Jan. 9, 2016
By Jon Cooper | The Good Word
– After a pair of tough road losses against top-25 foes North Carolina and Pittsburgh on the road, Georgia Tech plays its conference home-opener, against yet another, this time No. 4/4 Virginia. Tip-off at McCamish Pavilion is set for 2 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets battled No. 24/21 Pittsburgh but dropped an 89-84 decision Wednesday night at the Petersen Center. Adam Smith scored an ACC career-high 30 (two off his career-high), nailing a Petersen Center-record eight three-pointers and Charles Mitchell matched his career-high with 20 points and pulled in 17 rebounds, one off his career-best. Tech trailed pretty much all game, by as much as 13 in the first half and by 15 with 4:00 to play. But Smith kept the Jackets around, scoring 11 points on three three-pointers and another jumper and Mitchell added a three-point play as the Jackets went on a 14-5 run to cut the lead to six but they’d get no closer. The Jackets held a 14-9 edge off the offensive glass and a 20-17 edge in second-chance points but was outshot 30-15 from the free throw line and outscored from there 25-8, as they shot only 53 percent.
The fourth-ranked Cavaliers were stunned by Virginia Tech, 70-68, its last time out, on Monday night at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg. London Perrantes hit a career-best seven three-pointers, six in the second half, and put in a game-high 22, and Anthony Gill added 17 and eight rebounds, but the Cavaliers did themselves in, turning the ball over 16 times. The Hokies cashed in for 26 points, while the Cavs scored six points off eight VT turnovers. The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak against Virginia Tech and an 11-game overall winning streak. Sophomore forward Isaiah Wilkins, the stepson of NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins also had eight rebounds, matching his season-high.
Saturday’s game will be the 77th meeting between the schools. Georgia Tech holds a slim 39-37 lead, but has lost eight of the last nine meetings. The Yellow Jackets are 23-12 all-time at home, 1-1 at McCamish Pavilion.
The game can be seen on ACC Network (WATL in Atlanta) with Mike Gleason and Dave Odom 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, as well as on satellite radio on Channel 81 on both Sirius and XM. 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…: Georgia Tech struggled mightily offensively, losing 57-28 at No. 2 Virginia, last Jan. 22, 2015 in Charlottesville. Marcus Georges-Hunt had a team-high seven points and Charles Mitchell added six for the Jackets, who shot 24.5 percent (12-for-49), the seventh-lowest game in program history, and 0-for-12 from three, snapping a streak of 311 games with at least one three-pointer. The 28 points matched the lowest output in school history, dating back to Feb. 7, 1947 against Tennessee and were the lowest by an ACC team in the shot-clock era. Robert Sampson pulled down a team-high seven rebounds, his 13th such game in 18 grabbing at least six rebounds.
On The Rebound: With his 17-rebound effort at Pittsburgh, Charles Mitchell expanded his ACC lead in rebounding, which now stands at 11.6 per game, a full rebound per game more than the nearest player — North Carolina’s Brice Johnson. Mitchell’s nine offensive rebounds at Pitt gave him 63, and boosted him into first place in the conference with 4.2 ORBPG, a slim 1/10th of a point ahead of Virginia Tech’s Zach LeDay, who has 61 boards. He has a shot at pulling down the rebounding trifecta, as his 7.4 defensive rebounds rank second in the ACC behind Johnson’s 8.1. Mitchell has 18 fewer boards (129-111) but has played one fewer game. He has grabbed double-figure boards in all but three games this season (he has 31 such career games) and enters Saturday second among active ACC players with 799 career rebounds — only Wake’s Devin Thomas has more at 909.
Tech Trivia: Mitchell comes into today’s game with 331 career offensive rebounds tops among ACC players and third overall since 2009-10. Prior to Mitchell, who was Georgia Tech’s all-time offensive rebounding leader?
Life On The Streak: One thing about streaks, good or bad, they eventually come to an end. Both Georgia Tech and Virginia bring interesting streaks into Saturday’s game with Tech looking to put an end to its streak as well as Virginia’s. With its first two ACC losses, by eight at North Carolina and by five at Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech extended its streak of ACC losses in games decided by eight-or-fewer points to 16, dating back to March 13, 2014 against Clemson, 69-65 in overtime, in the second round of the ACC Tournament. The Jackets’ last win in such a game came the day before, also in overtime, 73-70, against Boston College. Tech’s last close regular-season ACC win came on March 4, 2014, a 67-62 win at No. 7/7 Syracuse. Virginia’s streak is of a different variety. The Cavaliers have not lost back-to-back games since Dec. 4 and 7 of 2013 — against Wisconsin and at Green Bay — and haven’t lost consecutive conference games since March 3 and 7 of the previous season, at Boston College and at Florida State.
Mr. Smith Goes Downtown: There promises to be a lot of action from the three-point line on Saturday. Georgia Tech guard Adam Smith enters the game as the ACC’s leader with 3.5 three-point field goals per game (52) — the nearest player is Michael Gbinije, who has 2.9 (46) — and is third in three-point field goal percentage (47.3). Virginia, which comes in as the top three-point shooting team in the conference, shooting 41.5 from behind the arc (88-for-215), some 30 points higher than the nearest team in the conference, features two of the top 10 three-point shooters in London Perrantes, who is hitting an ACC-best 59.2 percent from three, and Malcolm Brogdon, who is tied for eighth at 39.7 (29-for-73). Perrantes is eighth in 3’s per game (2.4), while Brogdon is tied for 10th (2.1).
The Sixth Man: Marcus Georges-Hunt has heated up as the competition level has risen. Georges-Hunt is shooting 51.4 percent over his last three games (19-for 37) and has made at least six field goals in three straight games for only the second time in his career — the last was last Jan. 25-31 against Boston College, at Miami and against NC State)…Oddly, Georges-Hunt was shutout from the foul line against Pittsburgh. It’s the first time MGH been shutout from the line this season and the first in 41 games in which he’s attempted at least one free throw since going 0-for-3 on March 13, 2014, against Clemson in the 2014 ACC Tournament…Trivia Answer: Daniel Miller, who grabbed 262 ORBs between 2011 and 2014…Mitchell’s double-double on Wednesday against the Panthers was his ACC-leading 11th of the season, his 18th in a Georgia Tech uniform and the 23rd for his career. It also was his first since Dec. 21 against Southeastern Louisiana. In the three games in between, Mitchell was hardly a spectator, averaging 13.0 points and 7.7 rebounds, scoring in double figures twice and grabbing double-figure rebounds once…Georgia Tech had one of its best efforts of the season off the offensive glass at Pittsburgh, as they not only outrebounded the Panthers 14-9, but made the most of those second chances, outscoring Pitt, 20-17. It was Tech’s fourth 20-second-chance-point effort of the season, matching the total they had all last season.
GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 15.2 ppg
GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER: Adam Smith (ACC), 25.0 ppg
VIRGINIA SCORING LEADER: Malcolm Brogdon, 16.6 ppg
VIRGINIA SCORING LEADER (ACC): Malcolm Brogdon, 19.5 ppg
GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER: Charles Mitchell, 11.6 rpg
GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Charles Mitchell, 11.5 rpg
VIRGINIA REBOUNDING LEADER: Anthony Gill, 6.4 rpg
VIRGINIA REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Anthony Gill, 7.0 rpg
GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER: Josh Heath, 4.1 apg
GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Marcus Georges-Hunt, 4.0 apg
VIRGINIA ASSISTS LEADER: London Perrantes, 4.4 apg
VIRGINIA ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): London Perrantes, 3.5 apg
GEORGIA TECH PPG/ACC: 78.1/81.0 ppg
OPP. 2014-15 PPG/ACC: 71.2/87.5 ppg
VIRGINIA PPG/ACC: 75.1/72.5
OPP. PPG/ACC: 60.4/68.0
VIRGINIA Player To Watch – Malcolm Brogdon: The 6-5, 215-pound redshirt-senior forward and Atlanta native will make his final trip home. That’s good news for the Jackets, as he’s the Cavs’ leading scorer against Tech, averaging 10.0 ppg. The Wooden and Naismith Award candidate as well as Preseason ACC co-Player of the Year leads the Cavaliers in scoring for the third straight season with the highest average in four years (MIke Scott had 18.0 in 2011-12). Brogdon ranks in the top 10 in the ACC in scoring (16.6), three-pointers per game (2.1), three-point shooting (39.7), free throw percentage (82.8), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), and minutes (33.0). He’s 24th and rising all-time in Virginia scoring and is second in free throw percentage (85.9, 330-for-384). The former Atlanta Christian School star, would like to improve on his last visit to Atlanta, when he scored 14 points, but shot 3-for-12 (1-for-2 from three-point range), although he was 7-for-7 from the foul line.