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Starting Five: Georgia Tech (9-9, 2-3) vs. Virginia Tech (13-5, 3-2)

Jan. 24, 2011

By Jon Cooper

TECH LEADING SCORER: Iman Shumpert, 16.5 ppg

TECH LEADING SCORER, ACC: Iman Shumpert, 18.4 ppg

VIRGINIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Malcolm Delaney, 18.9 ppg

VIRGINIA TECH LEADING SCORER, ACC: Malcolm Delaney, 19.0 ppg

TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Iman Shumpert, 5.7 rpg

TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Iman Shumpert, 5.4 rpg

VIRGINIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Jeff Allen, 9.3 rpg.

VIRGINIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER, ACC: Jeff Allen, 8.2 rpg.

TECH PPG: 70.9/70.6 (ACC)

OPP. PPG: 67.1./68.4 (ACC)

VIRGINIA TECH PPG: 71.7/70.8 (ACC)

OPP. PPG: 59.7/60.4 (ACC)

Virginia Tech Player to Watch: Malcolm Delaney: The defending leading scorer in the ACC, the senior guard is tied for third at 19.0 ppg, also ranks in the top 10 in field goal percentage (46.0, eighth), minutes (38.5 MPG, second), assists (5.0 apg, fourth), three-point shooting (46.7, fifth), free throw shooting (88.5, fifth) and steals (2.0 spg, fifth). The last time Delaney visited AMC, he scored a season-high 32, on 7-for-15 shooting, 4-from-7 from three, and 14-of-17 from the line.

Georgia Tech looks to stay perfect at Thrillerdome in ACC play, where the team is 7-2 overall, when it hosts Virginia Tech. Tip-off is at 9:00 p.m.

On Saturday afternoon, Iman Shumpert led the team with 19 points and nine rebounds, but Virginia’s 18-3 run late in the first half broke open a 25-24 game and proved too much for Tech to overcome in a 72-64 loss. The loss snapped Tech’s modest two-game winning streak. Brian Oliver added 13 and Daniel Miller had 12 for the Jackets.

The Hokies have won nine of their last 10, and two straight within the conference. They’re 3-2 away from home on the season and have split their ACC road games, losing a tough three-point decision at North Carolina, in which they blew a 16-point lead, then blowing out Maryland by 17 on Thursday. Their last game was a 76-52 out-of-conference rout of Longwood at Cassell Coliseum. Delaney had a game-high 23 and Jeff Allen grabbed a game-high 10 boards.

The Yellow Jackets have struggled all-time against Va. Tech, dropping 10 of 13 and have lost five of the last six in the series. Tech is only 1-4 all-time at AMC against the Hokies and have lost two of the last three. The Jackets’ last win came on Jan. 19, 2008, an 81-70 win.

Tonight’s game can be seen on Fox Sports South with Bob Rathbun doing the play-by-play, and Dan Bonner 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.

Brian’s Breakout?: Brian Oliver may have found his stroke Saturday against Virginia. The sophomore went for 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting, 2-for-4 from three. The 13 points are the most he’s scored in the last nine games, while he hit five FGAs for only the third time in the last 10. Oliver’s 2-for-4 from three was the first multi-three game in the last four and only the third in the previous 10. He’d made only seven of his last 25 from downtown in the five previous games heading into Charlottesville.

Home Sweet Home: Iman Shumpert’s game-high 19-point effort in Tech’s loss at Virginia was a nice sight, and looked very much like a home game. The 19 points were Shumpert’s second-best total in a “true” road game this season. He had 20 in the loss at Kennesaw State back on Nov. 15 (he also scored 21 in a neutral-site game against Richmond in the Battle At Atlantis. The 19 is right on his home average, as the junior averages 18.8 points per game at Thrillerdome, on 43.2 shooting, 37.5 from three (he’s at 13.8, 33.7 and 16.0 on the road). In his last two home games, against North Carolina and Wake Forest, he’s put in 50 points (30 vs. UNC, 20 vs. Wake). His 3-for-8 from three in those two games gives him two fewer three-point field goals made than he has all season on the road.

Miller Timing: Daniel Miller put in a career-best six field goals in eight attempts against Virginia. The 75.0 percent shooting was the best percentage day of his young career while his 12 points were only two off his career-high. Miller had made only two of his previous 13 shots in the five games heading into UVA. His play helped Tech to a 34-20 edge in points in the paint.

Taking Care of Business: Tonight’s game will feature two of the ACC’s best in creating turnovers and stealing the ball. The Yellow Jackets lead the ACC with 9.0 steals per game, while the Hokies are right behind them at 8.4. The teams are equally close when it comes to turnover margin, as the Yellow Jackets rank second in the Conference, at plus-2.4, while the Hokies are third at plus-2.20. The lightest fingers belong to Virginia Tech’s Erick Green, who is second in the ACC at 2.4 steals per game. Delaney and Shumpert are tied for fifth (2.0 spg), whle Va. Tech’s Allen (1.6) is seventh, and Moe Miller and Rice (1.4) are tied for 10th.

Off-Target: The biggest difference between the Techs may come in field goal percentage defense. Yellow Jackets’ opponents are shooting 43.4 percent (seventh), while Hokies’ foes score at 39.6 (third). Va. Tech leads the ACC is scoring defense (60.4 ppg), while the Jackets are sixth (68.4). In three-point field goal defense, the Hokies are first (29.6), while Tech is last (45.3). But the disparity closes some when Georgia Tech is at AMC and Virginia Tech is not at Cassell Coliseum. In home games, the Jackets are limiting teams to 36.7 shooting and 33.7 percent from three, while allowing 59.3 points. In “true” road games, Hokies opponents are averaging 66.0 points, on 42.2 percent shooting, 33.6 from three.

The Sixth Man: To show how much of an aberration Glen Rice’s 2-for-11 was against Virginia, it was only the fourth game he scored as few as two field goals. Two games were neutral-site games, against Syracuse in Atlantic City in the Legends Classic and in the Virgin Islands, in The Battle At Atlantis against Richmond. The other was on Dec. 11 against Savannah State, when Rice was shut out but took only two shots in 10 minutes. In those three games, he took 13 shots combined. It should be noted that in the game following the 2-fers, Rice shot a combined 14-for-23 (60.8 shooting), with seven FGMs in each game.

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