Tech closes nonconference play with win

UPDATED, 10:30 p.m. Georgia Tech guard Mfon Udofia understood the situation a little better than most. While Chattanooga did not appear to be much of a threat to the Yellow Jackets, the Mocs were doing a fair impersonation of one.

“Pretty much me being a senior, me being through a lot, I just wanted to let these guys know that this is a game where we can be beat,” Udofia said, “so we have to pick it up or we will be beaten.”

The Jackets responded, shaking out of a first-half funk to take care of Chattanooga 74-58 on Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion. Tech finished its nonconference schedule at 10-2 and will play its ACC opener at home Saturday afternoon against Miami.

Tech sizzled on offense in the second half, making 17 of 28 shots while recording assists on 10 of the 17 baskets. The Jackets also out-rebounded the Mocs 21-6 in the second half.

Said Chattanooga coach John Shulman, “They kicked our tail on the glass.”

Tech won its sixth game in a row. Aside from the win over Georgia on Dec. 4, none of the other six wins constitute any considerable achievement. According to realtimerpi.com, the highest RPI ranking of any of the other five teams Wednesday was Fordham at No. 248.

Chattanooga, which fell to 5-9, was ranked 267th.

Still, in coach Brian Gregory’s second season, the fact that Tech did win all six, and the last four decisively, is noteworthy. Last season, against a non-conference schedule not so different than this season’s, Tech started ACC play with a 7-7 record.

“One of the key kind of markers for a team in the rebuilding phase is a team that does not lose games that they shouldn’t,” Gregory said. “And I think that over the first 12 games, we took care of the business that we were supposed to take care of. I think that is a big step for us.”

The Jackets dragged through the first half and trailed the Mocs for most of the first 20 minutes. They clanged jumpers, played loose possessions and gave up atypically easy baskets to Chattanooga. Unfocused play had Gregory yanking players to the bench.

Tech shot 10-for-29 in the first half, their most errant first half of shooting in their past seven games. Down 17-10 after a Mocs basket with 8:48 remaining in the half, the Jackets scored the next eight points to take their first lead since 6-5 at the game’s start. Tech later closed the half with five consecutive points on a jumper by Udofia and then a 3-pointer by Jason Morris with the clock running down to go into halftime up 28-23.

The Jackets then pushed the lead to nine in the first two minutes of the second half and led by as many as 18.

“I thought Mfon and (center) Daniel (Miller) in the first half were the two guys that did a great job,” Gregory said. “I think as we moved into the second half, maybe the younger guys realized, Hey, we’ve got a game tonight.”

Forward Robert Carter recorded the second double-double of his career with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Forward Marcus Georges-Hunt led with 16 points. Miller had seven points, eight rebounds, four assists, three blocks and no turnovers. Morris gave 17 valuable minutes off the bench, finishing with nine points.

“They weren’t real sharp and they still won, which is a complement to (Gregory),” Shulman said.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

47 comments Add your comment

Happy Stinger

January 2nd, 2013
9:20 pm

first so what

White&Gold

January 2nd, 2013
9:21 pm

10-2 is 10-2. Real play starts Saturday. Reggie Johnson isn’t playing so that should help us down low.

dry dirt road

January 2nd, 2013
9:34 pm

10-2 good record to begin conference play, Tech strong this season

Stephen CC

January 2nd, 2013
9:36 pm

Let’s do our best applying what we learn from each game experience to the next one. We have the potential to be a really good team, but really good teams are built one game at a time. Don’t let the wins go to your heads, but take the opportunity to give it all you’ve got. Go Jackets!!!

ToeMeetsLeather

January 2nd, 2013
9:45 pm

This team is deep, talented and young. If Poole can step in next year at PG, TECH could make a deep NCAAT run. The improvement CBG has brought to GaTech basketball in such a short period of time is very impressive. Excellent ball movement, strong defense, high percentage shot selection and a commitment to rebounding has brought basketball back to the Flats. Thanks coach!

GTBuzz85

January 2nd, 2013
9:47 pm

Agree. I will take 10-2. Plus, we are fun to watch again. Defense. Team work. Intensity. Disciplined. Looking forward to Saturday.

Paul in NH

January 2nd, 2013
10:21 pm

GT’s improvement this year over the last 2 years is obvious and they have had comfortable wins against some poor teams. Against the 3 real teams on the schedule, GT is only 1-2 (win over Saint Mary’s). I expect GT to start 2-3 at best in the conference and then we will start to see what they are made of – .500 in the ACC should be a good goal for this year.

Guru

January 2nd, 2013
10:39 pm

LMAO at acc louisville kicking uf ass

SteveW

January 2nd, 2013
10:42 pm

Gregory’s done a great job recruiting, and Hewitt left some talent. Techs a tournament team tis season, and even better next season. Next season could be special, look at the roster. 94+ guys all over the place from espns rankings.

SteveW

January 2nd, 2013
10:43 pm

I think tech finishes above .500 in the conference, but the first 4 or 5 games are killer.

GTGirl

January 2nd, 2013
10:55 pm

Bring on the ‘Canes! Go Jackets!

NOVAJacket

January 2nd, 2013
11:02 pm

Looking at 17 or more wins this year, rebuilding the program nicely.

Home Crowd

January 2nd, 2013
11:35 pm

@Paul NH- the other quality win was against UGA. So against St. Mary’s and UGA…not bad considering. GT was also up on Illinois on the road until less than 3 minutes to play before Illinois hit 4 three’s in a row and took game. That game was dominated by GT for only Illinois to steal it away w/ red hot 3 point shooting in the last 3 minutes. Tech is alot better than most think.

That Dude Says...

January 2nd, 2013
11:44 pm

@ Home Crowd… I hate to break it to you but Tech’s win over UGA is FAR from a quality win. UGA is like 5-7 so far. I’m not a Yellow Jacket or a Dog fan but UGA certainly is not a quality win this season.

Paul in NH

January 2nd, 2013
11:45 pm

UGA a quality win? Have you seen UGA play?

Buzzzed

January 2nd, 2013
11:54 pm

I will happily take .500 in ACC play this year. I hope they can accomplish that.

Unbiased Sometimes

January 3rd, 2013
12:19 am

UGA is garbage….just stop. Now as glad as I am we are 10-2 I won’t judge this team until ACC play.

Veteran Fan

January 3rd, 2013
12:47 am

This was easily a trap game with our very young team looking ahead to Miami on Saturday! Coach got them going by emphasizing defense(UT was stuck on 17 for a long time). Miller began to dominate the inside and Udofia and Morris shut down the perimeter! We also got our running game going which led to some very spectacular dunks and passing! Very good second half. Margin would have been greater but UT coach did a great job and kept his players focused to the very end. ACC begins and I think we can beat every team but Duke(at Cameron)! .500 in the conference should get us a tournament bid and then look out as our youngsters will have a season under their belts! Go Jackets!

5150 UOAD

January 3rd, 2013
1:02 am

McCamish is becoming a nice new home.

This is not a good basketball team right now...

January 3rd, 2013
3:07 am

Of course I don’t expect most here to acknowledge it. By the way, GT’s last lead against Illinois was lost at the 6 minute mark. We also scored 4 points over the last 7 minutes of that game. GT did not dominate that game. GT’s biggest lead was 6 points, in the first half, and the largest lead in the second half was 4.

We have a decent, not great but decent, pg in Udofia but we have no quality depth. To compound that our SG production is inconsistent at best and will be a serious liability against better teams. Of our bigs, they’ve relied too much on physically outclassing their opponents, similar to last year. Only holsey has shown the ability to post up in good position consistently. Both Miller and Carter are pushed out too easily and it causes them to miss looks that should be fairly easy.

Right now we’re about 7 deep. Udofia, Reed, Hunt, Carter, Miller, Holsey, and Morris with two more, Bolden and Royal who will play more then either are ready for at the moment. Neither of the Pooles are ready for ACC play and will likely only be emergency type players.

Our schedule has done us no favors as not only does it put more pressure to get quality wins in the ACC to make the dance, it has not prepared us for ACC play.

GTPhenom

January 3rd, 2013
5:09 am

And I thoroughly disagree “this is not a good basketball team right now . . .” We may end up not being a good basketball team this year, but that is far from determined. I have a serious question. This time last year, we were a 7-7 team, then ended up only going 4-12 in conference play afterwards. This team is 10-2, played a VERY similar schedule to last year, had no home to speak of, and very little talent last year (losing GR Jr. for most of the season also wrecked a great deal of talent).

This year, this team has a great deal more talent than last year, and an actual home court to play on. So do you think that this team will NOT win more games in ACC play? Possible, but all trends, level of play, level of talent, and overall record are already much better than last year. So do you think that we are only going to improve by ONE game in ACC play with all of that going for us? If so, then hey, I guess we’ll see who is right at the end of the season.

But I for one think that with a new home stadium, a much more talented roster, and a team playing much better than last year that this team will win more than five games in ACC play, and will end up over .500 on the season. And if this team get’s to, let’s say seven wins in ACC play, then we end up 17-13, and that puts us in a great position for a high NIT berth, more than many thought this season. If we win nine games, and go 9-9 in ACC play, 19-11 is arguably enough, assuming we get a marquee win in the ACC schedule, to get us into the big dance. So maybe we aren’t very good. But I think the trends of the season, and the way this team is playing tends to say otherwise.

drew

January 3rd, 2013
5:48 am

The main things I’m impressed with are the discipline and teamwork, and that goes straight to coaching. Regardless of their record this year, I think the team is in good hands. CBG seems to have the players attention. I know they haven’t played anybody yet, but this team passes the eyeball test. Go .500 in ACC play and they’re 19-11, and at least on the bubble, which would exceed my expectations this year. Good to see GT basketball relevant again. The embarrassment of the last few years under CPH are finally fading.

ToeMeetsLeather

January 3rd, 2013
7:34 am

@Phenom, you are correct about all trends pointing up and it is a good thing with Syr, Pitt, NDame and UL coming into the league shortly. Can you imagine Blewitt going against these guys? Thank goodness we don’t have to witness that nightmare.

I think most everyone is overestimating the ACC competition this year. As someone stated, Duke is the only team you can chaulk up as an L, and who knows, their three point shooting may be off that night(we only play them once). Every other game is a toss-up, I’m not sold on NCState yet. Hold serve at home and steal one or two on the road, and this could be a year to remember(in a good way for a change). It all starts Saturday.

Iluvnutella

January 3rd, 2013
8:07 am

.500 conference record is a realistic goal…I think it gets us in the Big Dance THIS year….shoot for the stars and hit the moon. Im okay with that.

GTJACKET

January 3rd, 2013
8:10 am

The loss to Illinois was directly related to losing Udofia to the ankle injury. We seem to be improving every game. Miller has great hands and can really play defense. Carter is very athletic. Georges-Hunt might be the best player. G-H wants the ball when we need the points and so far he delivers Kam has never been out of position for a shot, while in the paint (at least that is his thought). This team and coaching staff is such an improvement over what we had.

Almost every possesion has had multiple passes. We are seeing a lot of zone and starting to hit some outside shots and also learning to get it to the bigs down low. It is great to see the ball going through the bigs on most possessions. Something that didn’t happen under Hewitt.

And finally, we are playing very tough man defense. It will be interesting to see how our defense stands up against more athletic ACC teams. I think this team will finish in the top half of the conference and make the tournament. Go Jackets

Burdell

January 3rd, 2013
8:12 am

Georgia is only a few spots ahead of Fordham at #230 in the RPI.

Reebok

January 3rd, 2013
8:20 am

10 wins in the bank, probably need 20 to make the dance. It would be great to see GT slip back into the tourney this year.

GT

January 3rd, 2013
8:24 am

Good coaching is so simple but so amazing to watch when it is working. Just look at the Tech bench, it looks professional, the resumes are there for intellengent discussion not recruiting. It all starts there and like Gregory says, you beat the teams you are suppose to beat. Night and day difference from the last group of guys.

jambee3

January 3rd, 2013
9:11 am

I like Morris. He should be starting. Big, physical, and looks to be back to his freshman form on the 3’s.

Honest and Frank Discussion

January 3rd, 2013
9:55 am

“Tech won its sixth game in a row. Aside from the win over Georgia on Dec. 4, none of the other six wins constitute any considerable achievement. According to realtimerpi.com, the highest RPI ranking of any of the other five teams Wednesday was Fordham at No. 248.”

Uhh, beating uga was not any considerable achievement either.

juvenal

January 3rd, 2013
10:21 am

good D, fewer TOs, overall better FTs, ?NIT?—–very little downside, great in a new coaching staff—-just hope the new AD doesn’t give a huge salary increase & long term extension, keep CBG motivated……..

wreckbone

January 3rd, 2013
10:57 am

ACC middle of the pack will be competitive this year. UVA Maryland and NC State and UNC look good. Hope to win the series against Fla State, Clemson and Miami this year. I think we are better than those teams. We will see Saturday! the thing I like is the solid defense. also, no stupid turnovers on OOB throw ins. Good ball movement and off the ball movement on offense (something Hewitt did not have) our FG defense is up big time. Chattanooga was a really good rebounding team with +7 on the glass per game (even with LSU and Kansas in there) We killed them on the boards. Assist/turnover ratio is getting really good. This team is getting good. No great players…yet.

GT-06

January 3rd, 2013
12:20 pm

Get the ball down low to Kam Holsey and good things will happen.

Tech Troll 13

January 3rd, 2013
1:21 pm

There are several things I like. They’re playing aggressive defense without fouling, turnovers are down and assists are up, and a lot of offensive rebounds. I don’t want to get carried away before conference play, but the future is bright. I just don’t know if it will be this year or next.

UGA = Yawn

January 3rd, 2013
1:56 pm

9 missed free throws is just too many. Seems like this has carried over from Hewitt’s teams. When you win by 15-20, it isn’t a big issue. When you’re playing in an ACC game that is close (within a few points) – it will decide whether we win or lose. Pls practice!!

JM

January 3rd, 2013
2:01 pm

Go Jackets.

Glad to be at 10-2 and could have been 11-1. I good start to the season.

This first ACC game is very important

305Jacket

January 3rd, 2013
3:09 pm

Miami is a very good team, ranked 10 and 12 in the 2 most commonly used RPIs. This will be a huge win for the program to defend home court against an NCAAT team in our first ACC game. Hopefully we can pull this off, with Reggie out their biggest strength (frontcourt depth) will be diminished.

yeller bug

January 3rd, 2013
3:29 pm

Agree with UGA Yawn—still missing too many free throws—most often the first one which shows a lack of concentration—will need every basket in ACC play but it is soooooooooooo great to see us perform the fundamentals again—words are inadequate to express how bad things were in CPH’s final years.

My brother went to NCSU and there was a game between Tech and State in Raleigh (CPH’s last year? not sure)—anyway we joked about how bad each team was as both teams had over 40 turnovers—nearly 90 for the game! It was a close game as Tech finally won the TO battle to secure the loss and I just couldn’t watch GT B-ball anymore. Hitting people in the back of the head with passes, can’t inbounds the ball (nearly lost to NCSU at home over that), no blocking out on shots….CBG was the right choice to turn GT around so a well done to him. The future looks promising and there’s even hope for this year.

Dayton was 8th...

January 3rd, 2013
7:06 pm

In their conference in W/L during the time that Gregory was there. He didn’t take over bad program, and in fact inherited a very good situation. Gregory was a middle of the road A-10 coach. Hewitt would have been lost, even more so, in the new ACC, but Gregory is just as in over his head. Hopefully GT will be able to unload him after year 4, although year 5 is more likely because of the drop in buy out, and get a coach who can compete.

GTPhenom

January 3rd, 2013
8:03 pm

10-2 “Dayton was 8th.” Are you Blewitt Fan in disguise, or just a disgruntled idiot who hates to see GT succeed.

wreckbone

January 3rd, 2013
9:36 pm

Don’t care what sort of fan you are. You could not be more wrong in my opinion. We are playing solid D….the offense is coming along. You can call Gregory anything you want. He is already showing he can recruit. Two great classes already. I don’t think Dayton could take advantage of his recruiting talent. Even before we get going we got chumps talking about unloading and buyouts and how the coach can’t compete. Guess some people can’t look forward to anything. I see vast improvement. The thing we need is people to penetrate and break down defenses. I hope Stacey Poole can be that guy (just has to finish those drives). He’s quick, not as quick as his brother, but quick. If he or someone other than Udofia can do that (Georges-Hunt?), we can make the dance this year. Moving forward, 6 wins NIT. 10/11 wins NCAA…. I don’t understand why you think Gregory can’t compete.

He can't compete because....

January 3rd, 2013
10:21 pm

Nothing he has done either at Dayton or at GT supports the idea that he can. Sorry but a 10-2 record against an absolutely garbage OOC doesn’t change that. Do you remember the last time we played an ACC team? Or last year’s team in general? It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t all because of lack of talent. That team could, and should have done better. Not NCAA or even NIT, but certainly not the level of play we saw to end the season.

You see vast improvement because you’re looking for it. Last year we finished ugly against ACC play. Now we have 12 games mostly against very bad teams and so of course we look better. But come ACC play certain players will be liabilities and a lack of quality depth will show up.

Jacket Detective

January 4th, 2013
7:41 am

@He can’t.
U r wrong.
Program clearly on an upswing.
Recruting plus coaching.
Wonder what you’re real motivation is.

Jacket Detective

January 4th, 2013
7:42 am

your instead of you’re.

The New ACC

January 4th, 2013
8:20 am

When playing in the ACC, you need as many nonconference wins as possible to make the NCAA. With a 10-2 record, this means that if GA Tech can at least maintain home court wins, the NCAA tournament is within reach.

GTBob

January 4th, 2013
8:20 am

Something to cheer for whe you have nothingelse!

This is not a good basketball team right now...

January 5th, 2013
6:39 pm

You still see vast improvement? Looked just like the last time we played miami.