Dec. 9, 2013
By Matt Winkeljohn
– Robert Carter, Jr., and Marcus Georges-Hunt were in such good moods after Georgia Tech whipped East Tennessee State 87-57 on Saturday afternoon that the sophomores said they were looking forward to this, finals week.
“I’m pumped,” Georges-Hunt said minutes after scoring 18 points, five assists, a steal a blocked shot and not a single turnover. “I’m trying to make the Dean’s List again.”
Like Marcus, Carter, Jr. grinned. “Excited. Super excited … I’m pretty good right now. I’ve got a couple classes where I’m a B/A.”
The Yellow Jackets (7-3) don’t play again until Monday, when Kennesaw State will visit, as they have a kinder, gentler basketball schedule much of this week in deference to exams.
This is kind of like having a bye in football, where sometimes you wonder about the timing.
Tech played well last week, rallying from a 12-point deficit against Illinois last Tuesday to win by three, and then playing what head coach Brian Gregory said was probably his team’s best half of the season on the way to a 44-23 lead against ETSU.
The Jackets were especially crisp Saturday, when they had 26 assists, shot 51 percent from the field, 44 percent from distance (10-for-23) and 79 percent from the free throw line.
There were several quite positive developments.
Senior sub Stacey Poole Jr. made three treys while scoring a Tech career-high 11 points. Redshirt freshman guard Corey Heyward played steady in a starting role. Freshman Quinton Stephens had nine points and seven rebounds in just 14 minutes.
“He’s different at the [power forward] spot than Robert or Kam [Holsey],” Gregory said of Stephens. “We need to stretch Quinton out to get him those 3s. I thought he did a lot of good things.”
Stephens hit one of his two trey tries, and those shots were there against the Bucs because ETSU was so concerned about Tech’s size advantage inside that they were cluttering the paint as much or more than any opponent.
So, “I thought we moved the ball,” Gregory said. “Any time you have 26 assists and 33 baskets, that’s pretty efficient offense.”
Heyward did not score; he took just one shot. He added three assists, a couple of rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot, however, and did what he was asked.
“He did a great job,” Georges-Hunt said. “He ran the team, ran the offense. Disciplined. He wasn’t forcing anything. He was making sure we were running our plays. He’s very strong.”
The Jackets also scored off an inbounds play when Georges-Hunt took the pass and dunked in one motion.
“That’s special teams … we had only scored on one baseline out-of-bounds,” the coach explained. “That was the first time we ran it all year. I wasn’t sure if Marcus was going to be able to rise up and dunk that thing.”
Now, it’s time to dunk the books.
Yet Carter Jr. said the Jackets won’t be all business this week. They’ll spend time in the gym because, “That’s our stress reliever, how we get rid of tension. This is Georgia Tech.”
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