Daniel Miller, 6.7 rpg
BOSTON COLLEGE LEADING REBOUNDER: Ryan Anderson, 8.1 rpg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Daniel Miller, 7.4 rpg
BOSTON COLLEGE LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Ryan Anderson, 7.2 rpg
GEORGIA TECH PPG: 64.3/62.8 ppg.
OPP. PPG: 61.6/67.1 ppg.

BOSTON COLLEGE PPG: 66.9/65.8 ppg.
OPP. PPG: 68.2/69.3 ppg.

BOSTON COLLEGE Player To Watch: – Joe Rahon. While everyone knows to watch ACC Freshman of the Year Olivier Hanlan, Georgia Tech might be better served watching Rahon. The 6-2 freshman guard, a two-time ACC Rookie of the Week, introduced himself rather rudely last Sunday, scoring a team-high 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting, 1-for-3 from three, 4-for-5 from the line. He came up especially big at the end of the game, scoring eight of his points in the game’s final four minutes. He also hurt the Jackets with his passing, dishing out seven assists. He’s eighth in the ACC in assists (3.6 apg), and assist/turnover ratio (1.8), and leads the team in minutes (35.5 mpg, third in the conference). Amongst ACC freshmen, he’s the only player to rank in the top six in points, rebounds and assists. Tech wasn’t the first team Rahon beat late, as his three with 8.2 seconds left completed the victory over Virginia and he keyed a second-half 12-0 run in the win over Clemson.

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