Feb. 22, 2013
By Jon Cooper
– Georgia Tech will try to win its third straight on the road and gain some momentum toward the ACC Tournament with five games to play, as they travel to Charlottesville to take on the University of Virginia. Tip-off at John Paul Jones Arena is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The Yellow Jackets attempt to bounce back from a 70-58 loss to North Carolina Tuesday night at McCamish Pavilion. Marcus Georges-Hunt and Chris Bolden each scored 12 points to pace the Jackets. Tech led 19-16 with nine minutes left in the first half, but allowed an 11-2 run and trailed 36-30 at intermission. In the second half, they shot only 34.6 percent and were undone by a 12-0 run, putting them behind by 18. Tech would trail by double digits the rest of the way. The Jackets hurt themselves with turnovers, committing 19, 10 more than the Heels, and were outscored 21-12 off turnovers.
The Cavaliers nearly shocked No. 2 Miami Tuesday night, but saw their upset bid end in heartbreak, losing, 54-50, at the BankUnited Center. Joe Harris had a game-high 16 points and seven rebounds, while Akil Mitchell pulled down a game-high eight rebounds and Jontel Evans handed out a game-high seven assists. The Cavs shot only 38.5 percent for the game but stuck around, using their signature defense to limit Miami to 1-for-7 shooting from three. The winning basket came via UM forward Reggie Johnson, who took an inbounds pass from guard Shane Larkin and put in a lay-up with 5.7 seconds left. Scott then intercepted UVA’s inbounds pass, was fouled and made two foul shots to seal the game. Harris saw his streak of 20-point games ended at four but extended his streak of making a three to 16 straight games.
Sunday’s game will be the final meeting between the schools this season and the 74th in a series that dates back to 1947. The Jackets lead the series 39-34 but are 1-3 at John Paul Jones Arena (they’d been 10-16 at University Hall). Tech snapped a five-game losing streak to Virginia the last time out and will try to turn around recent events in Charlottesville, where they have lost two-straight and four of five.
The game can be seen on the ACC Network (WATL in Atlanta), with Tom Werne and Debbie Antonelli calling the action. It also can be heard on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM), with Wes Durham and Randy Waters calling the action and via Satellite Radio (Sirius Ch. 93, XM Ch. 192). Tech fans also can follow the game online on ESPN3 or Ramblinwreck.com.
And now, the starting five for Sunday’s game.
The Last Time We Met: Georgia Tech came from nine points down late in the second half to stun Virginia, 66-60, on Feb. 3 at McCamish Pavilion. The win ended UVA’s four-game winning streak and a five-game series winning streak. Mfon Udofia led four double-digit Jackets with 15, including a jumper with 1:19 left to break a 57-57 tie and give Tech the lead for good. The Jackets trailed 57-48 with 8:12 to play, but closed the game on an 18-3 run, smothering Virginia, which shot 1-for-13 with three turnovers in the span. The Cavs shot 28.6 percent (8-for-28) in the second half, 27.3 (3-for-11) from three, and committed eight turnovers in the second 20. Robert Carter, Jr., and Chris Bolden each added 10 in the second half, as the Jackets shot 50 percent (12-for-24) and outscored the Cavaliers, 38-23.
Back-To-Back Is A Matter of Fact: The Yellow Jackets enter Sunday’s game looking to make it three straight wins on the road. Their current conference road winning streak (at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest) is the first since the 2007-08 season, when Tech won at NC State (Jan. 23, 2008, 77-74), then at Virginia in overtime (Jan. 27, 92-82). The last time the Jackets won three straight in an ACC season was 2004-05, when they won Feb. 8 at Clemson (70-62), Feb. 20 at Florida State (76-75), and Feb. 26 at Miami (76-72). Back-to-back road wins is becoming a habit under Brian Gregory, as Georgia Tech has won back-to-back road games in each of his two seasons at the helm, last year, winning at Georgia (Dec. 7, 68-56) then Savannah State (Dec. 10, 64-45). The last time the Jackets won back-to-back road games in consecutive seasons was in 2003-04 and ’04-05.
Tech Trivia: Daniel Miller’s next blocked shot will give him 200 for his career, making him the 26th player in ACC history to reach the mark and ranking him third all-time in Georgia Tech history. Who are the two Jackets ahead of Miller?
Stable Condition: The Yellow Jackets have been a much more stable unit this season than in Year One of the Brian Gregory Era. The Jackets have used three different starting lineups this season and have used a total of seven starters. That’s down from seven different starting lineups last season. For the last 10 games Tech has started Robert Carter, Jr. and Marcus Georges-Hunt at the forwards, Daniel Miller at center, with Chris Bolden and Mfon Udofia in the back court. Carter, Georges-Hunt and Udofia have started every game, while prior to the Jan. 17 game at Duke, Brandon Reed teamed with Udofia in the back court. The only other player to start was Jason Morris, who replaced Georges-Hunt for one game Nov. 23 against California.
That’s Bold: Chris Bolden broke out of a bit of a funk against North Carolina, scoring 12 points on 50 percent shooting. The double-figure game was his first in five games, since going for 14 against Virginia. His five field goals also were the most since the Virginia game. His 2-for-4 shooting from three was his second multi-three-pointer game in the last three — he’s shooting 40 percent from three (4-for-10) over the last three games. Since moving into the starting lineup on Jan. 17 at Duke, Bolden has averaged just under 9.9 per game, and is shooting 39.3 percent (35-for-89). Prior to Jan. 17, he’d averaged 5.0 ppg and was shooting 34 percent (30-for-88).
The Sixth Man: The Yellow Jackets have had more success in Charlottesville than any other ACC campus, as they have won 11 of 30 meetings. John Paul Jones Arena hasn’t been very kind, however, as Tech has won once in four tries…Robert Carter, Jr. set his career high by knocking away three shots against North Carolina. That gives him 21 blocked shots for the year. The outburst against UNC came after he’d blocked nine shots in his previous 11 ACC games…Tech Trivia: The only players ahead of Miller in career blocked shots are Alvin Jones (1998-2001), the school’s all-time leader with 425, and John Salley (1983-86), who had 243…Georgia Tech made only four of 11 free throw attempts against North Carolina, a season-low. Their 36.4 percentage shooting from the line also was a season low. They’d shot 63.8 percent over the previous five games and at least 70 percent in two of those games…Tech has outrebounded its opponents in seven of the last 10 games…Georgia Tech was 9-16 after 25 games last season.
GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 10.7 ppg
VIRGINIA LEADING SCORER: Joe Harris, 16.7 ppg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER (ACC): Marcus Georges-Hunt, 9.9 ppg
VIRGINIA LEADING SCORER (ACC): Joe Harris, 18.4 ppg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Robert Carter, Jr., 6.9 rpg
VIRGINIA LEADING REBOUNDER: Akil Mitchell, 8.7 rpg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Daniel Miller, 7.3 rpg
VIRGINIA LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Akil Mitchell, 8.3 rpg
GEORGIA TECH PPG: 63.9/61.4 ppg.
OPP. PPG: 59.4/64.9 ppg.
VIRGINIA PPG: 64.4/64.0 ppg.
OPP. PPG: 54.0/57.2 ppg.
VIRGINIA Player To Watch – Jontel Evans: Since missing nine of the first 13 games with a foot injury, the 5-11, 180-pound senior point guard has been dealing. He’s second in the ACC in assists (5.8 assists per game), is seventh in assists-to-turnovers (plus-1.9), and has handed out at least five assists in nine of the last 10 games. The lone game in which he didn’t get at least five assists was the Feb. 3 game against Georgia Tech. Against Miami in his last game, Evans had seven assists against only one turnover. Over the last three games, Evans is shooting 10-for-19 (52.6 percent).