1. There wasn’t a lot of mystery to Wednesday’s game. Georgia Tech hung in and played fairly well, but didn’t have enough playmaking to match N.C. State and stay in the game. In the final six or seven minutes, the Wolfpack made stops and hurt Tech in transition, making five consecutive shots at one point. That’s what’s going to generally happen when a team ranked 20th in the country and is the preseason conference favorite plays at home against a team picked to finish ninth.
“This is probably the third game against a high-quality opponent that we got the game into the last eight minutes,” coach Brian Gregory said. Cal and Illinois were the other two instances.
Tech had a small chance to win Wednesday, but it would have taken everyone on his game and few slip-ups defensively, and that didn’t happen. Marcus Georges-Hunt had a tough game (2-for-10 from the field), there wasn’t a ton of help from the bench (16 points) and the 3-point defense could have been better (7-for-16, including 4-for-9 by Scott Wood).
“Marcus, I thought, had some looks that he’s been consistently knocking down,” Gregory said.
Said center Daniel Miller, “Scott Wood hit those threes at the end and gave ‘em a little spark and we just weren’t able to match that.”
2. Tech shot 27-for-73 – that’s 46 missed shots. That is a lot. That’s only nine fewer shots than N.C. State actually took. (The Wolfpack went to the line 29 times, making 20. Tech had 16 free throws, making 12.)
Some were pretty makeable – Mfon Udofia was 2-for-8 from 3-point range and had at least a couple that I thought were going in, and Hunt is not a 2-for-10 shooter. But the Jackets, it seemed, had trouble getting open shots much of the night. The eight assists on the 27 baskets is indicative.
3. Solomon Poole showed some flash in his six minutes. He wasn’t great defensively, but created on offense and gave Tech a little bit of a spark. Interestingly, Pierre Jordan, who typically subs for Udofia, didn’t play at all in the second half. Gregory said he thought Poole might be able to pressure the ball better and also just wanted to see how he could do.
“He hasn’t played any real minutes yet,” Gregory said of Poole. “Pierre’s still a big part of what we do.”
4. Miller was probably Tech’s best player – season-high 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting, 10 rebounds, three assists, two blocks, no turnovers. He took more shots going to the basket, it appeared, rather than his fadeaway. He also played most of the game with five stitches in his chin after taking an elbow from C.J. Leslie.
“We need that,” Gregory said. “I hate to say it, we need that every night from him.”
Said Miller, “They were points that we needed, and I just felt like I was the guy at the time to do it.”
5. I don’t think you could call the third game of the ACC season a “must win,” but if the Jackets don’t handle Virginia Tech at McCamish Saturday, they’re staring an 0-5 start in the face, as trips to Duke and North Carolina follow.
Thanks for reading. Link to game story here.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog