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Starting Five: Georgia Tech at North Carolina State

Jan. 27, 2016

By Jon Cooper | The Good Word

– Georgia Tech hits the road for the first of back-to-back away games to close out January, visiting North Carolina State. Tip-off at the PNC Arena in Raleigh is set for 8 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets lost a heartbreaker, 75-71, on Saturday to No. 17 Louisville at McCamish Pavilion. It was the Jackets fifth loss in six conference games, all of them by eight or fewer points. Marcus Georges-Hunt had a game-high 23 points, shooting 12-for-12 from the foul line, and Nick Jacobs added a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double off the bench. In a game that saw nine ties, 11 lead-changes and no lead bigger than eight, Tech led 39-32 at the halftime break. But the Jackets committed seven turnovers in the second half, compared to Louisville’s one — they were outscored 6-0 off the miscues — and were outscored 24-10 off the bench, as an unlikely source, 7-0 sophomore center Anas Mahmoud scored 12 of his career-high 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting (3-for-6 from the line). Mahmoud also drew a foul with the game tied and 1:01 to play that fouled out Georges-Hunt. The two foul shots gave Louisville the lead for good. Charles Mitchell had 10 rebounds for the Jackets, who out-rebounded the Cardinals, 41-33.

The Wolfpack lost for the sixth time in seven games on Saturday, dropping an 88-78 decision to No. 20/12 Duke at PNC. The 10-point loss was the largest in their six ACC six losses. Anthony “Cat” Barber had a team-high 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting, 3-for-4 from three, and had a game-high three steals. State led by 10 in the first half and by seven at the break on the strength of 56.7 percent shooting, 67 percent from three (6-for-9). But they made only two of 12 three-pointers in the second half, while Duke shot 71 percent, 63.6 from three (7-for-11) and went on a 10-0 run in less than three minutes to snap a 56-56 tie and take the lead for good.

Tonight’s game will be the 94th meeting between the schools in a series that dates back to 1925. It’s the second-longest-played rivalry within the ACC (Tech has played only Clemson more frequently). Georgia Tech trails 56-37 and has had its struggles in Raleigh, winning only nine times in 40 trips, only twice in its last 16. The Jackets will try to snap a five-game series losing streak, with the last two losses coming by a total of three points.

The game can be seen on The ACC Network (WATL in Atlanta) with Mike Gleason and Cory Alexander calling the action. The game also will be streamed on ESPN3. It can be heard on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, WYAY (93.7 FM) and 680 The Fan (680 AM), with Brandon Gaudin and Randy Waters on the call. You can also hear the game (NC State’s call) via satellite radio, on Sirius (Channel 93) and XM (Channel 204). Fans also can get up-to-the-minute stats on Ramblinwreck.com and the GT Gameday App.

And now, the Starting Five for tonight’s game.

The Last Time We Met…: Georgia Tech fought back from a 14-point first-half deficit only to suffer a disheartening 81-80 overtime loss to NC State on Jan. 31, 2015 at McCamish Pavilion. The Jackets appeared to have the game won, leading 80-78 in the closing seconds of overtime, but forward Quentin Stephens uncharacteristically missed two free throws. Following the second miss, State guard Trevor Lacey raced up court and nailed a long three from straight on as time expired. Marcus Georges-Hunt shared game-high scoring honors with 23 points (State’s Anthony Barber also had 23) for Tech, which got double-doubles from Charles Mitchell (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Demarco Cox (12 and 10) and 14 points and four assists from Travis Jorgenson. The Jackets dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Wolfpack 49-31, and 22-7 off the offensive boards. The latter led to a resounding 21-4 edge in second-chance points, but Tech missed three free throws in overtime and shot below 30 percent from three (5-for-17) for the game, getting outscored 30-15 from downtown.

Super Sub: Nick Jacobs has taken quite well to coming off the bench. Jacobs, who started the first 10 games of the season and 13 of the team’s first 15, has taken off over the last four. He’s averaging 14.3 points on 54.8 percent shooting (23-for-42) and 6.8 rebounds. On Saturday against Louisville, Jacobs recorded his first double-double of the season, going for 16 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes, picking up only one personal foul. Over his last two games Jacobs is shooting almost 62 percent (13-for-21) and has remained strong at the foul line, making 11 of 13 attempts, including a season-high six in seven attempts against Virginia and all four FTAs against Louisville.

Tech Trivia: Jacobs matched his, and Georgia Tech’s, season-high with 16 points off the bench against Louisville. Who holds the school single-game record for points off the bench (since 2000)?

The Roaring 20s: Marcus Georges-Hunt’s 23-point game against Louisville gave him back-to-back 20-point games for the second time this season and the fourth time in his career. Should he go for 20 at NC State Georges-Hunt would tie his longest streak of 20-point games set last Jan. 25-31. The third game in that streak came against the Wolfpack. Georges-Hunt has six 20-point games this season, that matches his career-best season in 2014-15. He had three such games his first two years.

There’s No Place Like (Away From) Home: Adam Smith loves downtown Atlanta, but he seems to love life on the road a little bit more. The ACC leader in three-point field goals (3.3 3PTFGMs per game) and the third-best three-point field goal shooter (43.7 percent), Smith has shot a sizzling 47.6 percent (30-for-63) in Tech’s seven road games — including the two neutral-court games played in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center — while he’s a 40.5 percent three-point shooter at McCamish (32-for-79). He has been especially electrifying in conference road games, hitting 52.9 percent of his 3’s (18-of-34) in games at North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. He made a then-season-high six three-pointers against the Tar Heels then made his current season-high eight four days later against the Panthers. On the other side of the coin, of the five games in which Smith has made two-or-fewer threes, four have come at McCamish (the other came against Villanova in Brooklyn).

The Sixth Man: PNC Arena has not been kind to Georgia Tech — the Jackets are 2-11 there — but it is a special place for Brian Gregory. It’s where B.G. recorded his first ACC win, on Jan. 11, 2012, an 82-71 win…Saturday’s game against Louisville was the fourth time in Charles Mitchell’s Georgia Tech career that he was part of a game in which two Yellow Jackets grabbed at least 10 rebounds. The last time the Yellow Jackets had two players grab 10 rebounds in a game with one of them not being named Charles Mitchell was Nov. 26, 2013, when Robert Carter, Jr. (15) and Daniel Miller (12) did it against Mississippi Valley State…Trivia Answer: Matt Causey went for 30 off the bench against Virginia Tech at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 19, 2008…Tech saw its streak of double-digit-assists games end on Saturday, when they had nine. It was the first game since Dec. 5, when the Jackets had only six at Tulane. Saturday was only the third time all season they were held under 10 assists. The Jackets are 0-3 in those games…Tadric Jackson hasn’t been shooting a lot but has been quite effective of late when he has. In the last three games, he’s gone 7-for-13 (53.8 percent), 3-for-5 (60.0) from three. He’s also 3-for-3 from the line. In the five games preceding this three-game stretch Jackson was 5-for-18 (27.8), 1-for-8 from three (12.5). Jackson also has made at least one three-pointer in four of the last five games and a season-high three straight games. His best run with at least one three-pointer is five straight to close last season — six straight if you include this season’s opener.

GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 15.8 ppg
GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER (ACC): Marcus Georges-Hunt, 18.7 ppg
NC STATE SCORING LEADER: Anthony Barber, 21.3 ppg

NC STATE SCORING LEADER (ACC): Anthony Barber, 20.3 ppg

GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER: Charles Mitchell, 10.8 rpg
GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Charles Mitchell, 9.5 rpg
NC STATE REBOUNDING LEADER: Abdul-Malik Abu, 8.2 rpg

NC STATE REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Abdul-Malik Abu, 9.1 rpg

GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER: Josh Heath, 3.9 apg
GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Marcus Georges-Hunt, Josh Heath, 3.2 apg
NC STATE ASSISTS LEADER: Anthony Barber, 5.2 apg
NC STATE ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Anthony Barber, 3.7 apg

GEORGIA TECH PPG/ACC: 76.4/73.7 ppg
OPP. 2014-15 PPG/ACC: 71.4/77.3 ppg

NC STATE PPG/ACC: 75.6/71.9
OPP. PPG/ACC: 68.4/75.4

NC STATE Player To Watch – Anthony Barber: It’s The Year of The Cat in Raleigh, as Anthony “Cat” Barber is having a tremendous junior season. The 6-2, 190-pound junior guard leads the ACC in scoring (22.1, 20.3 in conference play) and minutes played (38.5, 38.6 within the conference), he’s seventh in three-point shooting in ACC play (41.2), and is fourth at the line (85.8 — 90.3 against ACC competition, good for third). His 139 made free throws lead the ACC and rank fourth in the country. Barber joined NC State’s 1,000-points club in December and his 1,173 rank him eighth among active ACC players, tops among non-seniors. He also is a superb distributor, ranking fourth in the conference with 4.7 assists per game (seventh at 3.7 in ACC play). The explosive Barber is tied for the ACC lead with three 30-point games and is third with 17 20-point games. A magic number is 25.6 ppg, Barber’s average in Wolfpack victories. That’s right about where he was the last time the Yellow Jackets saw him, as he poured in a team-high 23 (tied with Marcus Georges-Hunt for game-high honors) on 9-for-12 shooting, 4-for-5 from three, with a game-high seven assists vs. only one turnover in State’s OT win.

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