Jan. 22, 2013
By Jon Cooper
Last season, Georgia Tech saw its four-game series winning streak snapped against North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Tonight, the Yellow Jackets invade the Dean Smith Center with sights set on ending a four-game losing streak as well as getting its first ACC victory and first true road win of the season when it takes on UNC at the Smith Center. Tip-off is at 9 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets dropped their fourth straight game last Thursday night, losing, 73-57, to No. 3 Duke at Cameron Indoor. Freshman Chris Bolden led the Jackets with 20 points this season and Tech led by seven in the first half and 28-27 at intermission. But they couldn’t hold off the Blue Devils who outscored Tech, 46-29 in the final 20 minutes. Duke shot 53.1 percent, 60.0 (6-for-10) from three in the second half, while the Jackets shot below 35 percent. A 16-4 run in the first five minutes put Tech down 13 and they never got closer than 10 the rest of the way. Robert Carter, Jr. and Daniel Miller each grabbed nine rebounds and blocked two shots, but Tech hurt itself with 21 turnovers, which Duke turned into 28 points.
The Tar Heels won their second straight, taking care of Maryland, 62-52, Saturday at the Smith Center. Carolina shot 48.4 percent, 57.1 from three (4-for-7) in the first 20 minutes, as they led wire-to-wire, took a 42-20 lead into halftime then cruised home. Forward Reggie Bullock actually outscored Maryland in the first half, scoring 21 of his career-high 24. James Michael McAdoo added 19 on 8-of-16 shooting, and added a game-high 11. Bullock scored the game’s first eight points and 10 of the first 11, as the Heels opened a double-digit lead 5:25 into the game and led by as much as 23, although the lead was cut to 10 in the second half. The 62 points were actually the fewest scored by a Carolina team in the Roy Williams era.
Tonight’s game will be the 86th meeting in the series that goes back to 1973. The Tar Heels hold a 61-24 edge and won the last meeting, which snapped a Jackets four-game winning streak. Tech has struggled in Chapel Hill, having won only five of 33 meetings all-time.
The game can be seen on ESPN, with Dave O’Brien and Doris Burke calling the action. It also can be heard on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM), with Wes Durham and Randy Waters calling the action and via Satellite Radio (Sirius Ch. 93, XM Ch. 190). Tech fans also can follow the game online on WatchESPN or Ramblinwreck.com.
And now, the starting five for today’s game.
The Last Time We Met: Georgia Tech saw its four-game series winning streak, the longest in the series, end in Chapel Hill last Jan. 29, falling, 93-81, to No. 7 North Carolina. Mfon Udofia led the Jackets with 16 points. Glen Rice, Jr., Tech’s leading scorer coming into the game, was hampered by a toe injury and managed only four points in 23 minutes. The Yellow Jackets had no answer for Carolina’s hot shooting, as the Heels shot 60 percent in the first half and 54 percent for the game. Tech trailed by 20 at intermission and by as much as 24 in the second half.
A Bold(en) Statement: Freshman guard Chris Bolden earned his first start against Duke and made the most of it. Bolden led the team in scoring and became the first Yellow Jacket this season to score 20 points in a game, hitting 7-of-13 shots, including 4-of-8 from three. He also grabbed four rebounds and had an assist. The Tifton native and North Gwinnett High School star has really turned it on in conference play, as he enters tonight’s game tied for the team lead in scoring with Mfon Udofia (10.8 ppg) and since a 2-for-7 outing in his ACC debut against Miami, has averaged 12.3 ppg, shooting 44.8 percent (13-for-29), 7-for-16 from three (43.8).
An Unranked 10: Tonight’s game will be only the 10th time in this series that neither Georgia Tech nor North Carolina is ranked in the top 25, although it will be the fourth time in five years. Georgia Tech has fared quite well in those games, as they have a 5-4 lead in the previous nine meetings, and has won the last three.
Board Meeting: Head Coach Brian Gregory has stressed rebounding to his Yellow Jackets and against Duke, the Jackets showed a better effort on the boards. Tech held a slight 43-40 edge in rebounding and stayed even with the Dukies on the offensive glass, as each team pulled down 15. The 43 rebounds were a team-high in ACC play. Kam Holsey, who had grabbed a total of seven rebounds in his previous three ACC games, grabbed eight against the Blue Devils, while Miller had a team-high-tying nine, five of them off the offensive glass. Unfortunately, he saw his streak of double-digit rebounding games end at three. Carter also pulled in nine boards, his career-best in conference play. Tech will need a similarly strong effort tonight, as UNC leads the ACC in rebounding margin in conference play (plus-5.5).
T.O. NO!: While Georgia Tech’s improved play on the boards was something Gregory had hoped for, they also fell prey to something their head coach was worried about — turnovers. The Jackets were uncharacteristically sloppy with the basketball, in Cameron, turning the ball over a season-high 21 times. Tech had committed 16 turnovers in their two previous games and only 28 in their first three ACC games. The Yellow Jackets and Tar Heels are close in turnover margin, as the Jackets are tied for fifth with Boston College, at plus-.50 per game, while UNC sits in fourth, at plus-1.25.
The Sixth Man: Tonight’s game will be the first true road game Georgia Tech has played that will not be against a ranked team. The other three were at No. 22 Illinois, No. 20 NC State and No. 3 Duke…The Jackets could use a boost at the three-point line, as they’ve shot below 30 percent in three of the last four games. They did that once in the previous eight…Tech has held a block party over its last two games, swatting away 11 shots. Their six blocks against Virginia Tech and five against Duke were Tech’s seventh and eighth games of the season in which they’ve blocked at least five shots…Carter has four blocks in his last two games after knocking away four in his previous seven games. Miller has six of the 11 rejections. One of the premier shot blockers in the ACC — he enters tonight’s game leading the ACC with 2.4 bpg, and is tied for third in ACC play with 2.3 — Miller has blocked at least one shot in 11 straight games, with 10 of those games being multi-block games and seven of those being games with at least three swats.
GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 10.7 ppg
NORTH CAROLINA LEADING SCORER: James Michael McAdoo, 14.7 ppg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Daniel Miller, 9.3 rpg
NORTH CAROLINA LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): James Michael McAdoo, 8.0 rpg
GEORGIA TECH PPG: 65.0/60.2 pp.
OPP. PPG: 58.1/72.0 ppg.
NORTH CAROLINA PPG: 78.6/62.5 ppg.
OPP. PPG: 68.4/63.2 ppg.
NORTH CAROLINA Player to Watch: Reggie Bullock: The 6-7 Junior swingman has heated up in ACC play. The defending ACC Player of the Week, Bullock leads the Tar Heels in scoring in ACC play and is fifth in the conference. He is extremely dangerous from the perimeter, as his 3.3 three-pointers per game trail only B.C.’s Lonnie Jackson and Duke’s Seth Curry, while his 48.1 three-point shooting (13-for-27) is fifth in the ACC. At the line, he’s missed only one attempt all season and his 90.9 percent shooting from the foul line (10-of-11) is second only to NC State’s Scott Wood. Bullock also will hit the boards, as he’s pulling in 6.0 per ACC contest (18th) and leads the Tar Heels with 2.8 offensive rebounds per game (tied for 10th in the ACC).