Georgia Tech-Maryland wrap

Greetings-

Hopefully some of you saw Georgia Tech’s 63-61 win over Maryland Saturday. I haven’t seen all of Tech’s games – basically only the ACC games – but it was probably the best I’ve seen the Yellow Jackets play. Tough defense, offense that was able to create shots and some good individual play. An apt summary from Maryland coach Mark Turgeon:

“Georgia Tech played well. They were really good. They made a lot shots they haven’t been making. They executed and they were tougher than we were.”

Some thoughts:

1. The defensive intensity was what made the biggest impression. The Jackets’ effort and execution in the second half on the defensive end won the game. Maryland, in part due to a number of its own failures but also because of solid one-on-one and help defense by Tech, missed 20 of its first 22 shots in the second half.

Asked if it was the team’s best defensive performance of the season, coach Brian Gregory said it was hard to evaluate, “but I thought the second half, we had five guys working together defensively. There was always someone there.”

Gregory said he showed the team video from the first Maryland game, when Terrapins players attacked the basket freely in their 61-50 win in January.

“When it came to driving to the basket, we bailed out, we didn’t pick up those charges. Today, we did a much better job of that,” he said.

2. Kammeon Holsey is turning it on. The forward has scored in double figures in five of the last games, and Saturday scored a team-high 16 points with a career-high 10 rebounds and stayed out of foul trouble, allowing him to log 33 minutes, the most he’s played in a regulation game in his career. He also got the free-throw line seven times, knocking down six.

“Holsey was great,” Turgeon said.

Holsey has a knack around the basket. If he can develop a consistent jumper even out to 10 feet and a quicker recognition of double teams, he will become a dangerous player.

“I felt like I can take anyone that guards me one on one,” Holsey said.

3. A common Gregory observation about his team is how small its margin of victory is, particularly without guard Glen Rice Jr. Saturday was a clear example. Guard Mfon Udofia and Holsey both played perhaps the best games of their careers. Guard Jason Morris broke an 0-for-12 3-point shooting slump by knocking down his first two 3-pointers to give Tech a quick 6-0 lead.

Guard Nick Foreman gave 15 solid minutes off the bench and made all three of his shots for eight points. Just about everyone that played either had a good game or at least had his moments. Tech assisted on 16 of its 22 baskets, its best rate in ACC play.

Turgeon was disappointed in the way his team competed, his team missed, as I mentioned, a number of makeable shots and maybe wasn’t as focused as it could have been. And, all that considered, Tech won by a basket against a middle-of-the-road ACC team. Regardless, Tech players were hardly dwelling on those details in what was a well-deserved victory.

Said Gregory, “It’s not just a great effort and another tough loss. It was a great effort and a tough win, which always feels better.”

4. That said, Tech has two winnable games to close out the regular season, Wednesday at Boston College and Saturday at home against Wake Forest. Neither is any great shakes with a combined 7-21 record in ACC play (the Jackets are 3-11). Tech, obviously, has no shot at postseason play unless it somehow wins the ACC tournament, but does have the opportunity for a positive finish.

Backup center Nate Hicks is expected to return to practice Monday from mononucleosis. How much he can give in games remains to be seen. Reading tea leaves, I don’t expect Rice to return this season.

“Our season isn’t over yet,” center Daniel Miller said Thursday. “It’d be one heck of a deal, but it can always happen.”

5. For whatever it’s worth, if Tech can finish with wins over the Eagles and Deacons, it would finish at 5-11 in league play. Virginia Tech, which is 4-10, closes at Clemson and home against N.C. State. Wake, also 4-10, is home against Duke and at Tech.

Boston College, 3-11 like Tech, has the Jackets at home and then is at Miami.

If the Jackets finish ninth, they could well get Maryland again in the first round of the ACC tournament in an 8-9 game. The 4-7 seeds are still up in the air, between Virginia (8-6), Miami (7-6), N.C. State (7-7) and Clemson (7-7). Maryland, eighth at 6-8, goes to North Carolina and will finish at home against Virginia.

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

6 comments Add your comment

collegeballfan

February 26th, 2012
12:59 pm

Nice column Ken. Nice column.

And yeah, Holsey has the potential to be an all conference player before he leaves.

Looking at who is back in 2013-2014, I believe 2012-2013 will be another rebuilding year, Tech should have a pretty solid team. That 2013-2014 team should be Reed, Bolden, Poole, – Morris, Hunt, – Holsey, Royal, Carter, – Miller, Hicks. Plus the recruits added between now and then, say a 5 star point guard named Tyler Ennis.

It appears, based on the first full recruiting season, that this is a solid recruiting staff as well as a solid coaching staff.

The future looks good.

Gordon

February 26th, 2012
2:11 pm

It was a good move by Gregory to lighten up the practices before this game. There was a lot more energy than Tuesday night.

It will be interesting to see who is around from this group next year. My guess is that Rice and Morris will be gone, and Hicks will have to decide if he wants mop-up duty or would rather play more somewhere else.

GT

February 26th, 2012
2:54 pm

Tech has gotten better under the boards. Their bigs are playing for the first time in years. Too late this year and they need a real point guard but I am sure one is out there. This team will be back in the top 20 as early as next year.

The bench looked organized and involved, the assistants were coaching as hard as the head coach, you can see night and day there. A off season of weights and a summer working with the position players will be really good for these guys.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

February 26th, 2012
3:25 pm

I haven’t really followed hoops this year but this win and they way they almost won at VT makes me think that this team is probably better without Rice

ToeMeetsLeather

February 26th, 2012
3:54 pm

I really like this group of guys. Kinda hope we’ve seen the last of JR in a TECH uniform. As we rebuild, it would probably be better to give those 40 minutes next year to Hunt, Morris and Poole. I’m sure he could help put the program back on the map, but only with the right attitude. And I’m not sure he has that in him.

Back to the guys working hard in the program. Can’t wait to see how Holsey continues to mature as a player. He, Miller, Carter and Royal may be the best group of big men in TECH history when it is all said and done.

Born2Buzz

February 27th, 2012
11:12 am

If Mfon can play like he did Saturday for the remainder of the games then we have a chance. That’s the first time we’ve had good PG play all year. And it was still a struggle at the end, but a win is a win!! If this team goes 5-11 in conference play that would be amazing.

I said before that Rice looked like a guy who was wondering what he was doing at GT. His background has him thinking he should be at a big time program, and at the time he thought he was signing on with one (that was Hewitt’s last real recruiting class – Favors, Rice, Oliver,Miller, Udofia and Holsey – that was a hell of a class). I think he either transfers or tries to go pro, but it is obvious he doesn’t want to put in the work and take his lumps to make GT better. Maybe he changes his attitude and sticks it out next year, but we shall see.

Gordon, why do you think Morris will be gone? He hasn’t shown the lack of resolve like Rice.

With the incoming class and the maturation of the guys scheduled to be back next year GT will again be a big time program. BG has what it takes.