#TGW: Back To What They Do Best

Jan. 12, 2015

Matt Winkeljohn
The Good Word

After Saturday’s game, there was no mystery to unravel, and Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory could say without having yet viewed tape of a 76-69 loss at Wake Forest what needs to happen: the Yellow Jackets want to get back to doing what they do best.

The Jackets (9-6, 0-3 ACC) were more effective in some ways than usual, yet deficient for the first time in the area where they have been strong – on the boards.

Wake Forest (9-8, 1-3) out-rebounded the Jackets 41-29. Tech left its calling card in Atlanta.

“This is the first time all season we have been outrebounded; they went after us,” the coach explained. “That’s not who we are, that’s not what we do and it wasn’t a good showing.”

Demon Deacons big man Devin Thomas had game highs of 17 points and 14 rebounds, but the Jackets diluted their own solid 45.9 percent shooting and a solid 5-of-14 effort from beyond the 3-point arc with inconsistencies.

Marcus Georges-Hunt scored all 16 of his points in the second half, Tech was just 8-of-17 at the free throw line, and most importantly the rebounding deficit was too great to overcome.

Wake Forest wasn’t stellar at the free throw line, yet made 11 more than Tech while going to the stripe nearly twice as often as the Jackets (19-of-31).

The Demon Deacons made just 11-of-20 free throws in the final 2:39, but the Jackets were unable to capitalize.

Tech big men Demarco Cox and Charles Mitchell combined for 26 points on 12-of-16 shooting. Given their success in the paint, Gregory would have liked to have seen the ball in their hands more.

Even with that, the coach was not content with his twin bruisers as just six of their combined 11 rebounds came on the defensive end.

The Deacons scored 19 points off 15 offensive rebounds.

“We’ve got to keep working to get the ball in there . . . but we also need those guys with their size and strength to combine for more than six defensive rebounds,” Gregory said. “The challenge for them is that they aren’t one-aspect-of-the-game guys anymore.

“They have to be dependable in a lot of areas. We didn’t get the total game from them.”

The Jackets won’t have to wait long to try it again. They’ll play host to Notre Dame (13-2, 3-1) Wednesday in McCamish Pavilion. The Irish were ranked Nos. 12/13 before falling 62-56 Saturday to No. 3 Virginia.

The Jackets took Notre Dame to double overtime Jan. 3 before falling 83-76.

“We go 5-for-14 from 3, and shoot 46 percent [overall, and usually] I like our chances with more assists than turnovers [13-12]. Problem is, our concentration at the free throw line was not what it needed to be . . .

“Our rebounding and overall defense keep us in games and neither one was up to the level it needed to be; give Wake Forest credit for that.”

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