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Starting Five: Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech

Jan. 15, 2016

By Jon Cooper | The Good Word

– Georgia Tech looks to get back to their the winning ways and continue their homecourt dominance when it hosts Virginia Tech. Tip-off at McCamish Pavilion is set for noon.

The Yellow Jackets fell to 0-3 in ACC road games on Wednesday night, dropping a 72-64 decision at Notre Dame. Marcus Georges-Hunt had 18 to lead three double-digit scorers but the Jackets struggled from the three-point line, and had no answer defensively for forward Zach Auguste, who had a game-high 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting. Both teams endured cold-shooting first halves, as Tech shot only 25.0 percent (12.5 from three), while Notre Dame, the ACC’s top shooting team, sixth in the country, finished the first half at 32.3 percent (14.3 from three). After six ties and two lead changes, the Fighting Irish took a 30-27 lead into the break. The lead reached seven before Adam Smith, who had 15, 10 in the second half, including three of his four three-point field goals, hit a three with 3:24 to go cut the lead to three but the Jackets would get no closer. Nick Jacobs chipped in 10 points and Charles Mitchell pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Tech had an 18-10 edge on the offensive glass but only a 16-14 edge in second-chance points. The game was the seventh straight in the series decided by eight-or-fewer points.

The Hokies won their third conference game in four on Wednesday, edging Wake Forest, 93-91, at Cassell Coliseum. Guard Justin Bibbs had a monster game, scoring a game- and career-high 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting, 3-for-7 from three and 5-of-5 from the line. The Hokies led 45-38 at the break but were down a point with 1:30 to go, when forward Zach LeDay hit a pair of free throws to regain the lead for Tech, the game’s seventh and final lead change, and Bibbs hit a three as part of a 10-2 run to open up a 90-84 lead. Wake pulled to within one, but Tech sealed the game at the foul line.

Saturday’s game will be the 22nd meeting between the schools. Georgia Tech trails 15-6 and is 3-5 at home, but has won two of the last three meetings, including a 62-51 win the last time the teams met at McCamish on March 8, 2014.

The game can be seen on ACC Network (WATL in Atlanta) with Wes Durham and Jason Capel 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 their call on satellite radio on Sirius, channel 132, 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 Saturday’s game.

The Last Time We Met…: The Yellow Jackets suffered one of their most heart-breaking losses of the season, falling 65-63 last Feb. 9 at Cassell Coliseum on a late three-pointer. Charles Mitchell had 17 points and eight rebounds, while Marcus Georges-Hunt added 11 and Tadric Jackson and Chris Bolden each had 10 for the Jackets, who held a 10-point lead with five minutes to play. But the Hokies, who had their best shooting day of the season, roared back. They closed the game on a 17-5 run, with Malik Muller nailing a three with 15 seconds remaining to give Virginia Tech its first lead since late in the first half at 64-63. Georges-Hunt’s layup attempt was blocked on the ensuing possession and Adam Smith added a free throw. Smith added 15 for the Hokies, who shot 56 percent in the second half, 57.1 from three.

Sharing the Wealth: Georgia Tech is getting more people involved offensively this year. The Jackets have four players averaging in double digits, with guards Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith (14.8 ppg) leading the way. Forwards Charles Mitchell (12.6) and Nick Jacobs (10.1) are right behind them. It’s been awhile since the Yellow Jackets had such diverse scoring, as 2008-09 was last time the Jackets had at least four players averaging in double figures (Lewis Clinch, 15.5, Gani Lawal, 15.1, Alade Aminu, 11.8, and Iman Shumpert, 10.6). Zach Peacock just missed, coming in at 9.2. The Jackets have been extremely unselfish, as they’ve recorded assists on 52.0 percent of their baskets. The ‘08-09 team had assists on 56.7 percent of their scores.

Tech Trivia: Roger Kaiser was the Georgia Tech’s first First-Team All-American. Who was the last Yellow Jacket to earn that honor?

Reversal of Fortunes: Adam Smith likely will be a difference-maker in this game. That shouldn’t be surprising as he has already made a difference for the two teams. Smith, the ACC’s second-leading scorer in conference play (20.3 ppg) and leading three-point shooter (5.5 three-pointers per game) has lifted Georgia Tech into fourth in the league in three-point shooting, at 37.7 percent, and eighth in the conference in three-pointers made at 6.7 per game. The Hokies are last in the conference at 5.2 made threes per game and 11th in shooting at 34.0 percent. To show the reversal from last season when Smith played with the Hokies, the Yellow Jackets were last in the conference in both three-point shooting (26.7) and three-pointers per game (4.2), while the Hokies, were second in the ACC by 1/10th of a point, shooting 38.9 percent, and tied for third, making 7.3 3’s per game.

It’s the Little Things: Ben Lammers may have scored only two points at Notre Dame but he came up big in a lot of little ways. In one of his biggest games as a Jacket, Lammers pulled in seven rebounds, four of them on the offensive end, and swatted away three shots in 18 minutes. The rebounds, offensive rebounds and blocks were ACC career highs, the ORBs were a career-high and the blocks matched his career best set Dec. 29 against Duquesne. The 18 minutes were three shy of his ACC high, set in this year’s conference opener at North Carolina. His three blocked shots against the Fighting Irish gave him six in ACC play and tie him for 10th in the conference with Virginia’s Isaiah Wilkins.

The Sixth Man: Georgia Tech fans can meet the legendary Roger Kaiser at today’s game. Kaiser, Georgia Tech’s first All-American basketball player, will be in the concourse of section 101 signing copies of his biography, “If It Feels Like Leather, Shoot It. The All-American Life of Roger Kaiser.” The book was written by Atlanta writer Richard Hyatt…Marcus Georges-Hunt is shooting 51.3 percent on the road in ACC play, after his 7-for-16 against Notre Dame and has made at least six field goals in four of the last five games — the only one in which he was held below six FGMs was Tech’s home opener against Virginia…Trivia Answer: Kenny Anderson was consensus First Team All-America in 1991. Jarrett Jack was the Yellow Jackets last All-American, earning honorable mention honors in 2005…Georgia Tech’s 26.3 percent shooting from three at Notre Dame (5-for-19) was only the fourth time all season they were held below 30 percent from behind the arc. They had 19 such games last season. It also snapped a streak of 10 straight games shooting at least 35 percent and four straight games over 40…The Jackets committed a season-low five turnovers at Notre Dame and extended their streak of games with 10-or-fewer turnovers to seven. They had six such games all last season.

GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER: Adam Smith, Marcus Georges-Hunt, 14.8 ppg
GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER: Adam Smith (ACC), 20.3 ppg
VIRGINIA TECH SCORING LEADER: Zach LeDay, 15.2 ppg

VIRGINIA TECH SCORING LEADER (ACC): Zach LeDay, 17.3 ppg

GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER: Charles Mitchell, 11.4 rpg
GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Charles Mitchell, 10.5 rpg
VIRGINIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER: Zach LeDay, 9.1 rpg

VIRGINIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Zach LeDay, 7.8 rpg

GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER: Josh Heath, 4.1 apg
GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Marcus Georges-Hunt, Josh Heath, 4.1 apg
VIRGINIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER: Justin Robinson, 3.0 apg
VIRGINIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Justin Robinson, 3.0 apg

GEORGIA TECH PPG/ACC: 76.7/73.5 ppg
OPP. 2014-15 PPG/ACC: 70.8/77.8 ppg

VIRGINIA TECH PPG/ACC: 76.8/73.5
OPP. PPG/ACC: 71.0/77.3

VIRGINIA TECH Player To Watch – Zach LeDay: The 6-7, 235-pound redshirt-junior forward has been a force in his first season with the Hokies since transferring from South Florida — he was a teammate of Georgia Tech point guard Josh Heath during the 2013-14 season. LeDay ranks 17th in the ACC in scoring (15.2 ppg), ninth in rebounds (9.1 rpg) — he’s strong on both boards, as he’s third in offensive rebounding (3.8 ORBG) and eighth in defensive rebounding (5.3 DRBG) — and is 10th in blocks (1.4 bpg). Offensively he’s strong inside (47.5 percent shooting) but also can step out, as he’s second on the team in three-point shooting at 42.9 (9-for-21), and is the team’s best foul shooter at 77.2 percent (minimum 10 attempts). LeDay has seven double-doubles, including a monster 26-point, 15-rebound effort in his Virginia Tech debut, vs. Alabama State on Nov. 14. It’s the most double-doubles since Jeff Allen put up 15 during the 2010-11 season.

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