Jan. 22, 2011
By Matt Winkeljohn
With back-to-back ACC wins in the bank, Georgia Tech went on the road again Saturday and a familiar formula – one good half, one bad — showed up with a twist. At Virginia, it was the first half that was the crater as opposed to the second (as at Boston College and Clemson).
Yet even coach Paul Hewitt admitted that the main problem in the Yellow Jackets’ 72-64 loss at Virginia, a puzzling inability to defend the 3-point shot, seems difficult to understand. The Cavaliers made 10 of 15 3-points, missing only one of eight in the first half on the way to a 43-29 lead that was too much for Tech to overcome.
Tech entered the game ranked last in the ACC in 3-point defense, allowing a success rate of 37.5 percent in all games. Their numbers in ACC games were even worse (40 percent allowed, although Wake Forest was ranked behind the Jackets in conference play).
The numbers got worse Saturday afternoon, when the Cavs were stroking it — especially in the first half.
“When they see Georgia Tech on the shirt, if they are open, it’s going in; I promise you,” Hewitt said. “At halftime, I was thinking, 7 for 8 . . . you can put teams in a gym by themselves that wide open and they are not going to make seven out of eight. It just shows you that have to be prepared to stop people as opposed to hoping that they miss.”
Add this problem to Glen Rice Jr. making just 2 of 11 shots without making it to the free-throw line, and Tech’s in trouble on the road.
In a confounding season, some things have been more confounding than others.
Before the season, Hewitt said — and many expected — the Jackets might struggle with their post game (three freshmen bigs), but that Tech ought to be able to shoot the ball pretty well because of the nature of their personnel.
The Jackets, however, entered Saturday’s game also last in 3-point percentage (30.3). Tech made 4 of 10 at UVa, but that was nowhere near enough to keep pace with the Cavs.
Time for more confoundment, if that’s a word.
“I thought I could have had them better prepared,” Hewitt said. “So, I told the guys after the game that I did not have you prepared as well as you should have been, especially on those 3-point shots. We talked about it a lot and they know what we had to execute but we didn’t do it.”