Dec. 14, 2013
By Jon Cooper
Georgia Tech eagerly gets back into action, looking to extend its two-game winning streak, let off some steam after Finals Week and even exact some revenge when it takes on Kennesaw State Monday night at McCamish Pavilion. Tip-off is set for shortly after 7:00 p.m.
While the Yellow Jackets haven’t played in nine days, that doesn’t mean they haven’t been busy, going through Finals Week. The team went into finals with a flourish, shaking off a two-game losing streak with a spirited late comeback to beat Illinois, 67-64, in the ACC-Big Ten Classic then blasting East Tennessee State, 87-57, four days later. Against ETSU, Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 14 first-half points and Tech closed the half on a 20-4 run to blow open a tight game. The Jackets shot 50.8 percent for the game while holding the Buccaneers to 21.9 percent shooting in the first half and 31.3 percent for the game.
The Owls have lost three of their last four and bring a three-game road losing streak into McCamish but hope that the 15 days off since their last game have helped them right their ship. KSU lost its last time out, on Dec. 1, dropping a 68-51 decision at Kent State. Forward Bernard Morena and guard Delbert Love each had a team-high 16, as Kennesaw trailed by two at the break, but the Owls shot only 31 percent and were outscored 31-8 at the foul line as the Golden Flashes pulled away in the second half.
Tonight’s game will be the fourth meeting between the schools but only the third that counts — the first meeting was an exhibition game — in a series that began in 2004. The Jackets have won two of the three games, both at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. This is the first meeting between the schools at McCamish Pavilion.
The game can be seen online on ESPN3, with Richard Musterer and Kurt Hoyt calling the action. It also can be heard on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, WYAY (106.7 FM), with Brandon Gaudin and Randy Waters calling the action and via Satellite Radio on Sirius (Channel 108) and XM (Channel 190). Tech fans also can follow the game online and get up-to-the-minute stats or Ramblinwreck.com.
And now, the starting five for Monday night’s game.
The Last Time We Met: In the first meeting between the schools at the KSU Convocation Center, Georgia Tech was stunned by the Owls, 80-63, on Nov. 15, 2010. Iman Shumpert led the Jackets with 20 points, but shot only 3-for-11 (1-for-4 from three), and the Jackets shot only 35 percent for the game. Tech never led, shooting only 32.1 percent, 0-for-6 from three, in the first 20 minutes, as they trailed by as much as 18. KSU shot 53.1 percent in the opening half. The Jackets battled back, pulling to within five with 9:37 to play on a pair of Kam Holsey free throws, but KSU answered with a 7-0 run and pulled away.
Tech Trivia: Georgia Tech forward Robert Carter, Jr. (9.3 rpg) and center Daniel Miller (7.9) currently rank second and third in the ACC in rebounding behind Wake Forest’s Devin Thomas (9.8). Who was the last Yellow Jacket to lead the ACC in rebounding?
Sorry, Gotta Run…: Georgia Tech is 6-1 when leading at the half this season and in the last two games has helped build that record with strong closing runs at the end of the first half. The Yellow Jackets went on a 19-7 run over the final 6:20, to turn a nine-point deficit into a three-point halftime lead against then-unbeaten Illinois. They would put on a similar run at the end of the game, using a 19-4 run over the final 9:13 to overcome a 12-point deficit and pull out the win. Against ETSU in its last game, Tech closed the first half on a 15-2 run over the half’s final six minutes to turn an eight-point game into a 21-point lead at the break. During those closing runs, which totaled 12:19 of playing time, Tech has held opponents to 4-for-15 shooting (26.7 percent), 1-for-7 from 3 (14.3 percent), while they have shot 13-for-21 (61.9), 4-for-6 from downtown. As important, Tech has committed only one turnover in that span.
Three-fense!!!: Over the last four games the Yellow Jackets have been quite stingy at the three-point line, as in each of those games they’ve held their opponent to one 3-point field goal for an entire half. At the Barclays the first half was the Jackets’ shutdown half as they held Ole Miss to 1-for-10 in the first 20, then limited St. John’s to 1-for-6. In the last two games, both at home, Tech clamped down in the second half, limiting both Illinois and ETSU to 1-for-8 from downtown. Shutting teams down in the second half proved much more beneficial, as Tech lost to Ole Miss and St. John’s, while beating Illinois and East Tennessee. For the season, Tech and its opponents are each hitting 32.3 percent from 3, but opponents have taken 53 more attempts (217-164) in making 17 more field goals (70-53). That 3-point defense could be important Monday, as Kennesaw is third in the Atlantic Sun and 50th in the nation in 3-point shooting, making 72 3-PTFGs (7.2 per game) on 33.6 percent shooting.
Possession is 9/10ths of the Law: Georgia Tech has made a concerted effort to get to the glass and it’s showing so far in 2013. Through 10 games, the Yellow Jackets have grabbed nearly 8.0 more rebounds per game than their opponent (40.0 to 32.5) and are 10-for-10 in outrebounding them. Tech only did that four times in the first 10 games last year. To show the importance of rebounding, Tech is 28-20 (.583) under Brian Gregory when winning the rebounding battle, 6-18 (.250) when they don’t.
The Sixth Man: Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter, Jr. each scored at least 20 points against Illinois, marking the Yellow Jackets’ fourth and fifth 20-point performances in their first nine games this season. Last season the Jackets had four 20-point games all year, with the first coming on Jan. 17, at Duke, when Chris Bolden put up 20…Carter has hit milestones in each of the last two games. He scored his 400th career point against Illinois then grabbed his 300th career rebound against East Tennessee State…Tech Trivia: Alvin Jones was Georgia Tech’s last conference rebounding king, pulling down 10.4 rebounds in 2000-01…Freshman forward Quinton Stevens had his first career multi-block game, rejecting two shots against East Tennessee State…Georgia Tech has hit at least 75 percent from the foul line in six of its 10 games this season and over the last three games has shot over 80 percent, hitting 38 of 47 attempts. The Jackets hit 75 percent from the stripe four times all last season and never did it in consecutive games.
GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER:Marcus Georges-Hunt, 13.0 ppg KSU LEADING SCORER: Delbert Love, 10.8 ppg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Robert Carter, Jr., 9.3 rpg KSU LEADING REBOUNDER: Orlando Coleman, 6.7 rpg
GEORGIA TECH PPG: 74.1 ppg. OPP. PPG: 65.7 ppg.
KSU PPG: 65.2 ppg. OPP. PPG: 69.5 ppg.
KSU Player To Watch: Delbert Love: The 6-0, 185-pound junior guard from Cleveland, Ohio, is instant offense for the Owls. Love is the leading scorer and most dangerous three-point shooter on a very good three-point shooting team. He’s hit a team-high 20 three-point field goals on 39.2 percent shooting. He’s also reliable at the line, where he’s a 77.8 percent shooter and can get his teammates shots, as he’s second on the team with 26 assists. Defensively, Love can pressure the ball, as his 12 steals lead the team. He ranks in the top five all-time in school history in 3-point field goals made (second), free throws made (second), assists (second), steals (second), points (third) and minutes (fourth).
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