Thoughts and observations from Monday night’s game at McCamish Pavilion, a 75-41 win for Georgia Tech over Alabama. Game story here.
1. Monday was a take-care-of-business game, and Georgia Tech checked the box. Tough defense and much better rebounding opened up a lot of the offense for Tech. The Jackets scored 27 of their 75 points off the break.
“Usually we let teams like that back in the game, stick around,” said center Daniel Miller, who had five blocks. “We just came out and kept playing hard.”
I think you can only read so much into it, because Alabama State is just not a very good team. Out of 345 Division I teams, the Hornets are 329th in turnover margin, 323rd in rebound margin and 340th in scoring margin. The roster has 10 new players, and gave up considerable size to Tech. As I said, Tech did what it had to and moves forward.
Said Alabama State coach Lewis Jackson, “We knew it was going to be a tall order for us at just about every position.”
Citadel could be even worse. The Bulldogs’ RPI, according to realtimerpi.com, is No. 347 out of 347.
2. Solomon Poole looked like what you’d expect, given his first practice with the team was Saturday. He showed some flashes with his quickness, but got a little lost on defense and had a tough go of things on offense. He’s got a bit of catch-up before he can make earnest contributions, I think.
“He’s an exciting player,” forward Robert Carter said. “You’re going to see a lot from him. He’s really athletic and he can really pass the basketball.”
Poole scored his only two points on free throws, both banked in.
“It was funny, because at first, when he shot the first free throw off the glass, everybody just looked at each other like, did he try to do that?” Carter said. “And then he looked at the bench, and then he did it again. We were like, Yeah, he was trying to do that. That’s just his personality. He’s just gifted. … I know when I clanked mine off the side of the backboard, it wasn’t because I was trying to do it.”
3. As noted in the game story, Corey Heyward tore his ACL in an unsupervised workout and will have to start his rehab again. His surgery and rehab were going well, apparently so well that Heyward was perhaps a little too confident in how far he’d come and made a mistake I imagine he quite regrets. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of this happening before.
That said, this makes Poole’s decision to come to Tech as an early enrollee even more valuable. He’ll likely be the starting point guard next season. Much better to do so with two-thirds of a season’s experience plus a full offseason. Heyward, meanwhile, will likely miss the spring and summer and could be back when school begins.
4. Carter looks better and better. He scored on moves in the post, was the best rebounder on the floor and used his length well on defense. I’m curious to see how he fares once the ACC schedule starts. He has, it seems, a pretty mature outlook on the game. I asked him about the size advantage that Tech had at every position, and he noted how teams sometimes play four-out, one-in (four perimeter players and one big).
“That means they try to take advantage of me as a 4, being 6-8, 6-9, step out and guard a 6-6 guy,” he said. “That’s just a challenge that I’ve got to come up against. They’re going to try to stretch me out, take me off the dribble. That’s just every day in practice working on defense, shutting down guys, guarding guards in practice, doing whatever it takes to just get better at it so I can stay on the floor.”
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog