Nov. 26, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
Brandon Reed has never scored more points for Georgia Tech than the 19 he pitched in Sunday to lead the Yellow Jackets to a 65-56 win over St. Mary’s in the third-place game of the DirecTV Classic in Anaheim, Calif.
Sure, Brian Gregory was happy to see the transfer junior get his while taking just eight shots to do it. Beyond that, however, the Tech head coach was more deeply satisfied with the way Reed helped defend St. Mary’s’ Matthew Dellavedova.
The 6-foot-4 senior point guard started as the youngest member of the Australian Olympic team last summer, and that unit made it to the quarterfinals. He held his own in London against Chris Paul and Deron Williams. He scored just three points against the U.S., but he added four assists and seven rebounds.
He knows what he’s doing out there. A guy doesn’t land on the preseason watch lists for the Wooden and Naismith Awards just because he has a cool accent.
So there was the 6-3 Reed engaged and tag-teaming – for the most part with Jason Morris – to hold Dellavedova to 1-for-8 shooting and just five points – his lowest total in two years for St. Mary’s. Reed’s points were great, make no mistake. But the game plan was Dellavedova.
“Jason and Brandon – neither of whom played a ton against Cal [in a loss Friday], nor played as well as they can play – both came up big for us Sunday,” Gregory said. “Jason with his effort on Dellavedova was unbelievable. Their ability to bounce back was fantastic.
“The thing with Brandon, the consistency that we’re trying to find with him – there are pieces of his performance that need to be maintained night in and night out. He can’t let whether he’s making shots or handling the ball . . . impact his defense. He’s got great length, and we need him on the glass.”
Reed averaged 15.5 minutes over Tech’s first four games, and scored a total of nine points – on 4-for-16 shooting, and 1-for-5 from 3-point territory. That was not unlike last season when he scored 234 points on 229 shots while making 34.1 percent from the floor, 27.9 percent from the beyond the arc.
He was a scorer at Arkansas State, but last season it often took him a lot of shots to score more than a few points (he averaged 7.5) although in the process of scoring his previous Tech-high of 18 against Florida State he was quite efficient on 5-for-10 shooting with 4-of-8 3-pointers and 4-of-4 free throws.
He didn’t need a lot of shots Sunday, when the Jackets pulled away down the stretch in something approximating the opposite of the way Cal moved past Tech over the final 10 minutes Friday.
Reed was 6-for-8 in 25 minutes, and he made 4-of-6 3-pointers and 3-of-4 free throws against St. Mary’s.
“I think it was mostly confidence, just . . . playing in the moment and having fun,” he said. “Not worrying too much.”
Reed was a swing factor against the Gaels. He can be that more often if he stops swinging back and forth himself.
“All young players, you miss a couple shots . . . your game goes down. Those other areas have to be sustained, and he can gradually be more consistent shooting the ball,” Gregory said. “When he has games like that, we become a different team.”
This can be easier said than done. Reed hears what his coach is saying. He’ll try to stay stead Wednesday night when the Jackets (4-1) try to upset No. 22 Illinois (7-0) Wednesday night in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge in Champaign, Ill.
“Most definitely. Coach tells us all the time, ‘Don’t let your offense affect whether you play defense or not,’ ” Reed said. “Coach is a defense-first guy, and we take after our coach. You can’t let your offense affect their defense.”