Jan. 10, 2012
By Jon Cooper
Georgia Tech looks to build off arguably its best effort of the season, traveling to Raleigh, N.C., for its ACC road debut, against the Wolfpack of North Carolina State. Tip-off at the RBC Center is at 9:06 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets lost their fourth straight game Saturday afternoon at Philips Arena but put together a spirited effort in falling to No. 5 Duke, 81-74. Glen Rice, Jr. had a game- and career-high 28 points with eight rebounds and Mfon Udofia added 19, as Tech shot 57.7 percent in nearly overcoming an 18-point first-half deficit.
The Wolfpack had a successful ACC opener on Saturday, topping Maryland at RBC, 79-74. Sophomore forward C.J. Leslie led four ‘Pack double-figure scorers with 20 points as well as pulling down a team- and career-best 11 rebounds. Junior forward Scott Wood added 19 points, going a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line to ice the game.
Today’s game is the 88th renewal in a series that dates back to 1925. Tech trails, 51-36, and has won only eight of 37 road games. Things are looking up for the Jackets, however, as they’ve won two of the last three meetings in the series and five of the last eight. The series has been tight, as seven of the last 10 games have been decided by five points or less. Tech is 4-3 in those games.
The game can be seen on the ACC’s regional sports network, with Mike Hogewood and Mike Gminski calling the action. Of course, fans can listen to Wes Durham and Randy Waters on Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network’s flagship stations WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM). The game also can be heard via satellite radio on Sirius (Channel 93, the NC State broadcast). Tech fans can always follow the game and get live stats on Ramblinwreck.com.
Here now, the starting five for tonight’s game.
The Last Time We Met: Iman Shumpert had 21 points, eight rebounds and seven assists but the Yellow Jackets dropped a 79-74 decision on Feb. 26, 2011. The Jackets trailed 39-33 at the half despite shooting 56.0 percent in the first half. A 9-2 run gave Tech a 51-49 lead but an 11-0 State run broke a 54-54 tie and was too much for Tech to overcome. The Jackets pulled within three in the final minute, but Scott Wood hit four straight free throws to pull away.
Udof-oria: Mfon Udofia had a superb effort Saturday against Duke. The junior point guard had a career-best 19 points, shooting 6-for-9, 2-for-3 on threes, with four rebounds, four assists and a steal. Udofia was perfect in the first half, going 3-for-3, 2-for-2 from three and 2-for-2 from the line and hit his first six shots of the game. The six field goals were the most for Mfon since Nov. 17, against St. Joe’s in the opening game of the Charleston Classic. The two three-pointers were the most since he hit three against LSU, in the finale in Charleston.
He’s Back: Junior forward Glen Rice, Jr. came on with a vengeance against Duke, scoring a career-high 28, matching his season high with 10 field goals and hitting a season-best four three-point field goals. His 57.1 percent from behind the arc was his best this season. It was a nice comeback for Rice, who had made only 2-of-10 shots, 1-of-6 from three, in his previous two games.
Second-to-None: Georgia Tech’s 57.7 percent shooting in the second half against Duke was the latest in a series of strong-shooting second halves by the Yellow Jackets. It was the fourth-best shooting half by Tech this season (all in the second 20) and the best shooting half since the second half against Georgia on Dec. 7 when Tech had its best second half of the year, shooting 65.0 percent (13-for-20). The 15 second-half field goals against Duke were the third-most for Tech in a half, matching their first half on Nov. 29 against Northwestern, behind only the 19 field goals against VCU and the 16 in the second half against both Delaware State and Siena.
Line Dancing: If there is an area for concern for the Yellow Jackets it’s at the free throw line. The Jackets come into tonight’s game ranked 10th in the ACC in free throw percentage, shooting 64.9 percent (163-for-251). The Wolfpack, on the other hand, are shooting a Conference-best 76.0 percent (257-for-338). Tech also has taken the fewest attempts of any team in the conference. Against Duke, Tech went to the line 17 fewer times than the Blue Devils (36-19 — some of that, obviously coming at the end of the game) and were outscored from the line, 29-12. They missed seven of attempts and shot 63.2 percent, including two free throws that could have tied the game and began a skid of five misses in six attempts down the stretch.
The Sixth Man: Rebounding is a strength for both teams, as the Wolfpack and Yellow Jackets rank second and third in the ACC in rebounding margin. State is plus-7.4 off the boards, while the Jackets are next at plus-6.7. The Yellow Jackets are third in the ACC in defensive rebounding, averaging half a DR more per game than fourth-place State (26.3-25.8), while State has one more offensive rebound per game (12.7, fourth, to 11.6, sixth).
TECH LEADING SCORER: Glen Rice, 13.8 ppg
LEADING SCORER (ACC): Glen Rice, 28.0 ppg
NCSTATE LEADING SCORER: C.J. Leslie, 13.5 ppg
LEADING SCORER (ACC): C.J. Leslie, 20.0 ppg
TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Daniel Miller, 7.0 rpg
LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Glen Rice, 8.0 rpg
NC STATE LEADING REBOUNDER: Richard Howell, 9.5 rpg
LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): C.J. Leslie, 11.0 rpg
TECH PPG/ACC: 64.5/74.0 ppg
OPP. PPG/ACC: 61.3/81.0 ppg
NC STATE PPG/ACC: 77.4/79.0 ppg
OPP. PPG/ACC: 69.3/74.0 ppg
NC STATE Player to Watch: C.J. Leslie: At 6-8, 209, the sophomore forward’s length and athleticism create all kinds of match-up problems. The ACC’s 12th-leading scorer has hit for double-figures in 12 of the 13 games he’s played (he missed the season’s first three games) and is shooting 53.1 percent (fourth in the conference). Defensively, he’s also a terror, as his 6.5 rebounds are 11th in the conference and his 2.2 blocked shots per game rank fifth in the ACC.