Nov. 22, 2011
By Jon Cooper
Georgia Tech Hoops look to continue its winning ways tonight when the Jackets return home and take on Siena at The Arena at Gwinnett.
Tech went 1-2 over the weekend in the Charleston Classic, beating 2011 Final Four participant VCU sandwiched between hard-fought losses to St. Joseph’s and LSU. The finale was an especially tight game, which saw five ties and seven lead changes. The Jackets led 43-41 with 7:06 to go but never recovered from an LSU 9-3 run. Tech got 14 from point guard Mfon Udofia, 11 from Glen Rice in his second game back and 10 from Kammeon Holsey, who reached double digits in all three games. Daniel Miller pulled down eight boards to lead the Jackets.
Siena dropped its first game of the season Monday night against St. Bonaventure. The Saints led most of the first half, and by five with 4:44 to go before intermission, but gave up an 8-0 run to end the half and never led again. Freshman Evan Hymes led the home team with 18 points, while senior center Brandon Walters added 12 and O.D. Anosike pulled down a team-high 10 boards.
Tonight’s game can be seen on ESPNU. As always, the game can be heard on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network’s flagship stations WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM). Wes Durham and Randy Waters call the action. Fans also can follow the game and get live stats on Ramblinwreck.com.
Here now, the starting five for tonight’s game.
Home Court Advantage: Tonight’s game will be the fourth in the schools’ history and home court has played a big role in each game. Siena holds a 2-1 edge, winning on March 16, 1994, in an NIT first-round game played at Knickerbocker Arena — the school’s home floor which, has been known as the Times Union Center since Jan. 1, 2007. Tech evened the score on Dec. 2, 2009, at Thrillerdome, as former Siena Head Coach Paul Hewitt’s Jackets toppled the Saints, 74-61. Finally, last year,, back at Times Union Center, Siena came out on top, 62-57. This is as close to a neutral-site game as the series has seen.
Welcome Back: Glen Rice has stepped up since getting back on the court for the Jackets on Friday. In his two games, Rice has scored 30 points and has shot .571 (12-for-21), including 40 percent from three (4-for-10). He’s also been aggressive on the boards, where he’s pulled down 15 rebounds, including seven defensive rebounds against VCU and three offensive boards against LSU, both team highs. Rice has led or tied for the lead in assists in both games, with seven overall.
Turn Over a New Leaf: While the young Yellow Jackets showed signs of coming together in Charleston, they also still showed that they’re still growing. One such sign was their difficulty in taking care of the ball. The Jackets had a 1:2 assists-to-turnover ratio (25 assists to 49 turnovers), and those giveaways led to opponents outscoring the Jackets 50-38 off turnovers. The turnover bug really hurt on Sunday against LSU, as Tech had only nine assists vs. 23 turnovers. The Tigers turned that into a 20-7 edge in points off turnovers, 13-4 in the decisive second half, during which they outscored the Jackets 31-26 in the 59-50 victory. Siena has had similar difficulties as the Saints have committed 42 turnovers vs. 29 assists and have been outscored 51-37 off turnovers on the season.
Free and Easy: The Yellow Jackets have been a superb free-throw shooting team thus far and were especially solid from the line in Charleston, hitting 23 of 31 from the line (.742). Mfon Udofia led Tech, shooting 10-for 13 (.769). The good numbers are getting better, as since shooting 9-for-16 in the first half of their season opener, the Jackets are shooting .767 from the line (43-for-56).
Painting a Masterpiece: The Jackets are getting it done inside, as points in the paint, and rebounding both have been strong points. In the three games of the Charleston Classic they outscored their opponents 68-44 in the paint and outrebounded their opposition 117-98. The only game that either team came within 10 PIPs was the finale against LSU, which broke even — 14-14. The Jackets were out-rebounded against St. Joe’s, but had the edge on VCU and LSU. They also had an overall 34-32 edge on the offensive glass. Only LSU outdid Tech (15-11). At the Classic, Daniel Miller pulled down a team-high 22 rebounds, seven on the offensive glass, while Kammeon Holsey pulled down a team-high nine offensive boards and had 19 in the three games.
The Sixth Man: Six was a lucky number for Brandon Reed in Charleston. Reed matched his Georgia Tech high with six field goals made (in 11 attempts), and set his Tech high by pulling down six rebounds in the Jackets’ 73-60 win over VCU. The six FGMs matched his season-high, set in the opener against Florida A&M. Reed matched his rebounding high Sunday, pulling down six caroms in the final game of the Classic, vs. LSU.
TECH LEADING SCORER: Glen Rice, 15.0 ppg
SIENA LEADING SCORER: Evan Hymes, 19.3 ppg
TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Daniel Miller, 8.8 rpg
SIENA LEADING REBOUNDER: O.D. Anosike, 11.3 rpg.
TECH PPG: 67,6 ppg
OPP. PPG: 59.2 ppg.
SIENA PPG: 62.7 ppg
OPP. PPG: 57.7 ppg.
Siena Player to Watch: Evan Hymes: It hasn’t taken long for the 5-8 freshman to make his mark in D-I college basketball, as Hymes was named MAAC Rookie of the Week in his first week with the Saints. In three games, the explosive freshman, who inherited the job when projected starter Rakeem Brookins suffered a season-ending back injury, is averaging a team-leading 19.3 ppg, while shooting .447, a sizzling .538 from three (7-for-13). Hymes committed seven turnovers to only one assist in the Saints last game, a 64-58 loss to St. Bonaventure on Monday, but that may be a hiccup, as in his first two efforts he had three giveaways vs. five assists.