Jan. 21, 2011
By Jon Cooper
VIRGINIA LEADING SCORER: Mustapha Farrakhan, 12.4 ppg VIRGINIA LEADING SCORER, ACC: Mustapha Farrakhan, 12.3 ppg
TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Iman Shumpert, 5.5 rpg TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Glen Rice Jr., 4.8 rpg
VIRGINIA LEADING REBOUNDER: Mike Scott, 10.2 rpg. VIRGINIA LEADING REBOUNDER, ACC: Assane Sene, 7.0 rpg.
TECH PPG: 71.3/66.8 (ACC) OPP. PPG: 72.2/67.5 (ACC)
VIRGINIA PPG: 63.7/60.0 (ACC) OPP. PPG: 62.9/65.5 (ACC)
Virginia Player to Watch: KT Harrell: With leading scorer Mike Scott lost for the year, the freshman guard has stepped up to help seniors Mustapha Farrakhan and Joe Harris. Harrell has 10 double-figure scoring games, doing so in four of the last five, has led the team in scoring in four of the last seven games and, the last time out against Boston College, matched his season-high with three three-pointers in four attempts. He’s now hitting 50 percent from three (5-for-10).
Georgia Tech will try to make it three straight wins for the second time this season and take the momentum gained in its last two home wins on the road with them as they visit the Virginia Cavaliers. Tip-off at John Paul Jones Arena is scheduled at shortly after 12 noon.
In their last game, the Yellow Jackets got 21 points from Glen Rice Jr. and 20 from Iman Shumpert in embarrassing Wake Forest, 74-39, Wednesday night at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The 35-point margin of victory was the largest for Tech in ACC competition. The Jackets held Wake to 13 second-half points and limited the Demon Deacons to 26.0 percent shooting.
The Cavaliers have lost three straight, all in the ACC, all of them without leading scorer Mike Scott, who is out for the year with a left-ankle injury that will require surgery. On Thursday, in their last game, the Cavs fell, 70-67 at Boston College. Farrakhan had 14 points with a career-high seven rebounds and Harrell added 13, as UVA overcame a 13-point first-half deficit but fell short as B.C. went 8-for-8 at the line down the stretch to seal the game. The Cavs were outscored 13-1 off turnovers. Virginia is 7-3 at John Paul Jones Arena, but has lost three of its last five home games.
The Yellow Jackets have a 38-31 all-time edge in the series (11-18 in Charlottesville) and have won eight of the last 13 meetings, but have struggled recently, losing both games against the Wahoos last season and dropping three of four in the series. Despite those struggles, Paul Hewitt-coached teams are 11-6 against UVA, 4-3 in Charlottesville. The Jackets are 1-2 at John Paul Jones Arena.
This afternoon’s game can be seen on the ACC Network with Mike Hogewood doing the play-by-play, and Mike Gminski providing color analysis. 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.
Rice On: Looks like the apple didn’t fall as far from the tree as people thought regarding Glen Rice Jr. Rice has been putting the “point” in point-forward, putting together the first back-to-back 20-point games of his career against North Carolina (24 pts.) and Wake Forest (21). He enters tonight’s game leading the ACC in three-point field goal percentage, hitting at 55.6 percent from behind the arc in ACC play (10 of 18) and having made 8 of his last 12 tries. He’s also moved eighth in conference scoring, at 17.3 ppg, That’s seven-tenths of a point behind Duke’s Kyle Singler, who sits in seventh, and one point behind teammate Iman Shumpert, who’s sixth. Rice was smoking against Wake, shooting a team-season-high 87.5 percent, making 7-of-8 field goal attempts, 4-of-5 from three.
Two-Man Game: As good as Rice has been of late, Shumpert has been even better. He’s scored 50 points in the recent two-game homestand (30 vs. UNC, 20 vs. Wake). Together, Rice and Shumpert have been a devastating one-two punch. Against Carolina and Wake, the pair accounted for 62.5 percent of the team’s scoring (95 of the 152 points), made 36 of the team’s 58 field goals and 11 of 20 three-pointers. Rice and Shumpert shot a combined 63.1 percent (36 of 57), while the rest of the team shot 30.9 (22 of 71).
D-Railed on D Road: To get its first road win of the season, Georgia Tech needs to tighten up on the defensive end. They are allowing more than 22 points a game more in road games (81.2, up from 59.3). Defense on the three-point line is especially off away from home, as opponents are making 50.0 percent of threes (44-of-88) and are shooting 52.9 percent overall, up from 33.7 from three and 36.7 at home. Another important disparity is turnover margin. The Yellow Jackets are plus-5.9 at home (12.5 turnovers per game to opponents’ 18.4), while they are only plus-.4 on the road (15.8 to 16.2).
Feast or Famine: Close games have been the norm when Georgia Tech and Virginia get together. Of the last 17 meetings, 12 have been decided by 10 points or fewer. Nine of those games were decided by six or fewer, including a stretch of five games between Jan. 9, 2001 and Feb. 23, 2002, decided by a total of 22 points. Tech won four of the five. Tech has had a decisive edge in games that have not been close, as the Jackets have won the last seven games in the series decided by double-digits, including a 33-point thumping administered on Jan. 8, 2005 at AMC, and an 18-point romp on March 13, 2008, in the ACC Tournament.
Margin Call: Thanks in large part to their domination of Wake Forest, the Yellow Jackets sit sixth in the ACC in scoring defense, allowing 67.5 points per game. The Cavaliers are fourth, giving up a bucket less, but Tech holds a big edge in scoring margin, ranking fourth in the conference at plus-4.8, while Virginia is minus-5.5, ranking 11th, ahead of only Wake Forest. The Cavs’ 60.0 ppg also are 11th in the conference.
The Sixth Man: Anyone who went for popcorn in the final minute of the first half of the game with Wake Forest missed something rather out of the ordinary. With 44 seconds remaining, Moe Miller took and missed a foul shot. So what you say? Well, the missed foul shot was only Miller’s second of the season in 37 attempts — his first came at 15:40 of the second half of the Dec. 18 game against Richmond — and his first this season at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. To show how rare a missed foul shot at home is, Miller hadn’t missed a foul shot at AMC since the 10:38 mark of the second half on Dec. 29, 2009 against Winston Salem State and hadn’t missed in a home ACC game since his sophomore year, on March 4, 2009, against Miami. He’s on a new streak, as he made his final two FTAs against Wake.