Dec. 22, 2014
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
Georgia Tech looks to continue its roll and give Coach Brian Gregory a victory in his return to his old stomping grounds when it takes on the Dayton Flyers. Tip-off at University of Dayton Arena is set for 8 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets made it five out of six on Saturday afternoon, coming back from an eight-point halftime deficit to down Vanderbilt, 65-60, at McCamish Pavilion. Charles Mitchell had a career-high 19 points and eight rebounds, Marcus Georges-Hunt added 14 and Tech dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Commodores 39-30, 20-8 on the offensive end. Georges-Hunt’s jumper with 12:44 to play broke the game’s eighth tie and concluded a 13-6 run by the Jackets to open the second half. Tech would be tied twice more but never surrendered the lead. Travis Jorgensen, who had eight points and six assists (with zero turnovers), hit a jumper with 2:39 remaining to give the Jackets the lead for good. GT shot 51.6 percent in the second half.
The Flyers bounced back from a loss and some off-the-court adversity, in which two players were indefinitely suspended from the team, topping visiting Boston University, 78-62, on Saturday. The win gave Coach Archie Miller’s club six wins in seven games, extended the Flyers’ home winning streak to 11 and kept them perfect at 5-0 at home in 2014. Sophomore forward Kendall Pollard and freshman guard Darrell Davis each set career-highs with 19 points to lead four double-digit scorers. The Flyers led 39-32 at the break and by as much as 18 in the second half, when they pulled away, shooting 59.1 percent. Dayton made 47.8 percent of its three-point attempts, hitting 11-for-23, Davis, who shot 6-for-7 from downtown, helped the Flyers to a 31-9 edge off the bench, while UD outscored B.U. in the paint, 28-16. Point guard Scoochie Smith had a tremendous game, dishing out eight assists without a turnover.
Tuesday’s game will be the fourth meeting between the schools, with Georgia Tech looking for its first win in the series. The first game between the schools was played on Dec. 17, 1977, a 65-63 loss at UD Arena. They didn’t meet again until Nov. 19, 2009 in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan, with the Flyers, coached by Gregory, upsetting the No. 21/19 Yellow Jackets, 63-59. GT and Dayton hooked up for the first time in the Brian Gregory Era at Tech last Nov. 20, with Dayton taking an 82-72 win at McCamish Pavilion.
The game can be seen online on CBS Sports Network with Tom McCarthy and Alaa Abdelnaby calling the action. The game also can be heard on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, WYAY (106.7 FM), with Brandon Gaudin and Randy Waters on the call and via Satellite Radio on Sirius (Channel 93) and XM (Channel 194). Tech fans also can get up-to-the-minute stats on Ramblinwreck.com.
And now, the Starting Five for Tuesday night’s game:
The Last Time We Met: Daniel Miller had 20 points and seven rebounds and Marcus Georges-Hunt added 16, but the Yellow Jackets couldn’t overcome 19 turnovers and lost to Dayton, 82-72, last Nov. 20 at McCamish Pavilion. The loss knocked Tech from the ranks of the unbeaten and ruined Coach Brian Gregory’s first game coaching against his former team. Tech led 22-13 with 11:36 remaining in the first half but the Flyers closed the half on a 15-2 run to take a 39-32 lead into the break. Tech never equalized, falling behind by as many as 14. The 19 turnovers hurt, as Dayton turned them into 33 points. They’d oustcore the Jackets 33-6 off miscues.
Messrs. Clean: Georgia Tech’s point guard tandem of redshirt freshman Travis Jorgensen and sophomore Josh Heath are keeping turnovers to a minimum and are put up plenty of clean games in the process. Both have at least six games with one-or-fewer turnovers, and both have three clean sheets. Heath had one-or-fewer T.O.’s in six of his first seven games, including back-to-back 0’s, as he sported a 9:1 assists-to-turnover ratio over his first five games (27 assists vs. three turnovers). He added a clean game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge game at Northwestern, when he put in a season-high 12 points. Jorgensen, who is coming off ACL surgery, has had back-to-back clean games while handing out nine assists, logging 24 and 25 minutes, his two longest stints of the season. He’s had one-or-fewer turnovers in six of his last seven games (he had two miscues in the other). Over his last four games, in which he’s played over 20 minutes, Jorgensen has a 5:1 assists-to-turnovers (15 helpers vs. three turnovers). Against Vanderbilt on Saturday, he matched his season-high with eight points, including canning a season-best two three-point field goals.
Tech Trivia: Sophomore forward Quinton Stephens made at least one three-point field goal in each of his first six games to open the 2014-15 season. It’s the team’s longest streak of games with a three-pointer so far this season. What was the longest such streak last season and who held it?
On Second Thought: Georgia Tech has dominated opponents in second-chance points this season, holding a 135-84 edge (30-15 over the last two games). They have won the category in eight of 10 games this season and in five of the last six Jackets’ opponents have been held to single-digits — something that has happened to the Jackets one time. The domination in that category derives from the commitment on the offensive glass, where GT ranks 10th nationally and third in the ACC with 14.6 offensive rebounds per game. The Jackets have a 146-77 edge on the offensive glass and have cashed in 13.5 ppg off those offensive rebounds. Junior forward Charles Mitchell has paced the Jackets, grabbing 3.9 ORBs per game (second in the ACC). Tech’s 20 ORBs (seven by Mitchell, six more by forward Demarco Cox) and 16 second-chance points helped overcome 38.8 percent shooting in the win over Vanderbilt, who shot 46.7 percent.
Downtown Disconnector: Georgia Tech has made things tough for opponents at the perimeter, as opponents are shooting only 27.1 percent from three-point range through 10 games. It’s a nice bounce-back following a rough two-game stretch, Nov. 21 and 27 against IPFW and Marquette, in which opponents shot a combined 40 percent (IPFW, 7-for-18, 38.9, Marquette, 9-for-22, an opponents’ season-high 40.9). In the six games since the loss to the Golden Eagles, Tech opponents have converted only 26 of 113 tries from behind the arc (23.0), with only one team, USC Upstate, shooting as high as 22.0 percent (The Spartans shot 38.5, going 10-for-26). In those six games four teams have shot 20.0 or lower, including Vanderbilt, which came to McCamish shooting 41.0 from behind the arc on the season but was limited to 20.0 percent (3-for-15), while another shot 21.4.
The Sixth Man: Brian Gregory had a 112-23 record — an .830 winning percentage — at UD Arena in his eight years as Dayton’s Coach (2003-12). His teams averaged 14 home wins a season and put together a 29-game home winning streak from March 8, 2008 (a 79-67 win over St. Joseph’s) until Jan. 26, 2010 (a 65-64 loss to Rhode Island). Gregory was 172-94, a .647 percentage, overall…The game with Dayton will be Georgia Tech’s fifth game against an opponent with an RPI in the top 100. The Jackets are 3-1, topping Georgia, Rhode Island and Northwestern. They’ll conclude their non-conference slate and the 2014 portion of their schedule next Tuesday against Charlotte at McCamish Pavilion…Tech Trivia Answer: Trae Golden hit at least one three-pointer in seven straight games last season, beginning on Jan. 11 vs. Notre Dame through Feb. 1 at Wake Forest. Marcus Georges-Hunt and Chris Bolden each had streaks of five straight games with a 3…Georgia Tech’s has played aggressive defense on the ball but has done so cleanly as evidenced by their only committing 179 personal fouls vs. 210 for opponents. Only three times all season have the Jackets committed as many as 20 fouls in a game (they’ve won two of those), and only three times in the 10 games have they committed more fouls than their opponents. Tech won two of those, as well…The Jackets’ 33-25 deficit at the break on Saturday marked the first time they trailed at halftime in 2014. Tech is 6-1 when leading at intermission and is 1-1 when tied.
GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 11.7 ppg
DAYTON SCORING LEADER: Jordan Sibert, 14.4 ppg
GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER: Charles Mitchell, 7.3 rpg
DAYTON REBOUNDING LEADER: Dyshawn Pierre, 6.3 rpg
GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER: Josh Heath, 4.0 apg
DAYTON ASSISTS LEADER: Scoochie Smith, 3.9 apg
GEORGIA TECH PPG: 67.4 ppg
OPPONENT PPG: 60.9 ppg
DAYTON PPG: 66.3 ppg
OPPONENT PPG: 58.3 ppg
Dayton Player To Watch: Jordan Sibert: Recent suspensions have put even greater responsibility on the 6-4, 187-pound redshirt senior guard, from Cincinnati, Ohio, but if precedent means anything, he should be up to the task. A team captain, and Preseason First-Team All-A-10 selection, Sibert scored a team-high 18 in Dayton’s losing effort at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off against No. 17 Connecticut and has scored in double-figures in each of the seven games since. The Flyers’ leading scorer and three-point shooter (his 21 three-pointers, nearly double his nearest teammate) Sibert is almost a sure thing at the foul line, where he shoots 87.5 (35-for-40). He averaged 15.8 points during the Flyers’ recent five-game winning streak, and his explosiveness is fresh in the memory of the Yellow Jackets, who remember him going for 20 points and six rebounds in last year’s game.
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