Feb. 2, 2016
By Jon Cooper | The Good Word
With 10 games remaining in the regular season, Georgia Tech hosts a primetime showdown with Duke. Tip-off at McCamish Pavilion is set for 9 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets gave a red-hot Syracuse team all it could handle on Saturday afternoon but dropped a 60-57 decision at the Carrier Dome. It was the Jackets’ sixth loss in seven conference games, all of them coming by eight or fewer points. Nick Jacobs had a team-high 14 points and seven rebounds, while Adam Smith added 13 and Ben Lammers matched his career-high with 10 points, adding seven rebounds. In a game that saw 10 ties, nine lead-changes and no lead bigger than seven, Tech took the lead, 55-53, just inside of three minutes, but would not make another field goal the rest of the way, while committing two turnovers in getting outscored 7-2. Tech won the rebounding battle (40-35, 14-10 on the offensive glass) and had an edge in second-chance points (13-11) but was outscored 16-7 off turnovers — both teams had 12 miscues.
The Blue Devils, who have been off for eight days, lost for the fourth time in five games their last time out, falling 80-69 at No. 15 Miami and out of the top 25 for the first time since the 2007 preseason poll. Still playing without injured forward Amile Jefferson (foot), the team’s leading rebounder (10.3 rpg) and 11.4 ppg scorer, Duke got 19 points and 10 rebounds from Brandon Ingram, while Grayson Allen added 17. Duke turned the ball over seven times in the first half and trailed 35-31 at the break. They managed only eight assists for the game and shot below 42 percent, only 30 percent from three. The Blue Devils missed nine straight shots during a 10-2 run to open the second-half which pushed Miami’s lead to 10. The game never got below two possessions the rest of the way. The Canes hit 56.7 percent of its FGAs in the second half and shot 51 percent for the game.
Tonight’s game will be the 93rd meeting between the schools in a series that dates back to 1922. It’s the third-longest-played rivalry within the ACC (Tech has played only Clemson and NC State more frequently). Georgia Tech trails 69-23, 26-15 at home and 0-1 at McCamish Pavilion. The Jackets have struggled with the Blue Devils of late, having lost seven straight in the series and 12 of the last 13.
The game can be seen on ESPNU with Mike Couzens and Len Elmore calling the action. The game also will be streamed on the WatchESPN app. 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 their call via satellite radio, on Sirius (Channel 93) and XM (Channel 193). 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 gave the No. 4/5 Blue Devils a scare before falling, 72-66, last Feb. 4 at Cameron Indoor. Chris Bolden led the Jackets with 16, while Marcus Georges-Hunt had 14 points, nine rebounds, two assists and three steals and Demarco Cox added 10 points. The Yellow Jackets nearly overcame a 10-point first-half deficit, several times cutting the lead to one, the last time on a George-Hunt three-pointer with just under eight minutes to play. But the Blue Devils answered with a 6-0 run and the game got no closer than four the rest of the way. Duke didn’t put Tech away until they got a pair of free throws in the final 10 seconds to push the lead to six. The Jackets went 5-for-6 from three in the second 20 to stick around but shot under 40 percent overall.
Nicky Six: Nick Jacobs continues to make the most of his lone ACC season. Jacobs hit for 14 points against Syracuse, giving him his sixth straight double-figure-scoring game. That’s the longest such streak by a Jacket in conference play. It also is a personal high for Jacobs, who had five consecutive double-figure-scoring games between (Feb. 23 through March 9, 2013) while with Alabama. He’s also pulled in 41 rebounds (7.0 rpg) over the six games, the most productive five-game stretch in his career. Nick has started the last two games and is averaging 17 points on 48.2 percent shooting with seven rebounds.
Tech Trivia: Which Jacket has the most consecutive double-figure-scoring games this season?
Free For All: Neither Georgia Tech nor Duke is bragging about making their living at the foul line this season. Georgia Tech has taken only 158 free throws, which ranks second-lowest in the ACC (Boston College has taken only 91), and has made 113 of them (also second-lowest), a 71.5 percentage (ninth). Duke is only slightly better, having taken seven more free throws (165, 11th) and making six of those (119, 10th) for a 72.1 percentage (seventh). The free throw line has been quite a weapon for the Jackets when they’ve gotten there, as they have shot over 80 percent in two of the last three games and are at 79.5 for the three (58-for-73). Of course, there shouldn’t be TOO much sympathy for the Blue Devils, as except for two games they have shot more free throws than their opponent — against Clemson they were outshot 17-13 and against Miami they were even at 17.
Bringin’ On The Heartbreak: Georgia Tech’s three-point loss at Syracuse was the third in the last four games by four-or-fewer points. The Jackets’ six losses have come by a total of 29 points, an average of 4.8 points per game. Duke can actually relate to Georgia Tech’s struggles, as their four losses in conference, all coming in the last five games, have come by a total of 22 points, or 5.5 per game. The margin would be even slimmer were it not for the 11-point loss at Miami, which matches the total from the three previous losses combined.
The Sixth Man: This will be only the third time in the last 20 years that Georgia Tech and Duke meet with neither in the top 25 … Ben Lammers is in a New York State of mind, as his 10 points at Syracuse were his ACC-high and matched his career-high, set against Arkansas, on Nov. 26. That game was held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn … Trivia Answer: Charles Mitchell, who went for double-figures — double-doubles, actually — in Tech’s first nine games of the season. Adam Smith is next having had a streak of eight straight … Mitchell continues to dominate on the offensive glass. His 4.05 offensive rebounds rank second in the ACC and 12th in the nation. Mitchell has led the Jackets in each of the last five games off the offensive boards, pulling in 20 and has pulled in 30 percent of the team’s offensive rebounds this season … The Jackets have pulled down at least 40 rebounds in five of their last six ACC games. They had six 40-rebound games in conference play all last season.
GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 15.9 ppg
GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER (ACC): Marcus Georges-Hunt, 18.0 ppg DUKE SCORING LEADER: Grayson Allen, 20.3 ppg
DUKE SCORING LEADER (ACC): Brandon Ingram, 19.5 ppg
GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER: Charles Mitchell, 10.7 rpg
GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Charles Mitchell, 9.3 rpg DUKE REBOUNDING LEADER: Amile Jefferson, 10.3 rpg
DUKE REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Marshall Plumlee, 9.3 rpg
GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER: Josh Heath, 3.7 apg
GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Marcus Georges-Hunt, 3.3 apg DUKE ASSISTS LEADER: Grayson Allen, 3.7 apg
DUKE ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Grayson Allen, 4.0 apg
GEORGIA TECH PPG/ACC: 76.1/73.6 ppg
OPP. PPG/ACC: 71.4/75.9 ppg DUKE PPG/ACC: 84.9/78.4
OPP. PPG/ACC: 71.2/72.8
DUKE Player To Watch, Grayson Allen: The 6-5, 205-pound sophomore guard has made a quantum leap in his sophomore season. His 20.3 ppg rank second in the ACC and sixth in the country, a 15.9 ppg increase from his freshman season, an ACC single-season record. Allen has 19 double-figure scoring games this season — the Blue Devils are 15-4 in those games, 16-4 all-time — and nine 20-point games — Duke is undefeated 9-0, 10-0 all time in those. He’s one Blue Devil that gets to the line, taking 6.3 free throws per game, fifth in the ACC, and is money once he gets there, shooting 84.1 percent, sixth in the conference. He’s also good with the ball, as his 2.03 assist-to-turnover ratio is ninth in the conference.