Tech’s next test: No. 20 N.C. State

In its ACC opener Saturday, Georgia Tech didn’t respond to the challenge that Miami presented. The Hurricanes played a physical style, the Yellow Jackets backed down and the result was an easy win for Miami.

“We want to be aggressive, and we weren’t aggressive enough on offense on Saturday afternoon,” Tech coach Brian Gregory said.

The next step of Tech’s 18-game journey through the ACC will offer the Jackets the opportunity to address their shortcomings against Miami, but at the same time will demand even more from the Jackets. Wednesday, Tech will go on the road to play No. 20 N.C. State, the preseason favorite to win the ACC. If the Jackets’ effort and level of play aren’t considerably better, the Wolfpack could run the Jackets out of PNC Arena (formerly the RBC Center).

“They can hurt you in a lot of different ways,” Gregory said. “We’re going to have to play extremely well for 40 minutes.”

A 6 ½-minute lapse was enough to sink Tech against Miami. Over that stretch at the end of the first half, Tech played without forward Robert Carter and center Daniel Miller because of foul trouble. Poor shot selection and defensive breaches enabled Miami to break open a game tied at 17 and finish on a 16-6 run. The Jackets never threatened in the second half, ending their six-game winning streak.

“On offense, we didn’t have a lot of shots falling,” forward Kammeon Holsey said. “It kind of affected (the team’s play) a little bit on defense.”

Against Miami, Tech combined poor shooting with impatience to make 17 of 52 shots for a season-low 32.7 percent.

Said Gregory, “You can’t take wild shots in this league, difficult shots early in the shot clock.”

Against most of Tech’s nonconference opponents, moments of inattention could be overcome by the talent advantage that the Jackets enjoyed. The ACC opener was an education for freshmen Marcus Georges-Hunt, Chris Bolden and Carter. None played particularly well against the Hurricanes.

“Pace, better players, everybody here can play,” said Carter, citing the differences he observed. “It’s just a better game. (But) we can play in it.”

Georges-Hunt and Carter lead the team in scoring at 11.2 and 9.8 points per game, respectively. Gregory didn’t think they and Bolden were overwhelmed by Miami but wants them to be aggressive with their offensive chances against N.C. State.

“I like the progress they’re making, their development,” Gregory said. “In this league, it’s hard sometimes to rely on freshmen, and that’s why our upperclassmen are so important to us.”

While Miami appears to be one of the most physical teams in the ACC, N.C. State punishes teams with its speed. The Wolfpack can convert missed shots or turnovers on the defensive end into transition baskets with fearsome efficiency. N.C. State leads the country in field-goal percentage at 53.1 percent, a reflection of the number of fast-break opportunities that it creates. Tech will need to find a way to slow down guard Lorenzo Brown, from Centennial High.

Said Gregory, “There’s not many faster in the open court than Brown.”

Miller, Carter and Holsey will have another test in the post. Wolfpack forwards Richard Howell (from Wheeler High), C.J. Leslie and T.J. Warren average a combined 41.9 points and 20.4 rebounds.

Last year, though, Tech managed to beat N.C. State in Raleigh, N.C., for its only road ACC win of the season, and then was within four points with four minutes to play in a 61-52 loss at Philips Arena. Gregory said the Jackets managed to beat N.C. State last year despite “a comedy of errors” in what was just the second ACC game of the season.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

14 comments Add your comment

JM

January 8th, 2013
8:45 am

This road game will be a tough one for the Jackets.

I hope they play like they did against Illinois.

Jim 70

January 8th, 2013
8:53 am

Need to keep the to’s down and hit some 3’s. even with the Miami game, I like what I see in these young jackets. Should be good for years to come.
Go jackets!

crackbaby

January 8th, 2013
9:22 am

The Wolfpack lost to Tech at home last year in a fairly surprising upset. They haven’t forgotten. Better buck up Jackets!

juvenal

January 8th, 2013
9:52 am

either Royal steps up or we recruit some more bigs…..

ToeMeetsLeather

January 8th, 2013
11:05 am

Now that I taken off my gold colored glasses, and dumped the cool-aid in the back yard, I am hoping that last Saturday was just a case of a senior laden team schooling a young team in how to play ACC ball. Miami is pretty good and should finish in the top tier of the conference. Was really hoping for a 3-3 start in league play, now a 2-4 start appears to be realistic with the schedule being downhill from that point forward.

I know the last five minutes were garbage time Saturday, but S. Poole at PG sure changed the tempo of the game for TECH’s offense. Hope CBG gets him on the court more in the next few weeks.

Paul in NH

January 8th, 2013
11:06 am

This is going to be a tough one. GT has a big match up problem with Leslie. I will be very surprised if the Wolfpack loses – they sure as heck don’t have Sidney on the bench.

Blowout #2 coming up....

January 8th, 2013
4:37 pm

And more of Gregory’s boring wannabe izzo style of play. Is there anyone who actually thinks that NCSU won’t be the better coached team?

Uh, NC State...

January 8th, 2013
4:56 pm

…wasn’t ranked in the pre-season Top 10 for nothin’…look for a whuppin’ on Tobacco Road, the first of at least 3 whuppins up there (though Wake really isn’t on Tabacco Road)…

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

January 8th, 2013
8:56 pm

Seems to me that CJ Leslie’s been playing for the pack for like 12 years now.

Paul in NH

January 8th, 2013
8:59 pm

Wake isn’t on Tobacco Road? Someone needs a history and geography lesson.
Wake Forest University was located in Wake Forest (N of downtown Raleigh, still in Wake County) until 1956 when they moved to Winston-Salem after being basically paid to move by the Reynolds Foundation. The Reynolds Foundation was established by RJ Reynolds – the founder of the eponymous tobacco company (manufacturers of Camel, Winston, Salem, etc)

MrPhoenix

January 9th, 2013
7:24 am

Is the game on TV? If so what channel and time.

Gee, Paul in RDU now in NH..

January 9th, 2013
7:59 am

…thanks for the geography lesson – but, I, too, went to college and grad school in NC and know the history of Wake being founded as a baptist “institute of labor” in Wake Forest, NC (hence the name Wake Forest – duh) – my intent was that after its move to Winston-Salem in the 1950’s it was no longer part of the research triangle part of what is now known in the ACC as “tobacco road”…but you decided to pic nits, and you were correct, technically.

Congratulations – and Wake has more Rhodes Scholars than Tech, too, just like UGA…

Alabama Jack

January 9th, 2013
12:51 pm

Duke is Puke and wake is Fake – NC State is the one to hate…

And nothing is finer...

January 9th, 2013
8:20 pm

…than to be for Carolina…