Jan. 28, 2013
By Jon Cooper
With its confidence on the rise, Georgia Tech looks for its first ACC winning streak in the Brian Gregory era as it visits Clemson tonight. Tip-off at Littlejohn Coliseum is at 7 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets came out roaring and rolled the Demon Deacons, 82-62, in its last game, Saturday afternoon at McCamish Pavilion. Robert Carter, Jr. scored a career-high 20 points and six rebounds and fellow freshman Marcus Georges-Hunt added 12 and six boards. Tech shot 54.2 percent for the game, 61.8 percent in the first half, as they raced out to a 16-0 lead and never looked back. Carter, and freshman Chris Bolden, combined for 13 of the 16 points, with Carter hitting a jumper, tipping in a shot and nailing a three, while Bolden hit a pair of three-pointers that bookended the run. Mfon Udofia also added a three in the start. The Jackets had a 38-30 edge in points in the paint, and a 26-14 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Tigers snapped a two-game skid on Sunday, beating Virginia Tech at Littlejohn, 77-70. Milton Jennings and Damarcus Harrison each had career scoring days, with Jennings pouring in 28 points and a career-high-tying 14 rebounds, while Harrison added 19. Clemson jumped out to a 12-0 lead, but saw the Hokies rally to pull even at the half. In a tight second half, Clemson got a big three from K.J. McDaniels, one of his five, to open up a four-point lead, and a Jennings jumper inside of two minutes allowed the Tigers to escape. Clemson had a 15-8 edge in second-chance points and held the Hokies to 35 percent shooting, 31.3 percent from three, 22.2 percent in the second half.
Tonight’s game will be the 121st meeting in a series that dates back to 1913. It’s Tech’s oldest series with an ACC rival. The Tigers hold a 61-59 edge and have won the last five meetings. Clemson holds a 32-8 edge all-time Littlejohn and has won seven in a row there.
The game can be seen on FOX Sports South locally, with Bob Rathbun and Dave Odom 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. 123, XM Ch. 190). Tech fans also can follow the game online on ESPN3 (outside of ACC territory) or Ramblinwreck.com.
And now, the starting five for tonight’s game.
The Last Time We Met: Georgia Tech took one on the chin, dropping a 56-37 decision to Clemson last Feb. 21 at Philips Arena. Kam Holsey had 12 points and eight rebounds and Brandon Reed added 11. The Jackets scored the game’s first four points but Clemson answered with an 8-0 run and led the rest of the way. Tech stayed close during the first half, trailing 27-18 at the half, but surrendered the first two baskets of the second half and trailed by double figures the rest of the way. They didn’t help themselves, shooting 31.3 percent, 17.6 from three, and only 25 percent (7-for-28) in the second half, going 1-for-12 from behind the arc and 4-of-9 from the line.
Robert’s Rules: After being held in single-digits the previous two games, Robert Carter, Jr. broke out against Wake Forest. He recorded his first 20-point game of the season (the team’s second), and shot a blistering 9-for-10, 2-for-3 from three. He also grabbed six rebounds (three on each end), handed out an assist (his first in five games) and had a block (his fifth in four games). Carter, who has started every game, has stepped it up in his first go-round in ACC play. He’s the team’s leading scorer (11.3 ppg), is second in rebounds at 7.2 rpg (his 43 are four behind Daniel Miller). He also leads the team in field goals (25), offensive rebounds (16) and three-point shooting percentage (46.7 percent). He’s second in field goal percentage (44.6), three-point field goals made (7), free throws made (11) and attempted (18), and blocked shots (5). Among ACC freshmen he’s sixth in scoring and second in rebounds.
Tech Trivia: As mentioned above, the Georgia Tech-Clemson rivalry goes back to 1913. Who was the head coach for Georgia Tech in its first game against Clemson?
One To Remember: While Georgia Tech likely would never list Clemson nor Littlejohn Coliseum among its favorite places to play — they are 16-39 in Clemson and 8-32 at Littlejohn — one of the best games in school history was played there. It’s actually their best game scoring-wise in ACC history. It came on Jan. 24, 2001 when Tech knocked off Clemson, 111-108. The game stands as the school’s highest-scoring ACC regulation game. In the game, Alvin Jones led the Yellow Jackets, scoring 26 points on 6-for-8 shooting, 14-for-19 from the foul line. He also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds and tied Tony Akins with six assists. Shaun Fein added 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting, 7-for-9 from three. The teams combined for 63 fouls and five players fouled out, including Akins, Jon Babul and T.J. Vines. Will Solomon led Clemson with 41. The Jackets shot 60.7 percent and 54.8 from three (17-for-31). The two teams combined to hit 31 three-point field goals. The game is not the highest scoring game, however, as Tech lost to Wake Forest, 114-112, in double-overtime in the 2007 ACC Tournament and matched the 111 points in beating Florida State in Tallahassee, winning 111-108, in double-overtime on Feb. 11, 1999.
Gettin’ After It: Don’t expect offenses to thrive as they did in that 2001 game. Both the Yellow Jackets and the Tigers are ranked in the top five in the ACC in field goal percentage defense. Georgia Tech is holding opponents to 41.9 percent shooting (150-of 358), while Clemson ranks third, with opponents shooting 39.2 percent (147-for-375). Against the three they are seventh and eighth (Tech’s opponents are converting at 35.6 percent from behind the arc, Clemson’s foes shoot 38.5 percent). Offensively, the teams are two three-point field goals apart, as Tech has made 35 (5.8 per game), while Clemson has 37 (5.3 per game). Tech has averaged 4.2 points more per ACC game (64.3 to 60.1).
The Sixth Man: Georgia Tech’s win over Wake Forest allowed them to match their win total from last season. Coincidentally, win No. 11 came against Wake Forest. That came on March 3, 2012 … The Yellow Jackets put together one of their finest offensive efforts of the season Saturday in routing Wake Forest. Their 82 points tied the team’s high in an ACC game in the Brian Gregory era (the Jackets also hit 82 last Jan. 11 in an 82-71 victory over NC State in Raleigh) while their 20-point victory margin, 32 field goals and 20 assists all were team highs in conference play under Gregory. Wake became the second team and first ACC team against which Gregory has a winning streak. The other is Georgia…Tech Trivia Answer: John Heisman, who had left Clemson for Georgia Tech in 1904, was on the sideline for the Jackets that day. The teams played on back-to-back days, with Tech losing the opener, 26-22, on Feb. 7, 2013 at the Crystal Palace, but bouncing back to win, 29-11, the following day…Mfon Udofia is shooting 35.4 percent from three this season. That would rank in the ACC’s top 10, but he doesn’t have enough attempts to qualify. He’s hit two three-pointers in four of Tech’s last six ACC games…Tech’s current five-game losing streak to Clemson is the longest in the series since a 14-game skid from 1972-82.
GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 10.5 ppg
CLEMSON LEADING SCORER: Devin Booker, 12.6 ppg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER (ACC): Robert Carter, Jr., 11.3 ppg
CLEMSON LEADING SCORER (ACC): Devin Booker, 14.7 ppg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Robert Carter, Jr., 6.9 rpg
CLEMSON LEADING REBOUNDER: Devin Booker, 7.9 rpg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Daniel Miller, 7.8 rpg
CLEMSON LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Devin Booker, 9.0 rpg
GEORGIA TECH PPG: 65.8/64.3 pp.
OPP. PPG: 59.5/71.5 ppg.
CLEMSON PPG: 64.3/60.1 ppg.
OPP. PPG: 57.0/60.4 ppg.
CLEMSON Player To Watch: Milton Jennings: With the recent illness slowing Devin Booker the last couple of games, Milton Jennings has stepped up. The 6-9, 225-pound senior forward is 23rd in scoring in ACC play (11.9 ppg, slightly ahead of Tech’s leading scorer Robert Carter, Jr.), 10th in rebounding (just ahead of Tech’s Daniel Miller), fifth in free throw percentage (78.6), ninth in three-point shooting (1.9 threes per game) and is even in the top 10 in blocked shots (1.4 bpg, ninth). He’s coming off a monster effort against Virginia Tech, where he played all 40 minutes, scoring a career-high 28 points on 6-for-12 shooting, 16-for-18 from the line, while pulling down 14 rebounds, with four blocks and an assist. The 16 FTMs were the most in a game by a Clemson player in 44 years, since the late Butch Zatezalo did it against Wake Forest.