Dec. 29, 2015
By Jon Cooper | The Good Word
– Georgia Tech attempts to finish non-conference play with double-figure wins for the second time in the Brian Gregory Era when it wraps up the 2015 portion of the schedule Tuesday night against Duquesne of the Atlantic 10. Tip-off at McCamish Pavilion is set for 7 p.m..
The Yellow Jackets made it back-to-back wins and five out of six their last time out, on Dec. 23, blowing out Colgate, 76-60, at McCamish. Adam Smith had a game- and season-high 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, and Georgia Tech shot 55.9 percent for the game, 57.1 percent in the second half, in leading nearly wire-to-wire. Charles Mitchell added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Jackets, who led 40-28 at the break and by as much as 22. Nick Jacobs’ tip-in with 11:31 to go in the first half gave Tech a 15-14 lead, a lead they’d never relinquish, and kicked off a 19-6 run to put the Jackets up 12.
The Dukes also conclude non-conference play and a rewarding one at that. Their 72-65 victory over Robert Morris on Dec. 19, their most recent game prior to Christmas break, gave the program its best start in 36 years. A win today would give them an 11-2 start, their best since 1971-72. Derrick Colter scored a game-high 19 points and Eric James added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Dukes, who led 35-30 at the half in a game that was tight throughout, with the largest lead being a 10-point spread. Duquesne shot only 34.4 percent and only 14.8 from three and committed 18 turnovers, but dominated the Colonials on the boards, holding a 59-33 edge, 21-7 off the offensive glass and outscored them 22-4 on second-chance points. The game proved costly, however, as versatile forward Jeremiah Jones was lost for the season, suffering a torn ACL.
Tonight’s game will be only the second meeting between the two schools and the first in Atlanta. Tech beat the Dukes at New York’s Madison Square Garden in the schools’ first meeting back in 1970. Jackets Coach Brian Gregory has much more history against the Dukes, as he is 9-6 all-time against them from his Dayton days.
The game will be streamed on ESPN3 with Nathan McCreary and Jon Babul calling the action. It also 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 and on satellite radio on Sirius Channel 119. Tech fans also can get up-to-the-minute stats on Ramblinwreck.com and the GT Gameday App.
And now, the Starting Five for Tuesday night’s game.
The Last Time We Met…: Future Georgia Tech Athletics Hall of Famer Rich Yunkus put on quite a show while in the Big Apple, scoring a game-high 28 points and fouling out Duquesne’s twin-brother tandem of Barry and Garry Nelson in leading the Georgia Tech to a 78-68 victory on March 13, 1970, in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. Yunkus and the Nelson brothers all would be selected in the 1971 NBA Draft.
Raiders’ Block: Georgia Tech forwards made their presence felt against Colgate, as Charles Mitchell, Nick Jacobs, James White and Ben Lammers each blocked at least one shot in the five-block effort — Marcus Georges-Hunt got the other. The game was the first in the last five that Tech won the battle of the swats (their 5-2 edge was the first since a 5-2 win vs. Wofford on Dec. 1) and was the second time this season that all four bigs rejected a shot. The other was a season-high 12-block game against Tennessee on Nov. 16, when White had 4, Mitchell, 3, Lammers, 2, and Jacobs, 1. It also was the fourth game in which Georgia Tech had at least five blocks. That matches last year’s total in non-conference play.
Tech Trivia: Ben Lammers, whose 11 blocked shots are second on the team to Jacobs’ 13 and seven more than he had his entire freshman season, has blocked at least one shot in nine of Tech’s 12 games, six of the last seven and is riding a team-high-tying and current team-high four-game streak with at least one. Who had the longest blocked-shot streak for the Jackets last season?
Board Games: Both Georgia Tech and Duquesne have been very good rebounding teams in non-conference play. The Yellow Jackets have outrebounded their opponents in 10 of their 12 games, while the Dukes have done so in nine times in their 12. Tech is 8-2 when winning the battle on the glass, while Duquesne is 9-2-1. On the offensive boards, Tech is 9-3, third in the ACC in offensive rebounding, while the Dukes are 6-3-3, and rank in eighth in the A-10 (they lead the conference in defensive rebounding). The Jackets, are 7-2 when winning the battle on the offensive boards, yet, oddly, are 3-0 in games they’ve LOST on the offensive glass.
That 70s Show: The number 70 has been a magic one for both Georgia Tech and Duquesne, with a slight edge to Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets and the Dukes are a combined 16-2 when scoring at least 70 points, but the Jackets have been just a little bit better record-wise, as they are a perfect 8-0 when hitting 70, while Duquesne is 8-2. Tech is 3-0 when both teams get to 70 — Duquesne is 6-2 — but that has been happening with much less frequency, as since allowing three of their first five opponents to get to at least 70 points only one has gotten since. The Jackets have allowed only 65.6 points in that seven-game stretch.
The Sixth Man: Adam Smith has been sizzling from three-point range. He’s averaged 3.0 three-point field goals over the last six games, during which he’s shooting 47.4 (18-for-38), and he’s made at least one three in 14 consecutive games dating back to last season…The Jackets enter Tuesday’s game with three players ranked in the top 25 in the ACC in rebounding. Charles Mitchell leads the conference with 11.8 rebounds per game, while Nick Jacobs’ 5.8 is good for 23rd and James White’s 5.7 ties for 25th…Trivia Answer: Robert Sampson had a six-game streak with at least one block, beginning Dec. 3 at Northwestern through Charlotte on Dec. 30. Sampson had nine blocks in that span, with three multi-block games…The Jackets have had back-to-back single-digit-turnover games for the first time this season and won the turnover battle in both games, allowing only 14 points off turnovers — six to Southeastern Louisiana, eight to Colgate — while outscoring opponents off miscues 24-14…Georgia Tech has won at least nine games in non-conference play for the third straight season. The only season they won fewer than nine games under Gregory was his first on the Flats. The Jackets won nine-or-fewer non-conference games in three of the four seasons prior to Gregory’s arrival.
GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 14.1 ppg
DUQUESNE SCORING LEADER: Derrick Colter, 18.6 ppg
GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER: Charles Mitchell, 11.8 rpg
DUQUESNE REBOUNDING LEADER: L.G. Gill, 7.2 rpg
GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER: Josh Heath, 4.2 apg
DUQUESNE ASSISTS LEADER: Micah Mason, 4.7 apg
GEORGIA TECH PPG: 78.1 ppg
OPP. 2014-15 PPG: 68.8 ppg
DUQUESNE PPG: 82.8 ppg
OPP. PPG: 74.0 ppg
DUQUESNE Player To Watch – Derrick Colter: Half of Duquesne’s dynamic backcourt duo, along with Micah Mason, the The 5-11, 180-pound Colter has been a rock since coming to Pittsburgh. He’s started in all 103 games played, 13 off the all-time school record, is only the fourth player in school history to record at least 100 assists in each of his first three seasons, and is one of only four players in school history with go over 1,000 points and 400 assists (he enters today at 1,309 and 418). He begins action 159 helpers away from tying Norm Nixon’s school-record. Colter rarely misses at the foul line, hitting a team-best 83.3 percent, and hasn’t misfired over his last two games, making 13 straight, including going 11-for-11 against Robert Morris. He’s as amazing academically, finishing his undergrad degree in Criminal Justice, in 3 1/2 years.