Nov. 20, 2015
By Matt Winkeljohn | The Good Word
Georgia Tech’s scoreboard operators have been quite busy, and the numbers began spinning immediately Thursday night as the Yellow Jackets whipped Green Bay 107-77 in McCamish Pavilion.
The Jackets (3-0) made their first eight shots, including four 3-pointers, and they surpassed their single-game highs from last season in a slew of offensive categories. In many cases it was the second time in three games that Tech has done that. Just six days earlier, the season began with a 116-81 win over Cornell.
Tech scored 80 points twice last season. It took double-overtime against Notre Dame, and overtime against N.C. State. The Jackets lost both games. They made 14-of-16 to open Thursday, including 3-pointers on consecutive possessions by Marcus Georges-Hunt, Adam Smith, Josh Heath and Georges-Hunt again.
Green Bay (0-3) was taking a shot every six seconds or so, and making a few. The Jackets were much better than that.
“They got in a good rhythm whether it was feeding it inside, or knocking down 3’s,” said Green Bay head coach Linc Darner. “We just couldn’t overcome it. I don’t know if anybody in that first half could have beaten them the way they shot the ball.”
On the way to a 56-30 halftime lead, the Jackets shot 71.9 percent (23-of-32), made 6-of-10 3-pointers, and scored on 62.5 percent of their possessions (25-of-40). Their average possession time was 16 seconds.
Monday’s 69-67 win over Tennessee was a score more in line with last season, and the pace was not as frenetic as in the season opener. The Jackets, though, suggested on Thursday that their tempo against Cornell was more in line with what they have in mind for their baseline.
“You know, every year is different and you’ve got to figure out your team a little bit, and I was excited to see how we would respond after a well-played game and important victory on Monday,” said head coach Brian Gregory.
“To come back and start the way we did, and to play with the energy level that we did . . . that was good to see.”
Tech went on to surpass last season’s highs in:
Assists – With 23 dimes, the Jackets bettered the 16 they had against Florida State last season for the second time already. They had 30 against Cornell.
Shots made – When you make 42 shots, you’re shooting a lot and shooting well. Every scholarship player scored at least once from the field. Forward Rand Rowland, Tech’s only walk-on this season, did not try a shot in four minutes of action. Last season, the Jackets made 31 in a win over Rider.
Shots attempted – Tech put it up 75 times in a whopping 81 possessions. That’s nearly 20 more possessions than last season’s average, when the Jackets never shot more than 73 times. They hit that mark in the double-overtime loss to Notre Dame, and in the overtime loss to N.C. State.
Made 3-pointers – Smith accounted for four of Tech’s 11 long balls. He hit 4-of-6, including one to start the second half. Georges-Hunt and Quinton Stephens each added a couple. Tech made nine last season against Wake Forest. In going 11-of-24 from distance, the Jackets nearly mirrored their work against Cornell ().
Rebounds – More shots (Green Bay put up 71) means more rebounds. Unlike Monday, when the Jackets were slow to the boards, Tech attacked the glass, winning 51-31. The Jackets pulled in 49 rebounds twice last season, against Rider and N.C. State.
Blocked shots – In swatting nine, the Jackets for the second time re-directed more shots than the seven they blocked last season against Boston College. Nick Jacobs led the way with four, and Ben Lammers and Quinton Stephens added two each. Against Tennessee, Tech whacked 12.
Even with Tech’s impressive shooting numbers, when digging deep the most impressive part of Thursday’s win might have been the Jackets’ rebounding.
Gregory was not thrilled after Tennessee beat his team on the boards, 53-47, as the smallish Vols had their way at times on the glass.
Tech’s big men were something else Thursday. Charles Mitchell grabbed 12 rebounds, Lammers nine, and Jacobs and Stephens pulled in eight each. The Jackets grabbed 36 defensive rebounds, allowing Green Bay to score just 12 second-chance points off of 10 offensive rebounds.
The Jackets were off Tuesday, and Wednesday’s practice, “was filled with some extra rebounding,” Gregory said. “It was good because when you do something not according to your identity, which Monday night was . . . to be challenged right back and then respond the way we did.”
Tech’s defensive markers Thursday were guards Heath and Travis Jorgenson. They turned in yeoman’s duty while limiting Green Bay point guard Carrington Love to a pedestrian night (seven points on 3-of-12 shooting) well below the 27 points he was averaging.
The Jackets’ depth and versatility are making this team compelling.
Mitchell, Jacobs, Lammers and White helped overwhelm the Phoenix.
They combined for 40 points on 17-of-28 shooting, grabbed 34 rebounds (three more than Green Bay’s total), and blocked six shots.
“I hope nobody in our league (the Horizon) has four post players like that,” Darner said. “Just physically, the size and how strong they are, they overmatched us . . . I don’t think it was them pushing off, or going over our back. I think they just went out and said, ‘I’m going to get it,’ and they got it from us.”