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Starting Five: Georgia Tech (10-9, 3-3) vs. Maryland (13-7, 3-3)

Jan. 29, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

TECH LEADING SCORER: Iman Shumpert, 16.8 ppg
TECH LEADING SCORER, ACC: Iman Shumpert, 19.0 ppg

MARYLAND LEADING SCORER: Jordan Williams, 17.0 ppg
MARYLAND LEADING SCORER, ACC: Jordan Williams, 15.7 ppg

TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Iman Shumpert, 6.1 rpg
TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Iman Shumpert, 6.5 rpg

MARYLAND LEADING REBOUNDER: Jordan Williams, 11.8 rpg
MARYLAND LEADING REBOUNDER, ACC: Jordan Williams, 11.5 rpg

TECH PPG: 70.9/70.8 (ACC)
OPP. PPG: 66.5./66.5 (ACC)

MARYLAND PPG: 76.8/69.2 (ACC)
OPP. PPG: 63.1/66.3 (ACC)

Maryland Player to Watch: Jordan Williams: The 6-10, 260-pound sophomore center has been a double-double machine for the Terps this season, chalking up a nation-high 17, including a school-record 13 straight — a streak that was broken in Maryland’s last game at Virginia, when he was held to four points and six boards. Williams is fourth in the nation in rebounding, and is the 20th player in ACC history and only the third in Maryland’s to grab his 500th career rebound as a sophomore. He joins long-time NBA stars Joe Smith and Buck Williams. Tech held him relatively in check last season, especially in the ACC Tournament, limiting him to seven points on 1-for-5 shooting.

Paul Hewitt’s Yellow Jackets will try to make it four in a row at home when they take on Maryland in a nationally televised affair. Tip-off is at 7:45 p.m.

Defense was the key to Tech’s 72-57 rout of Virginia Tech in the Jackets’ last game, Tuesday night at AMC. A swarming defense held the Hokies under 40 percent shooting and limited Malcolm Delaney to eight points on 3-for-11 shooting. The defense allowed Tech to outscore Va. Tech, 36-18 in the final 20 minutes and overcome a three-point halftime deficit. On the offensive end Brian Oliver poured in a game-high 28 points and Iman Shumpert recorded Tech’s first triple-double (22 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists) since Dec. 28, 1989, when Kenny Anderson did it against Pittsburgh.

The Terrapins are .500 in ACC play, but are 2-1 on the road and have won back-to-back games, including a 66-42 victory over Virginia, Thursday night in Charlottesville. Despite an off-game from Williams, Maryland had plenty in the tank, as senior guard Adrian Bowie scored a season-high 22, on 8-for-13 shooting, 3-for-5 from three. The Terps held UVA to 33 percent shooting, 30.8 in the second half, when they outscored the Cavs, 40-21.

The Yellow Jackets snapped a nine-game series losing streak in the last meeting with Maryland, in the second round of last season’s ACC Tournament, but the streak allowed the Terps take the all-time series lead, which stands at 37-33. The Jackets are 17-10 all-time at Thrillerdome but are looking to break a three-game losing streak.

Tonight’s game can be seen on Fox Sports Net with Tim Brando doing the play-by-play, Mike Gminski providing color analysis and Jenn Hildreth reporting from courtside. 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.

On Second Thought: It’s no coincidence that Georgia Tech is 3-0 at home in ACC play. They’ve dominated the final 20 minutes of play in all three games. In the three games they’ve allowed a total of 57 second-half points, outscoring the opposition 111-57, and have yet to allow an opponent to score 30 points in a second half. Over the last two games they’ve held Wake Forest and Virginia Tech under 20 in the final 20! North Carolina, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech have combined to shoot 21.1 percent (15-for-71), 11.7 from three (2-for 17), and have more than twice as many turnovers (33) as they do field goals (15).

Close Calls: While Maryland has had Georgia Tech’s number in winning nine of the last ten in the series, it’s not coach-speak to say that most of the games could have gone either way. Tech lost seven of the nine games by eight points or fewer, four of those were one-possession games. Last year’s regular-season meetings were decided by a total of three points, with one of them decided on a desperation three-pointer at the buzzer. Tech ended the streak with a five-point victory (69-64) in the ACCs. Oddly, before the Maryland streak, six of the previous nine games had margins of victory of at least 10 points.

Tip of The Cap: Georgia Tech has dominated opposition in at least one category this season, controlling the opening tip. Tech has won 13 of 19 overall and, prior to losing the tip against Virginia Tech, had been 5-0 in ACC play. They’ve won six of the last eight following a stretch in which they’d lost a season-high three straight. Their season-high is seven straight wins, from Nov. 15 at Kennesaw State, through Dec. 7 against Georgia. Getting the ball first has helped Tech draw first blood seven times in the last eight games. Only Virginia has managed to score first in that span.

Iman On a Mission: While Iman Shumpert’s triple-double against Virginia Tech got people’s attention, it was simply his latest superb effort of late. In the four games since being held to eight points on Jan. 12 against Clemson, his lowest single-game total since the season opener, Shumpert has been a force. He’s shot over 50 percent (51.6, 32-for-62), and is hitting the three at 31.3 percent (5-for-16). Then there’s his work off the glass. He’s pulled 8.0 rebounds per game, grabbing a career-high 12 against the Hokies. He’s also dedicated himself on the offensive end, matching his career-high with four ORs in each of the last two games. Another important stat from Tuesday that gets lost among the doubles was that he while he was dishing out 11 assists, one off his career-high, he committed only one turnover. Shumpert has 20 assists against six turnovers over his last four games.

Good Golly, Mr. Ollie: Brian Oliver’s game-high 28 points on Tuesday night was his second-highest total of the season (his previous best was 32 points in the Legends Classic against Syracuse in Atlantic City), and gave him back-to-back double-digit-scoring games for the fourth time this season. It’s easilty his best two-game shooting stretch of the season, as he’s close to 60 percent (59.2, 16-for-27), 46.1 from three (6-for-13). His previous best two-game stretch this season came in Atlantic City, when he shot 47.3 percent (18-for-38), 47.4 from behind the arc (9-for-19) UTEP and Syracuse. The Syracuse game was the final game of a season-high three straight double-digit-scoring games. He’ll shoot for back-to-back-to-back tonight. Last season he scored in double-figures back-to-back-to-back once and back-to-back on one one other occasion.

The Sixth Man: Oliver’s effort on Tuesday was the highest scoring game for a non-starter this season. The 28 points nearly doubled the previous high of 15 set by Glen Rice at Siena on Dec. 22, 2010, and marked the second time in four games that Tech’s leading scorer came off the bench. Mfon Udofia was high scorer at Clemson on Jan. 12, with 14.

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