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Starting 5: Georgia Tech (2-0) vs. Green Bay (0-2)

Nov. 19, 2015

By Jon Cooper | The Good Word

– Georgia Tech will try to go 3-0 on the young season when it hosts Green Bay of the Horizon League Thursday night as part of the NIT Season Tipoff. Tipoff at McCamish Pavilion is set for 7 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets made it 2-0 on Monday night but had to really work for it, edging Tennessee, 69-67. The Jackets survived an off-night offensively, shooting 39.4 percent, 10.5 from three, but found enough to rally from nine points down with 14:30 remaining in the game for the win. Nick Jacobs led the way, matching his career-high with 23 points. Marcus Georges-Hunt chipped in 17 and Charles Mitchell had his second straight double-double, going for 12 points and 12 rebounds. The Jackets used a 14-2 run to take the lead for good then held off the Vols, who shot 31.4 percent in the second half.

The Phoenix, who finished 24-9, second in the Horizon last season, will look to rise from the ashes of back-to-back losses as they complete their season-opening stretch of three straight road games. Green Bay dropped a 103-90 decision to East Tennessee State Tuesday night as part of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon despite a career-high 23 points and nine rebounds from forward Kenneth Lowe, 22 points from guard Covington Love and a 15-point, 13-rebound double-double from guard Jordan Fouse. Green Bay led by 11 early but could not slow hot-shooting ETSU, which shot 56 percent in the second half, 53.8 percent from three. It was the first 100-point game against the Phoenix since 2004. Green Bay also suffered its first back-to-back losses in three seasons, since they lost to Wright State and Detroit from Jan. 3-5, 2013.

This will be the first meeting between the two teams, but Georgia Tech is 3-3 in six previous games against the Horizon. Green Bay is 5-9 against the ACC but is riding a two-game winning streak.

The game will be streamed on ESPN3 with Richard Musterer and Jon Babul calling the action. It also can be heard on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, WYAY (93.7 FM) and 680 The Fan (680 AM), with Brandon Gaudin and Randy Waters on the call. Tech fans also can get up-to-the-minute stats on Ramblinwreck.com and the GT Gameday App.

And now, the Starting Five for tonight’s game.

Can You Say Triple-Double-Double?: Charles Mitchell followed up his opening night 21-point, 11-rebound effort with a 12/12 double-double against Tennessee. The back-to-back double-doubles are the second of his college career, as he did it last season to kick off Tech’s ACC schedule, going for 14 points and 12 rebounds on Jan. 3 at No. 14 Notre Dame then, following that up with 17 and 11 four days later against Syracuse in the ACC home opener. Mitchell actually has three straight double-doubles dating back to last season, as he had 14 points and 11 rebounds in last year’s ACC Tournament game against Boston College.

Tech Trivia: With a double-double tonight against Green Bay, Mitchell would have recorded back-to-back-to-back double-doubles this season. Who was the last Georgia Tech player to record back-to-back-to-back double-doubles in the same season?

Working For the Clampdown: Georgia Tech has been a strong second-half team in its first two games, especially on the defensive end. The Yellow Jackets have limited Cornell and Tennessee to 35.9 percent shooting in the second half (23-for-64), vs. 43.8 percent in the first half (32-for-73) and has held them to 33.3 percent shooting from three-point range (7-for-21) in the second 20 minutes, vs. 40 percent in the first half (10-for-25). Against Tennessee the Jackets were equally stingy in both halves from three, limiting the Vols to 2-for-7 shooting in the first, and 2-for-8 in the second. By holding Tennessee to 35.1 percent, the Jackets raised their record to 31-15 when holding opponents under 40 percent shooting.

Defensive Double-Double: Georgia Tech put together a solid defensive effort protecting the rim with 12 blocks and taking advantage of Tennessee not protecting the ball, making 10 steals. The Yellow Jackets’ quartet of bigs led the block party, as James White swatted away four shots, Charles Mitchell rejected three more, Ben Lammers struck for two, and Nick Jacobs got one. Forward Marcus Georges-Hunt and point guard Josh Heath also got into the act, each getting one. The 12 blocks tied for seventh-most in school history and is the second time they’ve gotten that many blocks in the Brian Gregory Era. The other came against Tulane, on Dec. 3, 2011. Of the 10 steals four came from Mitchell, with Georges-Hunt swiping the ball twice and White, Heath, Travis Jorgenson and Adam Smith getting one each.

Beware…Take Care: As hawkish as the Yellow Jackets have been — 29 forced turnovers in two games, 18 steals — the Phoenix have been even more so, creating 34 turnovers and making 23 steals. The Jackets will rely on their point guard tandem of Josh Heath and Travis Jorgenson to protect the ball. They’ve been pretty good at it, as Heath and Jorgenson have 19 assists between them with only six turnovers, a better than 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Heath has 12 assists against four T.O.s (only one against UT), while Jorgenson has seven helpers and only two giveaways. The duo was pretty good at taking care of the ball last year as well, as the tandem combined for a 1.95:1 ratio. As a team this season, Tech has 45 assists vs. 20 turnovers — a 2.3:1 ratio.

The Sixth Man: Brian Gregory will try to go 3-0 for the fourth straight season. He’s reached that mark every year but his first on the Flats…Georgia Tech’s win over Tennessee was the second straight in the series following an eight-game series losing streak, and was the third straight against an SEC team…Trivia Answer: Freshman Derrick Favors was the last Jacket to record back-to-back-to-back double-doubles in the same season, doing so during the 2009-10 season. Favors started Dec. 5, 2009 against Southern Cal at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, scoring 10 points with 11 rebounds. He then had 14 and 10 on Dec. 14 at Chattanooga, and 15 and 11 on Dec. 16 back at AMC against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Coincidentally, Favors’ triple began two games after junior forward Gani Lawal completed one. Lawal went for 18 and 14 Nov. 20 against George Mason and 17/13 on Nov. 22 against Boston University in San Juan, during the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off. He then got his third with a 15/10 on Nov. 27 against Mercer, at AMC…Georgia Tech’s win over Tennessee came despite being outrebounded 53-47. It was only the eighth time in 41 games under Gregory that the Jackets won despite being outrebounded…Marcus Georges-Hunt enters the game with Green Bay with 1,161 career points, good for 33rd place all-time in school history. He needs six points to pass current Cleveland Cavalier Iman Shumpert.

STAT CATEGORY  GEORGIA TECH  TENNESSEE
Top Scorer Nick Jacobs, 17.5 ppg Carrington Love, 27.0 ppg
Top Rebounder Charles Mitchell, 11.5 rpg Jordan Fouse, 8.0 rpg
Top Assists Leader Josh Heath, 6.0 apg Jordan Fouse, 5.0 apg
Team PPG 92.5 89.5
Opponent PPG 74.0 98.0

GREEN BAY Player To Watch – Carrington Love: The explosive 6-1, 171-pound senior guard has been an offensive juggernaut. The defending Horizon League Player of the Week, Love is averaging 27.0 ppg, nearly double his nearest teammate. He set his career-high with 32 points in the season-opening overtime loss to Stanford then followed that up with 22 points against ETSU. Love is shooting 43.8 percent, 60.0 percent from three — including making a career-high six three-pointers against the Cardinal — but also has shown he can get to the foul line, as he’s made attempted 12 free throws in each of the first two games, making 17 (nine vs. Stanford and eight against ETSU). He is second on the team with five assists (one of only two Phoenix with more than one assist) and is second in steals with six (one off the lead).

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