Starting Five: Georgia Tech (16-13, 6-11 ACC) at Boston College (14-16, 6-11 ACC)
Preview of today's Georgia Tech's regular-season finale today in Chestnut Hill
March 8, 2013
By Jon Cooper
Georgia Tech wraps up its 2012-13 regular season with a road trip to Massachusetts and a match-up with Boston College. Tip-off at Conte Forum is set for noon.
The Yellow Jackets may not have needed a plane to get to Boston, as they were probably still riding the high from their momentous 71-69 upset of No. 6 Miami on Wednesday night at the BankUnited Center. Marcus Georges-Hunt's tip-in of his own miss at the buzzer capped a game-closing 20-9 run over the final 9:59 and provided the third and final lead change over a wild last 5:00 minutes in which also saw three ties. It was only the second basket of the game for Georges-Hunt, who entered the game as Tech's leading scorer. The Jackets trailed by 11 at the break, and by as many as 13. Chris Bolden led three double-digit Yellow Jackets with 21 points on 8-for-18 shooting, 4-for-8 from three. Daniel Miller added 17 and Robert Carter, Jr. had 12. No other Jacket had more than six points. Tech forced six second-half turnovers and turned them in 11 points, outscoring the Hurricanes, 11-3 off giveaways.
The Eagles also won on the road their last time out, beating Clemson, 68-61, Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum. Freshman Olivier Hanlan scored 21 of his 24 points in the second half of a game that had nine ties but only one lead change. That lead change was a big one, however, coming with 12 minutes to play during an Eagles' 12-0 run which gave them a 55-46 lead. B.C. survived a late run by the Tigers, who cut the lead to three with 1:25 left, but Hanlan, who hit 12 of 14 from the line, scored seven points in the final minute to seal the deal. B.C.'s defense limited the Tigers to sub-40 percent shooting in the second half and to 18.8 shooting from three (3-16) on the game, 1-for-9 in the second 20.
Today's game will be only the 16th meeting between the schools in a series that began in 1946, then resumed in 1980, and became annual in 2004, once B.C. joined the ACC. The Yellow Jackets hold a 9-6 overall lead but are only 2-4 at Conte Forum, having lost four of the last five meetings.
The game can be seen on the ACC Network (WATL in Atlanta), with Dwayne Ballen and Cory Alexander calling the action. It also can be heard on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM), with Wes Durham and Randy Waters calling the action and via Satellite Radio (Sirius Ch. 136, XM Ch. 193). Tech fans also can follow the game online on ESPN3 or Ramblinwreck.com.
And now, the starting five for today's game.
The Last Time We Met: Georgia Tech's bigs came up big, but the Yellow Jackets came up just short, falling 56-52 last Feb. 29th at Conte Forum. Center Daniel Miller had 13 and forward Kammeon Holsey chipped in 12, but Tech couldn't overcome 37.7 percent for the game. The cold-shooting didn't hurt early on, as there were four ties, but B.C. would go on a 14-0 run and take an 11-point lead into the half. The deficit hit 17 with 11 minutes to play, but then the Jackets started their comeback. They pulled to with two, 54-52, with 2:21 left but could not equalize, going 0-for-5 down the stretch. Senior Nick Foreman hit a pair of threes during the comeback, but the Jackets were only 4-for-18 from three (22.2 percent) overall. Meanwhile B.C., the poorest shooting team in the ACC, shot 50 percent in the first half (12-for-24), and hit 5-of-11 from three (45.5 percent). They shot 41.7 percent from three (10-for-24) for the game. Tech took only four foul shots the entire game, making two of them (1-for-2 each half).
Tech Trivia: Georgia Tech's win Wednesday night at No. 6 Miami came almost nine years to the day of their last road win over a top-10 team. Who did the Yellow Jackets beat that night?
Let Three-dom Ring: The Yellow Jackets have made the three-point shot a major weapon down the stretch. Over the last five games, Georgia Tech has hit more threes than their opponents four times and were even once. In that stretch they've made 32 threes, twice hitting eight threes, two off their ACC season-single-game best, while opponents have made 23. In the previous six games they'd outshot opponents from three only once, getting out-three'd 36-28. Tech's 44.4 percent shooting from behind the arc at Miami (8-for-18) was its third-best three-point shooting day this season and second-best in ACC play, behind only their 10-for-20 day on Jan. 26th against Wake Forest.
Down To The Wire: While coaches always say every possession counts, that's been true when it comes to the Georgia Tech-Boston College series. In 10 meetings since B.C. joined the ACC in 2006, six have been decided by four-or-fewer points, with four of those being one-possession games. Close games were the rule even before the schools were conference foes. Four of those five games before also were decided by four points or fewer. The most memorable may have been the March 21, 2004 thriller in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. Tech won, 57-54, on its way to the NCAA Championship game. The biggest spread in the series is 14 points, with Georgia Tech winning 74-60 on May 4, 2007 at the Thrillerdome and 103-89 on March 17, 1996 in the second round of the Southeast Regional in Orlando.
Sowing The Seeds: There is more than just bragging rights at stake in today's game. The winner of the game earns the eighth seed in next week's ACC Tournament. Although there is a good chance the teams, currently tied, could end up facing each other, there also is a chance of the loser today dropping, as both Wake Forest and Clemson enter the final weekend only one game back. The Yellow Jackets hold the edge on Wake Forest, but not Clemson. Should the teams end up in a three-way tie, the Jackets would fall to 10th. The difference between a No. 8 seed and a 10 is the difference between playing Boston College at noon on Thursday or playing 7:00 p.m. against the seventh seed, either Florida State or Maryland. The 10th seed isn't preferable but actually may not be the worst thing for Tech, as the Jackets beat Maryland, 78-68 on Feb. 27th and nearly beat Florida State, losing a heartbreaking 56-54 loss at the buzzer. Both games were at McCamish Pavilion.
The Sixth Man: Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory is on the verge of a milestone. His next win will be career win No. 200. Gregory, who won 172 of those games in his eight seasons at Dayton, is 199-127 for his career, an average of 19.9 wins per season ... Georgia Tech will have seen both ends of the weather spectrum by the time this week is over. The Jackets went from Atlanta to Miami on Wednesday, where it was shorts weather -- a high of 79 degrees. They'll conclude the weekend by bundling up and flying north to Massachusetts, where the high is expected to be 41. That's 3,042 air miles logged -- 1,208 back and forth to Miami, 1,874 to and from Massachusetts ... Georgia Tech's three conference road wins this season are the most in five years, since 2007-08, when Tech went 4-4 ... Tech Trivia: The No. 19 Yellow Jackets knocked off No. 3 Duke, 76-68, on March 3, 2004 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Jarrett Jack had 15 to lead four double-digit scorers. The win snapped Tech's 15-game losing streak against Duke and ended the Blue Devils' 41-game winning streak at Cameron ... Tech has shot at least 50 percent in two of the last three games, giving them three such games in conference play and six games on the season. They've also scored at least 70 points in two of the last three, giving them nine 70-plus-point games this year ... Today's color analyst Cory Alexander has become something of a good-luck charm for Georgia Tech. The Jackets are six-for-six in games in which the former University of Virginia guard has worked. The Jackets had similar success with Alexander around during his playing career, going 8-4 against the Cavaliers -- although the guard did laugh last, winning the final four meetings, including all three his senior year.
GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 10.2 ppg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Daniel Miller, 7.4 rpg
BOSTON COLLEGE PPG: 66.6/65.3 ppg.
BOSTON COLLEGE Player To Watch: Ryan Anderson - The 6-8, 220-pound sophomore forward is in the top 10 in both scoring (15.1 ppg, sixth) and rebounding (8.2 rpg, fourth) and is coming off a big game at Clemson, where he had 18 points on 7-for-16 shooting, with 11 rebounds (five offensive, six defensive). He had a streak of 16 straight double-digit scoring games snapped on Feb. 19 against Maryland, but has since averaged 14.5 points per game, including putting in 23 at Duke on Feb. 24th. Anderson nearly recorded a double-double (10 points, nine rebounds) in last year's game in Chestnut Hill, but has been held in check offensively by Georgia Tech, which has limited him to 15 points on 35.2 percent shooting (6-for-17), 16.7 from three (1-for-6). He was tough on the boards, grabbing 20 rebounds in the two games.