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Starting Five: Georgia Tech (11-16, 3-10) at NC State (14-13, 4-9)

Feb. 25, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

TECH LEADING SCORER: Iman Shumpert, 17.1 ppg
TECH LEADING SCORER, ACC: Iman Shumpert, 18.8 ppg

NC STATE LEADING SCORER: Tracy Smith, 14.4 ppg
NC STATE LEADING SCORER, ACC: Tracy Smith, 15.4 ppg

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

N.C. STATE LEADING REBOUNDER: C.J. Leslie, 7.5 rpg.
N.C. STATE LEADING REBOUNDER, ACC: C.J. Leslie, 6.9 rpg.

TECH PPG: 68.1/65.7 (ACC)
OPP. PPG: 67.8/70.2 (ACC)

NC STATE PPG: 71.3/69.5 (ACC)
OPP. PPG: 70.1/74.2 (ACC)

NC State Player to Watch: C.J. Leslie: The 6-8 freshman forward is a strong candidate for ACC Rookie of the Year, as he leads the team in rebounding and is second in scoring behind Tracy Smith. A three-time ACC rookie of the week, he is second among rookies in scoring (13.4 ppg) and rebounding (6.8 rpg) in conference play. Over his last five games he’s shooting 51.5 percent (34-for-66), while averaging 17.2 points and 8.0 rebounds.

Here now the Starting Five for today’s game.

Georgia Tech will try to end a seven-game ACC losing streak and earn its first road win of the season when they visit the RBC Center for their only game of the year against North Carolina State. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets suffered a disappointing 62-56 loss to Virginia on Wednesday night at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. UVA went on a late 12-0 run to take the lead for good. Iman Shumpert led Tech with 12, while Moe Miller and Jason Morris each chipped in with 10.

The Wolfpack fell to No. 19 North Carolina, 75-63, in their last game, Wednesday at RBC. It was State’s second straight loss and sixth in the last eight games. The Pack dropped to 4-9 in ACC play and is 3-3 in home conference games. C.J. Leslie led the Wolfpack with 13 points and eight rebounds.

Georgia Tech trails the all-time series, 50-36, is 8-28 on the road, and only 1-8 at the RBC Center, but has had recent success against State. The Jackets have won five of the last seven meetings, including both of last year’s games, taking a 73-71 decision at AMC, after nearly blowing a 16-point lead in the final five minutes, then winning, 57-54, in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. The five-game streak ended a State seven-game run. Close games is the norm when these teams get together, as the Yellow Jackets’ recent five wins have come by a total of 20 points, with the largest win being by nine-point victory, and 12 of the last 13 games total have been decided by 10 points or less.

Today’s game will be televised on the ACC Network (WATL-TV in Atlanta), with Steve Martin calling the play-by-play, and Cory Alexander providing color. 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.

Start Me Up: Freshman Jason Morris made the most of his first collegiate start. The athletic 6-5 freshman guard played a season-high 30 minutes and had his fourth double-figure game of the season. It was his second double-digit game in ACC play and first in eight games. Over the previous six games he’d totaled 20 points. His 3-for-6 shooting against Virginia snapped a 4-for-17 slump over four games.

Back For Seconds: Today’s game will feature two of the best offensive rebounding teams in the ACC, as the Yellow Jackets (13.7) and Wolfpack (13.3) rank second and third. Glen Rice is Tech’s leader on the offensive glass, with 49, while Iman Shumpert leads the team with 27 offensive boards in ACC games. Rice leads Tech in ACC road games, pulling down 23 (2.5 ORPG). State’s C.J. Leslie (3.5 ORPG) and Marietta native Richard Howell (2.9) are both among the conference’s top 10 in the category.

A 50-50 Proposition: One area that has haunted the Yellow Jackets all season has been their inconsistency from the floor, something to be expected from a young team. It’s also here that the loss of Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal is most profoundly felt. Last year’s team shot 50 percent or better 12 times and was 10-2 in those games (they were 4-1 in the ACC). This season the Jackets have yet to shoot 50 percent in a game. Under Paul Hewitt, Tech has won 83 percent of the time (72-15) when hitting at least half their shots.

Dan The Man: Daniel Miller has become a force on the blocks and in blocks. Miller followed his five-block night at Duke with a four-swat effort against Virginia. It’s his most productive two-game stretch since the first two games of the season, when he had seven in the opener against Charleston Southern then two at Kennesaw State. He has moved him up to second in the ACC, with 30 blocks, 2.3 per game. Only North Carolina’s John Henson (43, 3.3) is better in ACC play.

Iman Giveth, Iman Giveth Away: Wednesday night’s game against Virginia was a mixed bag as far as ball-handling for Iman Shumpert. Shumpert dished out four assists, the most he’d had in his last eight games (since he had 11 as part of his triple-double Jan. 25 against Virginia Tech). But he also turned the ball over five times, matching his season-high set twice (Jan. 30 against Maryland and six days later against Clemson). That was part of a three-game stretch in which he had 14 turnovers. He’d had only eight in the five games after that unusual stretch until Wednesday.

The Sixth Man: Moe Miller is finishing his career strong. Miller hit for double-figures in back-to-back games for the first time this season, shooting 4-for-5 against Virginia. He’s made nine of his last 13 field goal attempts in the last two games. Moe’s also nailed at least one three-pointer in four straight games. That’s his longest stretch of the season and the most since he hit a three in eight straight games at the end of his freshman year.

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