Feb. 12, 2011
By Jon Cooper
VIRGINIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Malcolm Delaney, 18.3 ppg
VIRGINIA TECH LEADING SCORER, ACC: Malcolm Delaney, 17.6 ppg
VIRGINIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Jeff Allen, 10.0 rpg.
VIRGINIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER, ACC: Jeff Allen, 10.3 rpg.
TECH PPG: 69.0/66.4 (ACC)
OPP. PPG: 66.7/66.9 (ACC)
VIRGINIA TECH PPG: 70.6/68.4 (ACC)
OPP. PPG: 61.0/63.2 (ACC)
Virginia Tech Player to Watch: Jeff Allen – At 6-7, 230, the senior forward is hard to handle in the paint. In ACC play he’s 13th in scoring (14.8 ppg), fifth in field goal percentage (49.1) and third in rebounding (10.3 rpg). The Yellow Jackets had an especially hard time with Allen in the teams’ first meeting, as he led the Hokies with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Allen has led or had a share of the team rebounding lead in all but five games this season and has led the Hokies in scoring in three of the last four games. He did both in Tech’s last game, last Saturday against Boston College, when he went for 25 points and 19 rebounds.
Georgia Tech will try to snap a four-game losing streak and a season-long seven-game skein when they travel to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech. Tip-off at Cassell Coliseum is at 1:00 p.m.
It’s been tough sledding of late for the Jackets, who lost their third straight home game Thursday night, dropping a 72-63 decision to Florida State. Iman Shumpert had 25 points and 10 rebounds, both game-highs, while Glen Rice added 24. A slow start doomed Tech, who trailed 30-18 at half against the Seminoles. The three losses at AMC came by a combined 20 points.
Virginia Tech has been off for a week since a tough 58-56 loss at Boston College, only their second defeat in seven games. Tech has won seven straight at home since back-to-back, three-point losses to No. 22 Purdue in overtime in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, then to Virginia, back in early December. Six of the seven wins since have been by double-digits and the average margin of victory in those seven games has been 21.3 points (although one of those was a 65-point win over Division III Mount St. Mary’s).
Georgia Tech’s seven-game road and four-game overall losing streak aren’t the only 0-fers they’d like to put by the boards today. Tech also is 0-5 all-time in Cassell Coliseum. The Jackets are 4-10 all-time against Virginia Tech, but beat the Hokies, 72-57, on Jan. 25 at AMC, led by Iman Shumpert’s triple-double (22 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists) and Brian Oliver’s 28. That was Tech’s last win. They’re hoping to bring things full-circle with a win today.
Today’s game can be seen on The ACC Network, with Tim Brant doing the play-by-play and Eddie Fogler providing color analysis. As always, the game can be heard on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network’s flagship stations WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM). Wes Durham and Randy Waters call the action. Fans also can follow the game on Ramblinwreck.com.
Here now, the starting five for today’s game.
Seventh Heaven: To say Iman Shumpert is having a career year is an understatement. In fact, his season is on pace to become historic. Entering today’s game, Shumpert, leads the Yellow Jackets in scoring (17.0 ppg), rebounding (6.1 rpg) and assists (3.5 apg). That’s a rare feat. It’s so rare that it has only been accomplished by six players in the history of ACC basketball. The company Shumpert would join includes Duke’s Danny Ferry (the first player to do this in 1987), Florida State’s Bob Sura (1994), Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan (1997), Anthony Grundy (2002) and Julius Hodge (2005) of N.C. State and Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez (2009). Shumpert would become only the third underclassman to accomplish the feat (Ferry was a sophomore, and Sura was a junior). Shumpert also leads the team in steals, which would make him the fourth player to lead his team in all four categories (Sura, Grundy and Vasquez also led their team in thefts).
Two-Man Game: Shumpert and Glen Rice have become the Georgia Tech offense, especially over the last three games. In those games, the duo has accounted for 68.7 percent of the team’s offense (121 of 176 points), and 65.6 percent of the team’s field goals (40 of 61) while taking 61.0 percent of the shots (116 of 190). With Brian Oliver lost for the season following surgery to repair a broken thumb, the leading candidate as a third option appears to be sophomore guard Mfon Udofia, who matched Rice with 10 points against Clemson. That performance made him the only player besides Shumpert and Rice to score in double figures in the last three games.
One Tough Guy: Don’t ever question Nate Hicks’ toughness. The 6-10, 218-pound freshman center from Panama City Beach, Fla., endured a broken nose on Jan. 24 then suffered an attack of appendicitis and had his appendix removed three days later. He returned to action Thursday night against Florida State, playing eight minutes, scoring two points, converting his only field goal attempt, grabbing a rebound and blocking a shot. Since debuting on Nov. 17 against Albany State, Hicks has eaten up valuable minutes, shooting a team-best 66.7 percent (12-of-18, he’s hitting at 62.5 percent in conference play at 5-for-8) and has 14 blocks, second on the team.
Good Things Happen In Fours: When Udofia grabbed four rebounds against Florida State it marked the third time in four games and eighth time this season that he hit his season-high of four boards. The FSU game also marked the fourth time in six games and his third in four that he didn’t have a turnover.
Poster Child: Daniel Miller is doing everything defensively in the post that can be asked of a center. Over his last five games, he’s pulled down 21 rebounds (5.25 per game) and has swatted away 12 shots (2.4 bpg), with five of the blocks coming against Maryland. Miller ranks fifth in the ACC with 47 blocks (2.0 blocks per game) and is the only freshman in the top five in the conference in blocks.
The Sixth Man: Jason Morris is shooting only 39.4 percent from three-point range, yet his shooting percentage goes up on the road, where he’s hit at 50 percent. While his 5-for-10 is hardly a large sampling, it might be a trend worth looking at, considering Tech is shooting 28.5 percent from three on the season and 25.0 percent on the road.