Starting Five: No. 10 Georgia Tech vs. No. 2 4/4 Virginia
A preview of Thursday night’s ACC Tournament quarterfinal game between the Yellow Jackets (19-13, 9-10) and Cavaliers (24-6, 13-5)
By Jon Cooper | The Good Word
- After storming back from 18 down in the second half to take a stunning 88-85 overtime victory over Clemson, No. 10 Georgia Tech looks to continue its march in the ACC Tournament taking on second-seeded and No. 4/4 Virginia in a quarterfinal match-up. Tipoff at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., is set for 7 p.m.
Tonight's game will be the 10th time the teams have met in ACC Tournament play but the first time since 2008. Georgia Tech holds a slim 5-4 lead and has won the last two meetings. This is the second time the teams have met in the second round. Virginia won the only previous such matchup, 96-67, as the second-seed over the sixth-seeded Jackets in 1983, at the Omni in Atlanta. The Jackets won the lone regular-season matchup, upending the No. 4/4 Cavaliers, 68-64, Jan. 9 at McCamish Pavilion.
The game can be seen locally on WATL in Atlanta, with Tim Brando and Dan Bonner calling the action and nationally on ESPN2, with Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas on the call. 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. You can hear the game (Virginia’s call) via satellite radio, on Sirius and XM (Channel 81 on each). Fans also can get up-to-the-minute stats on Ramblinwreck.com and the GT Gameday App.
And now, here’s the starting five for tonight’s ACC quarterfinal.
The Last Time We Met (in the ACC Tournament)...: No. 7 Georgia Tech used a devastating three-point attack to rout No. 10 Virginia, 94-76, on March 13, 2008, in its ACC Tournament opener. Anthony Morrow and Jeremis Smith each went for 18 to lead five double-digit scorers, as the Yellow Jackets canned a school-ACC-Tournament record 13 three-point shots. Morrow also set a school-Tournament-record hitting six threes on 6-for-9 shooting from behind the arc, and Moe Miller added 14 points going 4-for-5 from downtown. The Jackets shot a blazing 57.9 percent for the game, 54.2 from three and 87.3 percent from the line. Smith’s layup with 1:14 left in the half gave the Jackets a 44-42 halftime lead in a game that saw 14 first-half lead changes. The Cavs fought back to take a five-point lead but a GT 17-5 run, capped by an Alade Aminu dunk, broke the game open and Tech cruised home.
Deja Vu: Wednesday night’s second half followed a familiar script for both Georgia Tech and Clemson. As on Feb. 23, the Jackets clawed back from a double-digit deficit, this time from five points further down (18 vs. 13) and with eight fewer minutes with which to work (8:46 vs. 16:57). They did it pretty much the same way. Offensively they stopped turning the ball over (two turnovers in the final 25 minutes, after 10 in the first half, they had eight in the first then five on Feb. 23). Tech guards Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith also took over, scoring a combined 38 points, with Smith hitting three big threes, and Georges-Hunt leading the way at the line. In the first matchup they had 27 combined points, Smith hit three three-pointers and MGH had a team-leading four FTMs. Defensively, the Jacketds shut down the Tigers offensively, by frustrating Clemson’s All-ACC First-Teamer Jaron Blossomgame, who put up and identical second-half shooting lines -- 2-for-8, 0-1 from three. He did score eight more points Wednesday 10, plus 3 in OT, vs. 5) by getting to the line seven times vs. one in the first game. He missed only one attempt, but that proved crucial, as it kept the door open for the Jackets to tie on their final possession.
Tech Trivia: Who holds the Georgia Tech ACC Tournament single-game record for blocked shots?
Crashin’ The Party: Georgia Tech has been a very good rebounding team all season (third in the ACC with both 39.1 rpg and a plus-6.9 rebounding margin) and Wednesday night, the Jackets really flexed their muscles, dominating the glass, with a 46-28 overall edge. They really went to work on the offensive end. Tech, which entered the game third in the conference pulling down 13.2 ORBGs (23rd in the country), grabbed 19 to Clemson’s 11, and held a 12-5 advantage in the second half and overtime, That helped them to a 21-14 edge in second-chance points overall, 11-5 in the second half, including 4-0 in the extra session. Charles Mitchell and James White each grabbed five ORBs to lead the way. The duo had one fewer offensive board than the entire Clemson team, Quinton Stephens, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Nick Jacobs had two each. White’s five offensive rebounds marked the fifth time this season he had as many as five offensive rebounds in a game and only the second time in ACC play. The other game came against Virginia.
Frees Fallin’: Marcus Georges-Hunt made a living at the line Wednesday night and nearly re-wrote the entire Georgia Tech ACC Tournament record books. Georges-Hunt set school-Tournament records by taking 16 free throws and canning 15 of them. The previous marks had been 14 free throws attempted and 14 made, both set by Mark Price against Duke in 1985. Georges-Hunt missed only one attempt or he also would have tied Price for the school ACC Tournament record book for free throw percentage in a game. He was two FTMs shy of tying the all-time ACC Tournament record held by North Carolina’s Charlie Scott, who made 17 in the 1970 quarterfinals against Virginia.
Sixth Man: Georgia Tech is getting used to playing overtime in the ACC Tournament, as three of their last four games have required an extra 5:00. They’re 2-1 in those games and on Wednesday, evened the score with Clemson, who knocked them off in the second round of 2014. GT had lost its first three overtime Tournament games...Wednesday night’s 18-point second-half comeback was the biggest in the Brian Gregory Era and gave the Jackets 31 points worth of deficit overcome in second halves of the two games against Clemson. The 13-point deficit overcome on Feb. 23 at McCamish Pavilion had been the largest under Gregory. Tech’s comeback was the largest comeback in an ACC Tournament game since North Carolina came all the way back from 19 down against Miami in 2011...Tech Trivia Answer: Matt Geiger, who rejected nine shots in a 68-56 win by the No. 4 Jackets over the No. 5 Cavaliers in the 1992 Tournament...Georgia Tech took 19 second-half free throws, the same amount Clemson took for entire game, yet had only two in the first half and only two in overtime...Georgia Tech’s last seven games, during which they are 6-1, have been decided by six-or-fewer points. Virginia has played only nine such games all season and are 4-5 in them.
VIRGINIA SCORING LEADER: Malcolm Brogdon, 18.4 ppg
VIRGINIA SCORING LEADER (ACC): Malcolm Brogdon, 19,9 ppg
VIRGINIA REBOUNDING LEADER: Anthony Gill, 6.1 rpg
VIRGINIA REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Anthony Gill, 6.0 rpg
VIRGINIA ASSISTS LEADER: London Perrantes, 4.4 apg
VIRGINIA ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): London Perrantes, 4.3 apg
GEORGIA TECH PPG/ACC: 73.9/70.4 ppg
OPP. PPG/ACC: 71.0/71.9 ppg
VIRGINIA PPG/ACC: 70.7/67.4
OPP. PPG/ACC: 59.6/59.9
VIRGINIA Player To Watch - Malcolm Brogdon: The 6-5, 215-pound redshirt senior forward from Atlanta continues his remarkable final season. Brogdon is the first player in ACC history to win ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season (it’s his second straight DPOY) and he was named All-ACC First Team for the third straight season and All-Defensive Team for the second straight. His team-leading 18.4 ppg (fourth in the ACC) leads the Cavs -- it’s his third straight season leading UVA in scoring -- and is a career high. His 47.4 percent shooting, and 41.1 percent from three-point range also are career bests. From the line, he’s three 1/100ths of a point behind Roger Mason as the school’s all-time free throw percentage leader (.8685). Brogdon has 20 15-point games, including netting a team-high 19 the last time the Cavaliers and Jackets met on Jan. 9 at McCamish Pavilion (although he was only 8-for-20, 1-for-9 from three in the loss), and he averaged 19.9 ppg in conference play. The scoring, ACC scoring and 20-point games are the most for a Cavalier since Virginia’s last three-time First-Team All-ACC selection, Sean Singletary did so during the 2007-08 season. Brogdon, the Cavaliers first First-Team All-American since three-timer (1980-83) Ralph Sampson, leads current Cavaliers in scoring against Georgia Tech (12.3 ppg) and scoring in the ACC Tournament (14.8 in five games).