Tech christens McCamish with rout

Georgia Tech opened McCamish Pavilion on Friday night with a warm recognition of its past. The Yellow Jackets’ future grabbed its share of the spotlight, as well.

Before a sellout crowd of 8,600 that included about 150 former players, coaches and staff, including former coach Bobby Cremins, the Yellow Jackets christened their new $50 million home with a 79-61 rout of Tulane in the season opener for both teams.

“I love this place,” said coach Brian Gregory, who grabbed a microphone at game’s end to thank fans, particularly the students, for their support. “I’m excited about what we’re going to build.”

The building, which bears almost no resemblance to the Alexander Memorial Coliseum structure that it replaced, crackled with energy. Hundreds of Tech students lined the court and stood behind one basket. At the opening tip, senior guard Mfon Udofia absorbed the surroundings and marveled. After a season of home games at Gwinnett Arena and Philips Arena, he nearly cried.

“It was crazy,” he said.

Gregory started two freshmen — forwards Robert Carter Jr. and Marcus Georges-Hunt — along with center Daniel Miller and guards Brandon Reed and Udofia. The last time Tech opened a season with two freshmen in the starting five was in 2009-10, when Udofia took the court with Derrick Favors.

Carter, Georges-Hunt and fellow freshman Chris Bolden fit into the team’s flow. Carter, judged by ESPN as the No. 33 player in the 2012 senior class, showed speed in transition, a back-to-the-basket game and a rebounding knack. The three scored 35 points and turned the ball over once.

“I thought they responded extremely well,” Gregory said.

The star of the night was Holsey, who came off the bench to score a team-high 18 points. Holsey showed no effect of the high ankle sprain that he suffered in the preseason as he ran the floor and leapt for rebounds.

Often working a high-low game with Miller, Holsey banged in the post for high-percentage shots. In a stretch midway through the second half, he scored seven consecutive points that expanded Tech’s lead from 46-40 to 53-40. Tulane did not get any closer than 10 points after the Holsey fusillade.

“Huge lift,” Gregory said. “I’ll take 10 Kam’s. We won’t be able to get the ball over half court, but I’ll take ’em.”

Holsey was part of a withering assault on the backboards. Tech out-rebounded Tulane 47-23, including 16 offensive rebounds. Miller led with 10, adding 10 points, six assists and three blocks in a deft all-around performance.

It was only one game, but an impressive one. A year ago, Tech went to New Orleans and lost 57-52.

“They have more bodies, (and are) bigger, stronger,” Tulane coach Ed Conroy said. “And at least tonight, we’ll see what happens over the course of the year, I know Coach will do a great job with them, they were a lot more physical, and I think that showed in their emphasis on the boards.”

The highlight of the evening took place at halftime, when about 150 former players, coaches, managers and staff lined the perimeter of the court and were announced by play-by-play man Wes Durham at near-auctioneer pace. The loudest applause was offered to “Lethal Weapon 3” — Kenny Anderson, Brian Oliver and Dennis Scott — and Cremins.

The building made an obvious impression. Before the game, Tech legend Tom Hammonds stood in a tunnel as he waited to take the court for a pregame ceremony with Matt Harpring, Roger Kaiser, John Salley and Rich Yunkus. He looked around at the arena — the theatrical lighting, the high-definition scoreboard, the packed house.

“Man alive,” he said, “this is beautiful.”

By Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

45 comments Add your comment

Biff Pocoroba

November 9th, 2012
10:45 pm

Did Wes announce Javaris Crittendon during the introductions? I thought he was in jail so that kind of surprised me that he would show up.

Jacket TIme

November 9th, 2012
10:48 pm

What a game!!!! GT basketball is back!!!!!!!

jacket backer

November 9th, 2012
10:54 pm

Great night! Lot of fun. It was so good seeing Bobby back on the Flats! The team looked much improved from last year and the 3 freshmen are legit. Good start to the season.

Go Jackets!!

ToeMeetsLeather

November 9th, 2012
10:55 pm

Probably my two favorite TECH bball players all time, Hammonds and Harpring. Class acts that left everything on the court EVERY night. Will never forget the standing ovation that Harpring got from the nine team crowd at his last ACCT game.

lance manion

November 9th, 2012
11:06 pm

Great game, beautiful venue. Congratulations to Coach Gegory and the Jacktes. Looks like the beginning of a good year. And, it should only get better in future years.

Reformed Toady

November 9th, 2012
11:11 pm

Bif, you don’t know much about Tech BB. The player you refer to only played one season under Hewitt. Hardly a legend. So lets see, CREMINS (HALL OF FAME COACH), Tommy Hammonds (watched him when I was a kid), Matt Harpring ( the guy that would never play in the NBA but did), John Salley ( if you don’t know who he is it’s an indication of your IQ), and RICH YUNKUS! Serious! Stop posting on the TECH blog! Go play with your Bob Horner doll.

GREAT GAME JACKETS!

1 4 GT

November 9th, 2012
11:22 pm

Was channel surfing & BINGO! Look what I found. GT/Tulane on TV intime for the opening tip off. Good game. Impressive plays. Lots of excitement in the crowd. Loved it. I’ll have to catch a few games. Rich Yunkus, a blast from the past. John Salley almost as funny as Barkley. GOOOO JACKETS

Biff Pocoroba

November 9th, 2012
11:25 pm

Reformed, Javaris was announced at the game at halftime. Not sure why he was invited. Dion Glover played one year and thought he was great enough for the NBA and left and he was there too. Not a legend either. If you don’t know what you are talking about, then don’t call anyone out. Just go play with your DRad doll and pretend he left us in great shape.

collegeballfan

November 9th, 2012
11:27 pm

The new guys really looked good. Al quick and all strong. Bolden has a nice shooting touch.
Holsey looked special.

Paul in Nh

November 9th, 2012
11:49 pm

Sounds like the pregame ceremony was with players whose jersey’s have been retired. Only name missing is Mark Price – what is that all about?

Paul in Nh

November 9th, 2012
11:50 pm

Oops – jerseys

BigGTMike

November 9th, 2012
11:57 pm

price on the road with magic in all likelihood.

Ken Sugiura

November 10th, 2012
12:50 am

first, there’s no need for the hostility.
Mark Price was coaching his son and could not attend.
i wasn’t paying complete attention, so i didn’t hear it, but apparently crittenton was introduced at halftime with about 150 other former players, coaches and staff. i was a little surprised, as well. i imagine the logic might have been, if you really do you consider yourself a family, you include all family.

fuzzybee78

November 10th, 2012
12:56 am

@toemeetsleather
Agreed about Hammonds and Harpring! One of the best games among so many at the Thrillerdome was 1989 Hammonds SR year when he and Danny Ferry and Duke were just trading BLOWS all night. Crowd never sat down. Hammonds finishes Duke off with a dunk that started at the foul line when he took flight! Remains in my memory as the biggest dunk ever at the Thrillerdome!

fuzzybee78

November 10th, 2012
12:58 am

Ken, well written, great night for us old guys!

North Ave Killer Beez

November 10th, 2012
2:14 am

Before the game I posted and I will say it again, HUNT CARTER & BOLDEN can ball. We are going to have a sweet team before it’s all said and done. Go jackets, thank heavens it basketball season.

BigTimeTECHFan

November 10th, 2012
7:35 am

Oh yes Tom Hammonds is my favorite all time. My All Tech team, not by talent but by my fav:

Kenny Anderson
Tom Hammonds
Dwayne Ferrell
C Neil (Noodles)
J Sally

BigTimeTECHFan

November 10th, 2012
7:36 am

Oh I forgot Tico Brown and Sammy Drummer

BigTimeTECHFan

November 10th, 2012
7:36 am

Was Tico Brown there last night?

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
8:19 am

Try not to laugh at this Deja Vu but last night reminded me when a fellow 11 year old pointed out to me from a program that R.D Craddock, Jim Caldwell and Ron Sharp were all sophomores.
Just add a player or two and great things would be ahead we thought.
We all have fond memories of Whack but those additions were never made and the senior year of those three was spoiled by leaving the SEC.
Our team now has a lot of talented freshmen and the returning players have raised their game too.
To force a Deja Vu on me 50 years later?
Well I’m excited.
Stay home and you’ll miss out.

Well, at least one b-ball team win...

November 10th, 2012
8:29 am

..Tech will not have to worry about this year is UGA – they still are awful – I just cannot figure out why they cannot recruit any stud players like Holsey, Hunt, Carter, Hunt and Parker – or maybe it is just coaching, but they just plain cannot play at the highest level, and from where I view, it appears that they would struggle in b-ball at the D2 level….

Freddie Blassie

November 10th, 2012
8:32 am

That dandy little dude Gregory can coach some basketball. The teams’ work on the boards was impressive. I think they beat a pretty good Tulane team.

collegeballfan

November 10th, 2012
8:53 am

Ken – I believe Wednesday is early signing day for BB. Any news on signings for Tech beyond Poole and Stephens? And are they secure?

Bud

November 10th, 2012
8:57 am

Great game good to see cremmins and all the past players

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
9:15 am

The only disappointment in a marvelous opening night was that it was not a sell-out.
Get the word out Jacket fans.
The basketball program is going places.
I do not want to get too far ahead of ourselves but I’m impressed.
Don’t let lack of fan support be the missing link.

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
9:16 am

The occasional dummy who comes on this blog and criticizes Ken should have to run steps at Bobby Dodd stadium the next day regardless of age.

Supersize that order, mutt

November 10th, 2012
9:38 am

My only disappointment last night, trivial though it may be, is that they gave away BLUE shirts to everybody in attendance. BLUE???? Doesn’t anybody in the Tech sports information department, or whoever handles these things, realize that Tech’s colors are GOLD (or at least YELLOW) and WHITE, and NOT blue and white???

Supersize that order, mutt

November 10th, 2012
9:46 am

That being said, SPECTACULAR new arena, inside and out. And a fun team to watch. I hope this is a new beginning for the Jackets all around. Can’t wait to see them stomp the mutts—-AGAIN

GT70

November 10th, 2012
10:04 am

@supersize

I believe the shirts were sponsored by an oil company whose colors are blue and red. Be glad they weren’t red!

At least the shirts...

November 10th, 2012
10:19 am

…were not black, either, as I, obviously incorrectly, thought while growing up, that Tech colors were black and gold – and though I now know the “true” Tech colors are Old Gold and White, blue is used quite frequently, so that also may be from where the “thought” for the color came…

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
10:22 am

@Supersize.
Agreed.
I’m excited about Tech basketball again.

Jacket Detective

November 10th, 2012
10:36 am

Mark, Ken and even the photographer (JCrawford) provided excellent coverage of McCamish Pavillion’s opening night.
I especially liked Ken’s description of Holsey’s seven point run that he called a fusillade.
It seemed like more than seven but they were the most important points of the night for GT as they came when Tulane was trying to make a game of it and had pulled to within 4 or 5.
That is what upperclassemen are for.
I also appreciated Crawford’s photograph of the three players on the bench, very into the game.
We need that in football but the ship needs to be righted and though there are some signs of that, today will provide more evidence one way or the other.
Mark’s column was good too.

GIVE ME A BREAK

November 10th, 2012
10:40 am

I thought the game was sold out. I’ll have to check more thoroughly next time. ” GO JACKETS “

Biff Pocoroba

November 10th, 2012
11:05 am

The game was sold out last night. Scalpers were actually making money for the first time in several years on the street.

Also, regarding the "blue" shirts Supersize is complaining about...

November 10th, 2012
1:42 pm

…watching the football game right now maybe someone should tell the AD and CPJ that “blue” is not a Tech color, at least according to Super…

My question about the "sellout", as advertised on this blog...

November 10th, 2012
1:43 pm

…is how do the same scalpers as at football games get the tickets to sell if the game is “sold out”?

GT70

November 10th, 2012
2:16 pm

If you had ever scalped tickets you would know. They buy and sell tickets before the game. Someone has 4 tix and can’t find anyone to go sells them for what he can get and there ya go.

GT70

November 10th, 2012
2:18 pm

Also, if the game was sold out there were a ton of tickets available on the street or a lot of folks came disguised as empty seats.

Quick Correction

November 10th, 2012
3:40 pm

All the tickets were distributed, but it was not necessarily a sellout. Somewhere between 1,000 and 2,600 were given away in hopes of packing the place to the brim.

It’s a similar tactic to the one that the Hawks have used at Philips Arena.

OH NO

November 10th, 2012
8:02 pm

Best team at Tech in a while. They played fast, athletic, smart, and very aggressive BB. Fun game to watch. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO JACKETS.

GTGirl

November 11th, 2012
12:06 am

Big time Tech fan- I was at the reception and the game and Tico and Sammy were not there. Jarvis Crittenden was extremely nice and also very well behaved. You could tell he was just glad to be there. It was a wonderful evening. The players were all hugging Coach Cremins and each other. It was great to see all the love and affection they have for their coaches and each other.

GTGirl

November 11th, 2012
12:07 am

Ken-were you at the reception?

GTGirl

November 11th, 2012
12:13 am

@Super-Chevron sponsored the FREE t-shirts we received at the game Friday night. I agree they could have done a better color scheme, but hey, bottom line they paid for the shirts and they were free to the fans.

Supersize that order, mutt

November 11th, 2012
12:36 am

@ GTGirl……I will email you tomorrow

juvenal

November 12th, 2012
11:32 am

some coaches should use a clipboard to cover their mouth to avoid being lip-read, like in the nfl…….