Feb. 19, 2011
By Jon Cooper
DUKE LEADING SCORER: Nolan Smith, 21.4 ppg
DUKE LEADING SCORER, ACC: Nolan Smith, 23.2 ppg
DUKE LEADING REBOUNDER: Mason Plumlee, 8.7 rpg
DUKE LEADING REBOUNDER, ACC: Mason Plumlee, 10.3 rpg.
TECH PPG: 69.0/67.4 (ACC)
OPP. PPG: 67.6/70.1 (ACC)
DUKE PPG: 83.2/76.1 (ACC)
OPP. PPG: 64.3/63.1 (ACC)
Duke Player to Watch: Nolan Smith: Duke’s senior co-captain and the ACC’s leading scorer comes into tonight’s game averaging 21.4 points and 5.4 assists per game. He’s one of only two players in the NCAA averaging over 20,0 points and 5.0 assists. Smith is attempting to make ACC history by becoming the first player to lead the ACC in both scoring and assists in the same season, as his 21.4 ppg lead Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney by a deuce per game, while his 5.4 assists set the pace. North Carolina Freshman Kendall Marshall is next at 5.1 apg.
Georgia Tech will try to carry the momentum from its non-conference victory over Chattanooga into Durham, when the Jackets take on ACC-leader and No. 5 Duke in a primetime game, tonight at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets snapped a five-game losing streak on Wednesday night, topping the Mocs, 62-53 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Glen Rice, Jr. had a game-high 27 for the Yellow Jackets, while Iman Shumpert added 19 with 11 rebounds. Tech finished 8-6 in non-conference play.
The Blue Devils, the top ranked scoring and defending team in the ACC, have won five straight since their 93-78 thumping at St. John’s. Despite being held to their lowest point total of the season and getting only two points from senior co-captain Kyle Singler, Duke topped Virginia, 56-41 in Charlottesville, in their last game, Wednesday night. Nolan Smith led the way with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Georgia Tech and Duke will meet for the 87th time and only time this season, with Duke holding a commanding 63-23 series edge. The Jackets split the last year’s regular-season meetings with the Blue Devils, winning, Jan. 9 at AMC, 71-67, behind Gani Lawal’s 21 points, then dropping an 86-67 decision in Durham on Feb. 6. In the ACC Tournament, Tech hung tough, but lost, 65-61, in the championship game. The game was in doubt until Jon Scheyer’s clutch three-pointer with 18 seconds remaining. The Jackets have lost 26 of the last 29 meetings with Duke and are only 5-30 all-time at Cameron Indoor. The Jackets last won in Durham on March 3, 2004.
Tonight’s game will be telecast on Fox Sports Net, with Tim Brando calling 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.
Cameron Crazy: There are friendlier places for Georgia Tech to go than Cameron Indoor in attempting to gain its first road win of the season. Since 2000, Tech is 1-9 at Cameron and has lost by an average of 21.5 points. In the four games since their last win there in Durham in 2004, the Jackets are 0-4, losing by an average of 14.5 points. That goes against the grain of the series, as six of the last 11 games have been decided by 10 points or fewer. The Blue Devils currently own a 33-game home winning streak, the longest active streak in the nation and the fourth-longest in their history.
Roaring 20s: Glen Rice, Jr. had his third 20-point game in the last five, with his 27 against Chattanooga. He is averaging 19 points over his last six games, including a 28-point effort at Miami and a 24-point game against Florida State. Rice didn’t have a 20-point game as a freshman. The sophomore is averaging 15.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg in conference play.
Three Is a Magic Number: Rice has found that good things come in threes. His three three-point field goals against UTC gave him three straight games in which he’s buried three three-pointers. He had three such games over the season’s first 22 games and had four with three three-pointers his entire freshman year. Rice is 9-for-28 in the stretch (32.1 percent). In ACC play, he is shooting 34.9 percent from downtown, up almost eight points from his non-conference average (26.7).
Been Caught Stealing: Iman Shumpert did not have a steal on Wednesday night, ending a run of 16 straight games with at least one swipe. It was only the second game all season in which he was unable to register at least one steal. Shumpert leads the ACC in with 2.7 steals per game. No other active player in the conference has as many as 2.0, as Virginia Tech’s Erick Green and Florida State’s Derwin Kitchen are next at 1.8 spg. Kitchen’s teammate, Chris Singleton had been second at 2.1 steals before suffering a season-ending foot injury.
So Board: Iman Shumpert grabbed double-figure rebounds for the second time in three games and also pulled down at least three offensive rebounds for the second time in that stretch. Prior to this recent stretch, Shumpert had two double-figure rebound games all season and grabbed as many as three off the offensive glass only four times.
The Sixth Man: Senior Lance Storrs will make his second straight start and second start of the season tonight. Storrs made his first start in two seasons on Wednesday night against Chattanooga, scoring two points, both from the foul line, in 18 minutes — he only took two shots — grabbing three boards and handing out three assists. His rebounds and assists matched season highs. Storrs’ last start came at Maryland on Jan. 10, 2009. He made his only career back-to-back starts earlier that season, against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Jacksonville. He became the eighth different Yellow Jacket to start a game this season.