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Starting Five: Maryland (19-8, 7-7 ACC) at Georgia Tech (14-12, 4-10 ACC)

Feb. 26, 2013

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Georgia Tech will try to break a two-game losing streak tonight when it hosts Maryland. Tip-off at McCamish Pavilion is set for 8:00 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets saw their two-game road winning streak end Sunday afternoon in Charlottesville, dropping an 82-54 decision to Virginia. Marcus Georges-Hunt had a team-high 12 points and Daniel Miller added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Tech shot 54 percent in the first half, but trailed by 41-29 at intermission, turning the ball over 10 times to Virginia’s two and getting outscored 13-0 off turnovers. Robert Carter, Jr.’s three at the 14:16 mark capped an 11-4 run to open the second half and cut the deficit to five, but the Cavaliers responded with 16-1 run to open a 20-point lead and the Jackets trailed by at least 20 the rest of the way. Tech shot only 34.6 percent in the final 20 minutes. For the game, Tech was outscored 46-24 in the paint and 24-5 off turnovers.

The Terrapins won for the fourth time in six games Saturday, taking out Clemson, 72-59, at the Comcast Center. Nick Faust scored a career-high 18 on 7-for-10 shooting, 4-for-7 from three, to lead three double-digit scorers. The Terrapins trailed by six early, but went on a 20-6 run to open a double-digit lead and never trailed again. With the lead at six, Maryland went on a 10-0 run in a little over three minutes to push the lead to 16 and led by double-digits the rest of the way. Maryland shot 50 percent from the field and from three in the second half and dominated the boards, out rebounding the Tigers, 39-29, 15-5 on the offensive end.

Tonight’s game will be the only meeting between the schools this season and the 75th in a series that dates back to 1972. The Jackets trail the series 39-35 and have lost 11 of 13, but have split the last four meetings and are 19-11 in home games. Today is the first meeting at McCamish Pavilion. Tech snapped a two-game losing streak against the Terrapins last year and will try for the first series winning streak since winning three straight in 2003 and 2004.

The game can be seen on the ACC Network (WATL in Atlanta), with Tim Brando and Cory Alexander calling the action. It also can be heard on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM), with Wes Durham and Randy Waters calling the action and via satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 104). Tech fans can follow the game online on ESPN3 or Ramblinwreck.com.

And now, the starting five for tonight’s game.

The Last Time We Met: Georgia Tech used a strong defensive second half and got a clutch three-point play from Mfon Udofia inside of two minutes to beat Maryland, 63-61, at Philips Arena last Feb. 25th. The win snapped a four-game losing streak and a two-game series losing streak. Kam Holsey recorded his first career double-double going for 16 points and 10 rebounds on 5-for-9 shooting, 6-for-7 from the line and Daniel Miller added 10 points and four blocks. Tech trailed 37-31 at the half but shot 52.6 percent in the second half while limiting the Terrapins to 23.3 percent from the field and 20 percent (1-of-5) from three — they’d shot 48 percent in the first half and 66.7 percent from three (6-for-9). The Jackets pressured Maryland into missing 18 of its first 20 field goal attempts in opening a seven-point lead with 7:10 to play. After the Terps fought back to take a one-point lead with 2:03 left, Udofia hit a lay-up and drew the foul with 1:43 left. After Tech forced a turnover then got another stop, Brandon Reed buried a three with 27 seconds left as the Jackets held on for the win.

Big Boy Ball: Play in the paint tonight will not be for the faint of heart, as two of the ACC’s top centers will go at it in Tech’s Daniel Miller and Maryland’s Alex Len. Miller, a 6-11 1/2, 257-pound, red-shirt junior from Loganville, Ga., and Len, 7-1, 255, from the Ukraine, are amongst the best in the ACC in conference play in rebounding (offensive and defensive), and blocked shots. Len ranks seventh in rebounding at 8.1 rpg, with Miller right behind him, tied for eighth with 7.6 (they’re separated by seven rebounds, 113-106). Miller is eighth in the conference in defensive rebounds (5.2 drpg), while Len is 10th at 5.1 (they’re separated by two boards, 73-71). Both players are as relentless on the offensive glass, where Len is sixth in the conference (3.0 orpg) and Miller 10th (2.4). The two bigs also are neighbors in blocked shots, where Miller is third, with 27 blocks, while Len is fourth, at 26. Both average 1.9 rejections per game. Len and Miller also can score, as Len leads the Terrapins in scoring (12.3 ppg, 11.3 in ACC play), while Miller is averaging career-highs with 6.8 ppg, 7.6 in ACC play.

Tech Trivia: Georgia Tech had its best free-throw shooting day in school history against Maryland on Feb. 25, 1985. How many consecutive free throws did they make that day?

Shooters Beware: Shooters may not want to look at the final stat sheet for tonight’s game as both Georgia Tech and Maryland can make things rather difficult defensively. Both are among the top teams in the ACC in field goal percentage defense, as Maryland is second in the conference, holding opponents to 39.8 percent shooting (their overall 37.5 percent is 10th in the nation) while Georgia Tech is third, holding opponents to 41.4 percent. The Jackets will try to step up that field goal defense today, as over their last two games, both double-digit losses, they allowed opponents to shoot 45.6 percent. Maryland is coming in hot, having shot at least 40 percent in eight of its last nine and has shot better than 60 percent in two of the last six.

Finishing Strong: Marcus Georges-Hunt is wrapping up his freshman season in grand style. Georges-Hunt, the only freshman in the ACC to lead his team in scoring (he also leads the team in minutes per game), has scored in double-figures in each of the last five games and in seven of the last nine. In those last five, he’s shooting 48.0 (25-for-52), 46.7 percent (seven-for-15) from three, and has nailed more than one three in three straight games. That matches his longest streak of the season (Nov. 25-Dec. 4). The last two games notwithstanding, Tech has had great success when Georges-Hunt scores in double-figures, as they’re 11-5.

The Sixth Man: The Yellow Jackets’ 35 wins all-time against Maryland are second among ACC teams, two behind Virginia…Mfon Udofia has never recorded a double-double but came awful close last year against Maryland, as he handed out his career-high nine assists in addition to his seven points…Tech Trivia: Led by Mark Price and John Salley, the Yellow Jackets went 18-for-18 against the Terps on Feb. 2, 1985. The 8/9 Jackets topped No. 17/17 Maryland, 72-60…Georgia Tech has been really good at finishing games, as they’re 22-1 under Brian Gregory when leading with five minutes to play. They’re 11-1 this season, with their only loss to Virginia Tech on Jan. 12, when they led 53-50 with 5:00 to play but fell, 70-65 in overtime. Maryland is 18-1 when leading after 35 minutes. Their lone loss came Jan. 30 at Florida State…Expect today’s game to be close, as since 2000-01, 13 of the 20 match-ups between these teams has been decided by 10-or-fewer points. That includes a five-game stretch from 2006-through 2010, where games were decided by two, seven, one, two, and five points.

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 10.7 ppg
MARYLAND LEADING SCORER: Alex Len, 12.3 ppg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER (ACC): Marcus Georges-Hunt, 10.1 ppg
MARYLAND LEADING SCORER (ACC): Alex Len, 11.3 ppg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Robert Carter, Jr., Daniel Miller, 6.8 rpg
MARYLAND LEADING REBOUNDER: Alex Len, 8.0 rpg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Daniel Miller, 7.6 rpg
MARYLAND LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Alex Len, 8.1 rpg
GEORGIA TECH PPG: 63.5/60.9 ppg.
OPP. PPG: 60.3/66.1 ppg.

MARYLAND PPG: 71.4/66.6 ppg.
OPP. PPG: 62.7/65.9 ppg.

MARYLAND Player To Watch: Alex Len: The 7-1, 251-pound center, who added 33 pounds of muscle between his freshman and sophomore years, presents a huge presence on either end of the floor. He’s doubled his scoring output this season, putting in 12.3 points per game this year (24th in the ACC), is pulling in 8.0 rpg, almost three more per game than last year, and is among the ACC leaders in blocks (2.1 bpg). Len has scored in double-figures in 19 of 27 games and has five double-doubles on the year, including a 23-12 against then-No. 3 Kentucky. In ACC play, he’s shooting better than 50 percent (60-for-119), and 70 percent (38-for-54) from the foul line.

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