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#TGW: Attack Mode

Jan. 20, 2014

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

Brian Gregory wasn’t serious Monday when he said that Georgia Tech’s last game against Boston College, “was erased from the memory bank.” Coincidentally, the Yellow Jackets’ coach has been offering players reminders of another sort.

There were times in Saturday’s 56-42 loss to Miami in McCamish Pavilion when the Jackets appeared to forget how to play offense. They trailed 19-17 at halftime, and looked hypnotized by the Hurricanes’ matchup zone.

So talking points have been easy to come by for the past couple days. What needs to happen for the Jackets (10-8, 1-4 ACC) to jack up the O?

Just after Tech finished a brief mid-day practice and just before players and staff left the Zelnak Center to go to the airport, senior guard Trae Golden summarized.

“We need to go to Boston and play our game,” he said. “Just be aggressive, be confident, keep taking the shots that are available and don’t think about it too much; don’t over-analyze everything.”

When last the Eagles (5-13, 1-4) met the Jackets, Tech jumped out to a 15-0 lead in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., only to end up losing 84-64 as BC freshman Olivier Hanlan set several records in scoring 41 points.

The Canadian is averaging 19 points now.

Truth be told, the Jackets remember that, even Gregory. It was their third game in eight days, including a scintillating win at No. 6 Miami and a two-point loss in Boston.

The travel schedule was awful.

“I was more disappointed in the game [at Chestnut Hill]; we had a chance to win that,” the coach said. “In the second half [of the ACC Tournament game], we were done. We had no juice left whatsoever.”

There wasn’t much by way of juice against the Hurricanes on Saturday.

The Jackets shot 29.5 percent (13-for-44), and made 4-of-20 3-point attempts. After the game, Gregory lamented the fact that his team was over-focused on working around the Miami defense rather than through or over it.

Center Daniel Miller and power forward Kammeon Holsey each shot 60 percent, but only attempted five shots apiece. Tech was outscored 28-12 in the paint.

“We need to get the ball in the post. That makes it easier for the wings and the guards to get shots,” said sophomore swing man Marcus Georges-Hunt. “They did a great job in their zone. We weren’t attacking. We were just passing the ball around the horn; we weren’t aggressive.”

In Gregory’s view, Miller needs to take 10 or more shots per game.

The fact that he’s averaging 7.1 is both because he’s not as aggressive with the ball when he gets it as his coach would like, and his teammates are not as diligent about getting it to him as they ought to be in order to maximize his skills.

Tech hopes to have senior swing Jason Morris tonight at B.C. after he missed a couple games because of symptoms associated with a concussion sustained in an automobile accident.

Guard Solomon Poole remains out, however, while dealing with medical issues related to recent migraines. Forward Robert Carter Jr. and guard Travis Jorgenson are sidelined by knee injuries.

Gregory’s keys to offensive improvement are, “Getting the ball inside, dribble-drive, making plays for each other, being aggressive and when you have shots step up and take them,” he said.

“Our guards need to continually rip the ball through and look to feed the post. Every time we get the ball into Daniel, the better. Now sometimes against zone, it’s tougher to do that and you do it on some flashes. He did that.

“Whenever you’re talking about a post player not getting enough shots, it’s usually a combination of the two: that player not being assertive and also the guards maybe not feeding the ball in there enough.”

Last season ended miserably with back-to-back losses to the Eagles.

The Jackets are not interested in picking up where they left off against B.C., nor in their previous game.

“We all know what happened last year,” Georges-Hunt said. “It’s all mental. If you come in before the game with mindset to attack, attack, attack . . . it’s easier.”

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