Dec. 14, 2015
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech (6-2) begins its post-exam stretch of the non-conference schedule with a nationally televised (ESPN2) game at 9 p.m. Tuesday night against VCU (5-3) at McCamish Pavilion.
The Yellow Jackets are meeting the Rams, who have been to the NCAA Tournament the last five years, for just the third time and for the first time since Tech captured a 73-60 victory in the second round of the 2011 Charleston Classic in Brian Gregory’s first season on the Flats.
Tech, winners of its last two games, has not played since Dec. 5, when it scored a 76-68 victory over Tulane in New Orleans. The Yellow Jackets are 5-1 at home this season.
VCU has not played since dropping a 76-71 decision to Florida State on Dec. 6 at Philips Arena in Atlanta. The Rams have played just one true road game, defeating Middle Tennessee State 62-56 on Dec. 2. Tech is the Rams’ fourth game against a power 5 conference team, following losses to No. 5 Duke and Wisconsin at Madison Square Garden and the loss to FSU.
Radio coverage of the game is provided by the Georgia Tech/IMG Sports Network, and can be heard in Atlanta on 680 the Fan (680 AM and 93.7 FM) as well as nationally on satellite radio (Sirius ch. 81, XM ch. 81). ESPN2 will televise the game live nationally.
Four Georgia Tech players are scoring in double digits through eight games – Marcus Georges-Hunt (14.6 ppg), Charles Mitchell (14.5), Adam Smith (12.1) and Nick Jacobs (10.8). Tech has not finished a season with four or more players averaging in double figures since 2008-09.
Tech is out-rebounding its opponents by 12.6 per game, which ranks 10th in the nation and No. 2 in the ACC behind Louisville (+16.9). Tech is No. 1 in the ACC and fifth nationally in offensive rebounds per game (16.13).
No Tech player in the Atlantic Coast Conference era has begun a season with eight straight double-doubles as has Charles Mitchell, and the longest streak of double-doubles at any point in a season has been five (Malcolm Mackey in 1991-92 and Gani Lawal in 2008-09).
Only one other player in the nation has more than Mitchell’s eight double-doubles in eight games (Joel Bolomboy of Weber State has nine in nine games). Mitchell leads the ACC, and his eight double-digit rebound games also lead the ACC.
Tech is averaging 81.0 points per game (seventh-highest in the ACC) and has hit the century mark twice this season. The Yellow Jackets have connected on 46.7 percent of their field goal tries (No. 9 in the ACC).
Tech is fifth in the ACC in assist average (15.25 per game) and has assisted on 51 percent of its made field goals.
In a reversal from previous Brian Gregory-coached Tech teams, Tech ranks higher in offensive categories than in defensive ones, at least in the early going. The Jackets are currently 12th in scoring defense and 13th in field goal percentage defense.
Tech’s starting lineup for the first eight games has been Josh Heath at point guard, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith on the wings, and Nick Jacobs and Charles Mitchell at the post positions. Only Georges-Hunt began his career at Georgia Tech.
Tech has played at least 10 players in every game this season, and played its entire 12-man roster against Cornell, Green Bay and Wofford.
Mitchell leads the ACC in rebound average (13.0 rpg) and in field goal percentage (61.3 pct.). Mitchell ranks fifth and 29th, respectively, in the nation in those categories.
Marcus Georges-Hunt is 11th in the ACC in free throw percentage (82.0). Of the top 10 in percentage, only Grayson Allen of Duke and Anthony Barber of NC State have been to the line more than Georges-Hunt (41-of-50).
With 23 more points, Georges-Hunt is poised to leapfrog three players on Tech’s all-time scoring list. Georges-Hunt is 28th with 1,244 points. Drew Barry (1,253) is 27th, Jarrett Jack (1,265) is 26th and Bud Blemker (1,266) is 25th.
Adam Smith is fourth in the ACC in three-point field goals made (2.88 per game). He has made at least one three in every game.
Josh Heath is No. 10 in the ACC in assists (4.1 per game) and fifth in assist-turnover ratio (3.30-1). Tech’s point guard tandem of Heath and Travis Jorgenson have 53 assists and 15 turnovers for a 3.53-1 ratio. Tech has a 1.37-1 team ratio (7th in the ACC).
Tech’s top five scorers this season — Mitchell, Georges-Hunt, Smith, Jacobs and Quinton Stephens — have hit a combined 77.4 percent (96-for-124) of their charity tosses this season.
VCU is one of four non-conference teams that Tech also faced during its run to the NCAA national championship game in 2004 (Cornell, Tennessee, Georgia and VCU).
INSIDE THE SERIES WITH VCU
Georgia Tech and VCU are meeting for the third time; the Yellow Jackets won both previous games in the series.
The Rams visited Alexander Memorial Coliseum on Dec. 29, 2003, a game Tech won 86-65 as part of its 12-0 start and eventual run to the national title game. Marvin Lewis, now Tech’s associate director of athletics and chief financial officer, led the Yellow Jackets with 19 points in that game.
The team’s only other meeting was the Nov. 18, 2011 encounter in the Charleston Classic, a 73-60 Tech win in which the Yellow Jackets overcame an early 13-point deficit. That still stands as the largest deficit Tech has overcome to win a game under Brian Gregory, along with a 71-69 win at No. 6 Miami on March 6, 2013.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its fifth year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB).