Starting Five: Georgia Tech at Florida State
Preview of Saturday afternoon match-up between the Yellow Jackets (13-12, 3-9) and Seminoles (16-9, 6-7)
By Jon Cooper | The Good Word
Georgia Tech looks to get one on the road, visiting Florida State in a Wednesday night match-up. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee.
The Yellow Jackets were unable to make it back-to-back wins on Saturday afternoon, shooting a season-low 34.5 percent in falling to Clemson, 66-52, at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Charles Mitchell had 11 points and grabbed a career-best 19 rebounds and Adam Smith added 12. The Jackets trailed 37-32 at the half but shot only 25 percent in the second half and were unable to close the gap. Tech trailed 48-46 with 8:30 to play, but back-to-back turnovers and 10 consecutive missed shots allowed the Tigers to go on a 16-4 run and pull away. The Jackets committed 13 turnovers to Clemson's six -- they were outscored 17-6 off them -- and had no answer for the Tigers inside, as the home team held a 40-20 edge in points in the paint and a 21-11 edge in second-chance points.
The Seminoles lost their second straight following a four-game winning streak, dropping a heart-breaking 67-65 decision to Miami at the Tucker Center. Devon Bookert had 14 and Xavier Rathan-Mayes added 12 for the Seminoles, who trailed 37-26 at the break and by as much as 13 in the second half before forging a second-half comeback. FSU clamped down, holding Miami to 32 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes and had a chance to shoot for the lead in the final minute, but committed their 13th and final turnover. FSU was outshot 23-9 at the foul line and outscored 16-4 from there.
This game will be the 67th renewal of this series, which dates back to 1963. Georgia Tech trails 39-27 overall and is 10-20 in Tallahassee (7-13 at the Tucker Center). The Jackets will look to turn the tide of recent events, as they've lost 10 straight in the series and four straight at Tucker.
The game can be seen on the ACC Network, WATL in Atlanta, with Steve Martin and Cory Alexander calling the action. The game also will be streamed on ESPN3. It can be heard on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, WYAY (93.7 FM) and 680 The Fan (680 AM), with Brandon Gaudin and Randy Waters on the call. Fans also can get up-to-the-minute stats on RamblinWreck.com and the GT Gameday App.
And now, the Starting Five for tonight's game.
The Last Time We Met: Georgia Tech had its collective hearts broken last Valentine's Day at McCamish Pavilion, falling 57-53 to Florida State. Marcus Georges-Hunt had a team-high 17 for the Jackets. Tech trailed 32-23 at the break, but a 15-2 run right out of the locker room gave the Jackets a four-point lead. They led 53-48 with 3:31 to go, but could not put the game away, as they missed their last five shots and both free throw attempts, opening the door for FSU to score the game's final nine points. Cold shooting hurt the Jackets all day, as they shot 35.6 percent for the game, 20 percent from three and just over 50 percent from the line. Tech did a good job creating turnovers, forcing 18 FSU miscues but was only able to gain 19 points off them.
Second To None: Charles Mitchell didn't take well to being the second-place rebounder in the ACC and has responded with a vengeance. Mitchell dropped a tenth-of-a-point behind North Carolina's Brice Johnson (10.2-10.1), following his two-rebound game against Miami on Feb. 7. That game gave him 15 total rebounds in a three-game span (at Syracuse on Jan. 30, vs. Duke on Feb. 2, and vs. Miami) but also served to wake him up. Chuck has grabbed no fewer than 15 rebounds in each of the two games since the Miami game, including a career-high 19 at Clemson on Saturday. He's been especially active off the offensive glass, pulling in 13 -- seven against Wake Forest and six against Clemson. He had 14 over the previous five games. The current two-game stretch is the most productive such stretch off the glass and offensive glass of Mitchell's career -- three times this season he's had 29 total rebounds had 11 offensive rebounds in back-to-back games. Mitchell enters tonight's game ahead of second-place Devin Thomas of Wake Forest, 10.7 to 10.3. He's also second in offensive rebounds at 4.0 per game, behind only Syracuse's Tyler Roberson (4.3).
Tech Trivia: Florida State guard Malik Beasley scored in double-digits in each of the first 21 games of his college career. That's five games short of the ACC record, set and still held by a Georgia Tech player. Who is that Yellow Jacket record-holder?
Downtown Disconnector: Georgia Tech has struggled from the three-point line of late as they've hit two-or-fewer three-point shots and have shot 20.0 or lower in three of the last four games. Tech went 2-for-19 against Duke on Feb. 2, then, after shooting a healthy 7-for-14 against Miami, made only two of 10 against Wake Forest on Feb. 10 and shot 1-for-11 at Clemson. That's 15 percent (6-for-40) in those three games. Prior to this cold snap, the Jackets had only two games all season where they made fewer than three three-point shots. Of course, it may not be just them, as over the last three games, Tech's opponents have shot only 21.4 percent from downtown, and that's with Miami going 4-for-12. Take away the Canes and opponents' three-point shooting shrinks to 16.6 percent, with Wake and Clemson combining to shoot 5-for-30.
M-Free-H: Georgia Tech may have trouble getting to the foul line, as the Yellow Jackets have been outscored 222-155 in ACC play and outshot 296-221 -- yes, they've attempted one fewer foul shot than opponents have made! -- but Marcus Georges-Hunt has been the exception. Georges-Hunt is third in the ACC in free throw attempts (136, 6.6 per game) and is eighth in free throw percentage (81.9). Only Cat Barber of NC State (224 FTAs, 86.6), Grayson Allen of Duke (162, 84.6) and Michael Young of Pittsburgh (140, 81.4) can claim spots in the top 10 in the conference in both categories.
The Sixth Man: Charles Mitchell, Georgia Tech's leader in double-doubles -- he's tied for the ACC lead with 14 -- has a chance for a unique double-milestone tonight. Should he score six points and grab eight rebounds he would reach 1,000 career points and 900 career rebounds...Adam Smith's 6-for-6 day from the line against Clemson was his second 6-for-6 FTM game in the last six. Those games are the second-best perfect-free-throw-shooting day of his career, surpassed only by his 10-for-10 performance on Dec. 21, 2012, against William & Mary for UNC Wilmington...Tech Trivia Answer: Stephon Marbury set the record with 26 straight double-digit-scoring games during the 1995-96 season...Georgia Tech continues to be superb on the boards, as they outrebounded Clemson, 39-37, making it nine times in 12 ACC games that they won the battle on the boards and 20 of 25 on the season. They've been tied twice...Saturday's game was only the third in ACC play and the seventh all season in which Georgia Tech was outscored in second-chance points (21-10). The Jackets are averaging 14.4 second-chance points per game, up nearly a bucket from last season.
GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER (ACC): Marcus Georges-Hunt, 17.8 ppg
FLORIDA STATE SCORING LEADER (ACC): Malik Beasley, 16.8 ppg
GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Charles Mitchell, 9.7 rpg
FLORIDA STATE REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Dwayne Bacon, 6.1 rpg
GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Marcus Georges-Hunt, 3.4 apg
FLORIDA STATE ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Xavier Rathan-Mayes, 3.8 apg
OPP. PPG/ACC: 71.5/74.5 ppg
OPP. PPG/ACC: 72.8/75.6
FLORIDA STATE Player To Watch, Malik Beasley: The 6-5, 196-pound freshman two-guard from Alpharetta (St. Francis High School) has been sensational all season long. He's right at the top among ACC freshmen in scoring and rebounding and is among the ACC leaders in scoring, where his 16.7 ppg rank seventh, and his 5.3 rebounds per game are 24th. He's shooting 49.0 percent, ninth in the conference, and is seventh in free throw shooting at 82.8 percent. Beasley also can hit the three, converting at 40.4 percent. Defensively, Beasley is a beast on the boards, as evidenced by his 102 defensive rebounds (4.1 DRPG), while his quick hands have resulted in 26 steals. He ranks second on the team in both categories. Beasley also is tough to get off the floor as his 29.8 minutes lead the team. The two-time ACC Rookie of the Week, is tops all-time for FSU first-year players with his 16.7 ppg.