By Andy Demetra | Voice of the Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech fans have had plenty of time to rest their voices.
Following their fifth straight game away from Atlanta, the Yellow Jackets finally end a 27-day gap between home games when they return to McCamish Pavilion on Saturday. That’s the longest break in school history since 1986-87, when the Jackets went an unheard-of 43 days between home games at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
And the connective thread between those streaks is the team Tech faces this weekend.
During that 43-day hiatus in 1987, Georgia Tech beat Boston College 65-62 at the old Suntory Ball in Tokyo, Japan. On Saturday they’ll again face BC (9-4, 0-2 ACC), which fell to Wake Forest on Tuesday to snap a four-game win streak.
“I’m excited to see the type of energy that we come with. We need a great home crowd. Saturday afternoon game, we need everybody in Midtown,” Tech’s head coach Damon Stoudamire said.
They won’t exactly need to blow the dust off their locker room stalls. But in a long-overdue return to its home court, Georgia Tech (8-5, 1-1 ACC) will look to return to the win column as well. Enjoy the top notes from my chart as the Jackets seek a sixth straight win over the Eagles (4 p.m. ET, Georgia Tech Sports Network from Legends Sports):
Ebenezer Dowuona will get a chance to battle BC’s Quinten Post Saturday. (photo by Courtney Metzger)
Duke’s Kyle Filipowski has the highest draft stock.
North Carolina’s Armando Bacot has the gaudiest career numbers.
But the most versatile “5” man in the ACC may be Boston College’s Quinten Post, a 7-foot senior who checks all the boxes of a modern big. His scoring and rebounding numbers (18.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg) compare favorably to Kansas’ Hunter Dickinson and Purdue’s Zach Edey, a pair of All-American and national Player of the Year candidates – and that doesn’t include his 3.3 assists, 2.1 blocks, and 47-percent shooting from three-point range.
BC likes to reverse the ball through its “5” man often, meaning Post should get plenty of touches on the perimeter. The Eagles surround him with guards Jaeden Zackery (12.7 ppg), a broad-shouldered, back-you-down driver, and Charleston Southern transfer Claudell Harris, Jr. (14.7 ppg), a crafty creator and rhythm shooter off the dribble. The Jackets will have to be sharp in their ball-screen coverages with the myriad of two-man actions the Eagles run with Post. Six-foot-7 wing Devin McGlockton, a native of Cumming, gives them a bouncy complement on the front line, while senior Mason Madsen (12 for last 19 on 3-pointers) will lurk for three-pointers on kickouts.
An ankle injury limited Post to three minutes in last season’s 73-65 Tech win in Chestnut Hill. Can the Jackets avoid running into foul trouble against his physicality, both when he gets deep on post-ups or downhill on pick-and-rolls? And can they play well in gaps like they did in their wins over Mississippi State and Duke?
Damon Stoudamire revealed Friday that 6-11 Ebenezer Dowuona would start against BC.
“Ebe’s up. We’re playing against bigs. Ebe has been really good against the bigs. I expect him to be no different,” he said.
That may have raised eyebrows given Dowuona has had three consecutive DNP’s. But in starts against Mississippi State and Duke, teams that both featured nimble, pick-and-pop big men, Dowuona had a combined plus-minus of +24 across 39:00 of playing time.
Kowacie Reeves, Jr., got an in-home visit from Boston College’s coaches when he was in the transfer portal last summer. (photo by Danny Karnik)
Has Georgia Tech found the cure for its cold shooting at the foul line? While they clearly have nothing to do with it, Boston College’s opponents have made 78.2 percent of their free throw attempts, the fifth highest average in the nation.
In a category more within their control, the Eagles also rank last in the ACC in three-point defense (35.7 pct.). The Eagles like to dig and swarm from the ball-side corner, meaning Tech will once again have to play with strong pick-ups on the dribble.
With their tendency to over-help at times, can players like Deebo Coleman, Tafara Gapare and Kowacie Reeves Jr. – who got an in-home visit from Boston College’s coaches while in the transfer portal – knock down a few corner threes to leech the Eagles of some of their ball-side aggressiveness? Naithan George will need to beware of Zackery, a cagey defender who ranks sixth in the ACC in steals. After going 2-of-18 from three-point range at the Diamond Head Classic, can Miles Kelly build on an encouraging night from deep against Florida State (3-for-6)?
Donald Hand, Jr., will hope to fare better than the last time his Dad played Georgia Tech.
The redshirt freshman (7.1 ppg) is the son of Virginia point guard Donald Hand, Sr., who starred for the Cavaliers from 1997-2001. In his last game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on February 11, 2001, Georgia Tech upset No. 6 Virginia 62-56. Hand Jr., who had been averaging 22 points over his previous four games, missed all nine of his shot attempts en route to a meager two points.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to inform you that BC has a player from Minnesota named Prince. Sophomore Prince Aligbe, a 6-foot-6 wing from Minneapolis, has started every game for the Eagles and averages 6.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
It’s a shame Tech’s Carter Murphy is injured, or else we could have witnessed another legendary Prince/Murphy encounter on the basketball court.
Now that we’re prepared, we hope you are as well. Join us for pregame coverage starting at 3:30 p.m. ET on the Georgia Tech Sports Network from Legends Sports. See you at McCamish.
The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of the development of Yellow Jackets that thrive academically at the Institute and compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its first year under head coach Damon Stoudamire. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won four ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993, 2021), played in the NCAA Tournament 17 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) and Instagram. For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com.