Nov. 13, 2015
ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory had a simple answer for how his Yellow Jackets scored 116 points Friday night.
“We actually made some baskets,” said Gregory, who begins his fifth year with the Yellow Jackets.
Charles Mitchell scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and the Yellow Jackets used a 32-3 run in the second half to beat visiting Cornell 116-81 in a season opener.
Georgia Tech led by just two, 66-64, with 16:26 remaining after Cornell scored its 12th 3-point field goal of the game, just prior to the Yellow Jackets’ run.
Seven Georgia Tech players scored in double figures. Marcus Georges-Hunt chipped in 17 points for the Yellow Jackets, who shot 60.3 percent and outrebounded Cornell 48-24.
Georgia Tech’s 116 points were the fifth-most in school history and the most since scoring 120 versus Texas on Nov. 27, 1991.
Cornell connected on 13 three-point field goals, but managed only 2 of 11 after making 11 of its first 22 attempts. Matt Morgan scored 20 points and Robert Hatter 19 points for the Big Red.
Tech’s 116 points were a stark contrast to last year’s Yellow Jackets team that averaged just 63.3 points per game, ranking 14th in the ACC, including a season-low of 28 points in a 57-28 loss to Virginia.
“I thought offensively we were much improved,” Gregory said. “I was really pleased in terms of doing a lot of good things — 30 points, six turnovers.”
Georgia Tech was cruising early, leading by as many as 17 points, 50-33, on Mitchell’s layup — his 16th point of the opening half. Cornell, however, went on a 16-7 run the final 3:13 of the first half to pull within 57-49 at the break. The pesky Big Red came out of the locker room to hit back-to-back 3-point field goals — their 10th and 11th 3-pointers of the game — to pull within 57-55.
But Mitchell put in a layup and junior Quinton Stephens scored seven points over a 90-second stretch to ignite the Yellow Jackets’ rally.
“We turned the ball over during that stretch,” Cornell coach Bill Courtney said. “They got hot and made some 3s. And our turnovers led to baskets.”
Adam Smith, the Virginia Tech transfer, made his debut for the Yellow Jackets with a solid performance that included 13 points, five assists and no turnovers. Mitchell and teammate James White (14 points, 11 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles for Tech.
“They (Tech) are a lot better than us right now (laughing),” Courtney said. “It’s not totally unexpected. They’ve got seniors galore. They’re a much improved ballclub over the last year. They look like they’ll jell well together, and we’re not they’re yet.”
Georgia Tech: Head coach Brian Gregory announced prior to tip-off that post players Abdoulaye Gueye (6-foot-9) and Sylvester Ogbonda (6-10) will sit out the 2015-16 season as redshirts. … Four of Georgia Tech’s starters began their careers at other Division I schools — Josh Heath (USF), Adam Smith (Virginia Tech), Nick Jacobs (Alabama) and Charles Mitchell (Maryland). … With Georgia Tech holding a 73-64 lead, Quinton Stephens outscored Cornell 7-1 by himself to give the Yellow Jackets an 80-65 advantage with 11:44 left.
Cornell: The Big Red is now 38-134 all-time against current teams from the ACC including 0-4 vs. Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech hosts Tennessee Monday.
Cornell travels to Colgate Monday.