Nov. 9, 2013
By Matt Winkeljohn
There were plenty of positive signs in Friday’s season opener, yet if you were going to look for one development in Georgia Tech’s 88-57 win over Presbyterian that rose above others the nod here goes to Travis Jorgenson.
Sure, sophomores Robert Carter Jr. (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Marcus Georges-Hunt (17 points, nine rebounds) were horses in modest playing time. Transfer guard Trae Golden added a dozen points as well.
Jorgenson, though, brought a distinct glue factor by doing a little bit of everything. The freshman guard hit a couple long balls in the first half, and then in the second decided to move the ball around more. He was a bit like an engine pushing a train.
His final line: eight points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals – against one turnover – in 24 minutes off the bench. There was no count kept for floor burns.
“He didn’t have any assists in the first half, but he knocked down a couple threes – he was shot-ready,” coach Brian Gregory said. “We moved the ball well, and he took advantage of it. To be a good shooter, you’ve got to be prepared to shoot.
“I thought Travis did a good job in terms of giving us a big spark off the bench. When he comes in, the game needs to play at a different speed, and I thought he did a good job of that.”
The Yellow Jackets kind of fiddled around facing the zone defense early before closing hard at the end of the first half to lead 42-32 at intermission.
Tech came out of the game as if on fire in the second half, pushing the lead to 16 points quickly and the game was never in doubt from there.
For all the talk about increasing tempo, well, tempo was increased.
“Oh yeah,” said Presyterian coach Gregg Nibert. “We were real patient last year [when Tech beat the Blue Hose 52-38 in a very different kind of game]. We ran that shot clock down every possession.
“I gave our guys a little bit more freedom [Friday], I felt like we’ve got a few more guys this year. We went way too fast, and give them the credit. They got us going too. We took some quick, ill-advised shots against a very good basketball team.”
Senior center Daniel Miller was steady in the middle, with 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots. How about those three assists from the post man?
The Jackets had 18, more than in all but four games last season. Tech had but six turnovers – a far, far better ratio than so many games in the recent past.
“We don’t play a lot of zone, so we don’t have a great comfort level at times, especially early in the year,” Gregory said. “But I thought our guys did a good of moving the ball, sharing the ball and really playing at a pace that was good for us.
“I thought we shared the ball and took care of the ball, which was a point of emphasis over the last week. We share the ball, we move the ball, plus our big guys are good. Teams have to worry about the paint. When you do that, it opens up some driving lines, and some kick outs. We did a good job of moving the ball and getting some shots.”
Both teams had some problems with new rules governing what is and is not allowed in terms of hand checking, and some new rules regarding what is and is not a charge.
The Jackets figure to have a better grip on those issues Monday, when Delaware State will visit McCamish Pavilion.
“He really hit some tough threes, and we didn’t expect that. We thought he was more of a driver, but they got a complete player,” the Presbyterian coach said. “If he can make the three, he can pass the ball to other player, he’s complete . . . he’s really, really good.”
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