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Starting Five: Georgia Tech (10-6, 1-2 ACC) vs. Pittsburgh (15-1, 3-0 ACC)

Jan. 13, 2014

By Jon Cooper
The Good Word

– Georgia Tech looks to continue its winning ways as it continues its three-game homestand, hosting Pittsburgh tonight. Tip-off at McCamish Pavilion is set for 9 p.m. It’s the second straight game against a new ACC rival, having played Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon.

The Yellow Jackets raised their record to 8-1 at McCamish and earned their first conference win of the season on Saturday with a dramatic 74-69 win over Notre Dame. Trae Golden had a team- and game-high-tying 20 points, including a three-pointer with 45 seconds remaining to regain the lead for Tech. Center Daniel Miller added 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Jackets, who let a 15-point second-half lead slip away. Tech led by as much as 13 in the first half and by as much as 15 with 13:59 to play, but fell behind for the first time with 3:56 remaining. After two ties and two lead changes, Golden hit what proved to be the game-winning 3, his fourth of the game. The Jackets then iced the game, going 4-for-4 from the foul line. Three of the game’s four ties and all four lead changes came within the final 4:23.

The Panthers, the ACC’s third-highest scoring team (77.1 ppg) and leader in scoring margin (plus-17.8), continued to roll in their first season in ACC play on Saturday. They won their fifth straight game and third in a row to begin conference play, ripping Wake Forest, 80-65, at the Petersen Events Center. Senior forward Lamar Patterson scored a game-high 27 and senior center Talib Zanna added 16 points and 12-rebounds, the latter a game-high. Pittsburgh never trailed, leading by 14 at the break and by double digits throughout the second half. The win proved costly, however, as sophomore forward Durand Johnson, a key player off the bench, tore the ACL in his right knee in the second half and will be lost for the remainder of the season.

Tonight’s game will be the sixth meeting between the schools with Georgia Tech a perfect 5-0 thus far. They’re 2-0 at home, 1-0 in Pittsburgh and 2-0 in neutral-site games. This will be the first game between the schools since 1989 and first in the series at McCamish Pavilion.

The game can be seen on ESPNU, with Tom Hart and Len Elmore calling the action. It also can be heard on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, WYAY (106.7 FM), with Brandon Gaudin and Randy Waters on the call and via Satellite Radio on Sirius and XM (Channel 85 on both systems). Tech fans also can see the game online on ESPN3 and get up-to-the-minute stats or Ramblinwreck.com.

And now, the starting five for tonight’s game.

The Last Time We Met: Familiarity bred success for Georgia Tech, as the Yellow Jackets routed the Panthers, 111-92, in the second meeting between the schools in 24 days on Dec. 28, 1989. The game was played at The Omni as part of the Kuppenheimer Classic. Kenny Anderson torched Pittsburgh for a triple-double, scoring a game-high 32 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and handing out 18 assists for the Jackets, who played the game without Coach Bobby Cremins, who was attending the funeral of his father.

Tech Trivia: Anderson’s triple-double against Pittsburgh was the third of four in school history and the third in four years. It would be the last for 22 years. Which of Anderson’s teammates, on the floor with him that day, also has one of Georgia Tech four triple-doubles?

The Bolden The Beautiful: Sophomore guard Chris Bolden appears to be finding his confidence and his range from long distance. Bolden matched his career-high with four 3-point field goals Saturday against Notre Dame. The four three-pointers matched his total over the last seven games, during which time he shot 4-for-16 (.250). His aggression in taking eight attempts might have caught some by surprise, as he’d taken only one shot from behind the arc in the previous three games. The outburst also might have been surprising, as both the four 3PTFGMs and eight 3PTFGAs both were McCamish Pavilion highs. He’d never attempted more than six or made more than two in a home game. Coincidentally, Bolden’s two other games with four three-pointers also saw him shoot 4-for-8, last season, Jan. 17, at Duke and March 6, at Miami. He enters Tuesday’s game having made five of his last nine attempts (55.6).

Warm It Up, Chris: More on Bolden: Thanks to his three-point shooting — as oddly, he was 0-for-3 inside the arc — he scored a season-high 14 points and played a season-high 33 minutes. Coming off the bench for his fourth straight game, Bolden increased his points, 3-point shooting percentage, 3-point field goals made and rebounds for the fourth straight time. He equaled his season-high with four rebounds (matching his total number of boards in his last six games), with a season-best two offensive boards (he had four all season, none in the previous seven games) and made two steals, giving him 10 for the year. He had three thefts all freshman year.

The Bounce-Back Kid: You can’t keep Trae Golden down long. The senior guard continued a trend on Saturday that has seen him bounce back in grand style from off-games. Golden scored a team-high 20 points and hit 8-of-11 shots — a .727 field goal percentage. He also made 2-of-3 from three-point range, including the game-winning field goal. The eight field goals are a season-high. Golden’s offensive explosion followed an eight-point game against Duke, where he shot just 4-for-11, 0-for-2 from three. Such a bounce-back by Golden is not unprecedented this season. On Dec. 29 at Charlotte, he shot 7-for-13, 4-for-7 from three, matching his season high in field goals and setting a season high for 3’s. The game against the 49ers followed an eight-point night at Vanderbilt, where he shot 2-for-9, 0-for-4 from three. Golden has followed each of his last three single-digit games by shooting at least 50 percent the following game.

The Sixth Man: Georgia Tech Coach Brian Gregory is 1-1 all-time against Pittsburgh and its coach Jamie Dixon, who is 30-10 against current ACC competition. Both games came while he was at Dayton and both were blowouts for the home team. In the first meeting on Dec. 23, 2006, Dixon’s No. 7 Panthers routed Gregory’s Flyers, 84-54. But Gregory. would laugh last, getting even almost a year to the day later, as on Dec. 29, 2007, Dayton blasted No. 6 Pitt, 80-55 … Saturday’s game was the eighth time this season that Georgia Tech’s largest deficit in a game was three-or-fewer points. Notre Dame’s biggest lead all day was two, 64-62, with 3:56 to play … Tech Trivia: Dennis Scott. Scott, who with Anderson, formed two-thirds of “Lethal Weapon 3” went for 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Alcorn State on Nov. 20, 1987. Bruce Dalrymple (14, 10, 10 against UNC Charlotte on Feb. 6, 1986) had Tech’s first triple-double, and Iman Shumpert (22, 12 and 11 against Virginia Tech on Jan. 25, 2011) had the most recent triple-double …Georgia Tech continues to improve in taking care of the ball and enters tonight’s game with a plus-2 assist-to-turnover ratio in conference play (35 assists to 33 turnovers). The Jackets went into the black with their plus-6 on Saturday (17-11). That’s quite a comeback, as they started minus-4 at Maryland (7 assists vs. 11 turnovers). Since then, they have 28 assists vs. 22 turnovers … Saturday was the first game in the last six that the Jackets outshot their opponent from three-point range (7 3PTFGMs to 6) and had a better percentage (.333 percentage to .250). Notre Dame’s percentage was easily the lowest by an ACC opponent thus far and is the third-lowest shot by a Jackets opponent this season.

GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER: Trae Golden, 13.1 ppg
PITTSBURGH SCORING LEADER: Lamar Patterson, 17.9 ppg

GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER (ACC): Marcus Georges-Hunt, Trae Golden, 12.7 ppg
PITTSBURGH SCORING LEADER (ACC): Lamar Patterson, 22.7 ppg

GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDS LEADER: Robert Carter, Jr., 9.3 rpg (injured)/Daniel Miller, 8.2
PITTSBURGH REBOUNDS LEADER: Talib Zanna, 8.0 rpg

GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDS LEADER (ACC): Daniel Miller, 8.3 rpg
PITTSBURGH REBOUNDS LEADER (ACC): Talib Zanna, 10.0 rpg

GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER: Trae Golden, 3.6 apg
PITTSBURGH ASSISTS LEADER: Lamar Patterson, 4.5 rpg

GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Trae Golden, 3.7 apg
PITTSBURGH ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Lamar Patterson, 4.7 apg

GEORGIA TECH PPG: 70.5/64.0 ppg.

OPP. PPG: 66.9/75.0 ppg.

PITTSBURGH PPG/ACC: 77.1/77.7 ppg.

OPP. PPG/ACC: 59.2/62.0 ppg.

PITTSBURGH Player To Watch: Lamar Patterson: The 6-5, 225-pound senior guard is starting to earn serious recognition as a conference Player of the Year candidate. The team’s leader in scoring and assists, he’s scoring 17.9 points per game (sixth in the conference) while shooting a league-high 53.5 percent, and is among the top 10 in assists (4.5 apg, sixth) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.1, ninth). The defending ACC Player of the Week (23.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.0 apg, 62.1 FG%, 55.2 3PTFG%), his second this year, Patterson has upped his game in conference play, scoring 22.7 points on 57.8 percent shooting, while handing out 4.7 assists and pulling down 6.0 rebounds per contest. He has scored in double-figures in 15 of 16 games this season and has gone for at least 20 points six times. He needs only 12 more rebounds and 55 more assists to become only the third player in school history to score 1,000 points, pull in 500 rebounds and hand out 400 assists.

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