Ramblin' WREK Report

Monday Mornings from McCamish: 1/21

Welcome to a Tuesday edition of Monday Mornings from McCamish. This weekly segment will be released on Monday mornings (with the exception of holidays) throughout Georgia Tech’s Men’s Basketball 2013-14 season. We will revisit the previous week’s action as well as look ahead to the upcoming week’s games.

Last Week Recap:

Georgia Tech now stands at to 10-8, 1-4 following two conference losses to now #20 Pittsburgh and Miami.

Monday 1/14: #22 Pittsburgh 81 Georgia Tech 74

In their first ever ACC meeting, the Pittsburgh defeated a depleted Georgia Tech squad despite a valiant first half effort.

Trae Golden led Tech in the opening period with 10 points while the Jackets again stifled an opposing big man in Lamar Patterson (0 points and four turnovers). But just like Notre Dame’s Garrick Sherman on Saturday, Patterson found his rhythm.

The 35-32 Yellow Jacket advantage vanished in the opening minutes of the second as Pittsburgh exploded on 8-0 run keyed by a layup, steal, and back to back assists from Patterson. Without Jason Morris and Solomon Poole, the eight scholarship players in White and Gold were running on fumes.

The shortage of bodies was most evident on the glass. Pittsburgh had 19 second half rebounds including six from F Michael Young; Tech, on the other hand, had only six as a team. That being the case, the outcome was still in doubt in the final minute and given the circumstances, a single digit defeat to a talented basketball team like Pitt is far from embarrassing. But still it’s tough not to wonder what the Jackets could have done had Morris and Poole been at their disposal.

Saturday 1/18: Miami 56 Georgia Tech 42

Whereas Tuesday’s loss to the Panthers was difficult but admirable, the Jackets played arguably their most disappointing game of the season in a 56-42 home loss to Miami on Saturday afternoon.

Tech scored a meager 17 points in the first half and sat at measly 23 point total with eight minutes to go in the game. The performance brought back frightening memories from Gregory’s first season at Phillips Arena where the Jackets were held to less than 20 points in 20 minutes numerous times and finished with less than 40 points three times. If it weren’t for a Georges-Hunt triple in the final 30 seconds, the Jackets wouldn’t have broken 40 on Saturday. But even with the late baskets, the performance was still Tech’s lowest point total since the 2012 ACC Tournament (a 54-36 loss against Miami).

All in all, the low-scoring and rock fight style is Miami’s type of game. But it’s equally difficult to ignore the abysmal shooting. These struggles certainly aren’t new for the 2013-14 Yellow Jackets, but Saturday was unquestionably the low point as of today. Tech shot below 30% on the afternoon, 26.5% in the first half, and 20% on 20 attempts from deep. Worst of all, the number of baskets made equaled the number of turnovers: 13.

Individually, both Daniel Miller and Marcus Georges-Hunt were held scoreless through the first half while Chris Bolden finished 0 for 5 from the field (all from three) and only 1 rebound in 30 minutes.

The good news for the Jackets is that they do not have long to wallow as they play Boston College tonight

Looking Ahead:

Tuesday 1/21 9:00pm: Georgia Tech (10-8, 1-4) at Boston College (5-13, 1-4)

The Jackets catch a break this week as they will face two other ACC teams off to slow starts. The first of which, Boston College, is having a shockingly disappointing season. The Eagles were viewed by many including ESPN’s Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg as the big sleepers in the ACC.

The Eagles have struggled to pick up wins, but not to be competitive. Their four conference losses have come by 8, 2, 10, and 11 points. In the two games in which the Eagles lost by double digits, BC was within a single score in the final eight minutes. They even led #2 Syracuse for nearly ten minutes of the second half.

But losses are losses and Boston College and head coach Steve Donahue have seen far too many. Both Donahue and Gregory began their careers at their respective ACC schools in 2011-12 and here’s a comparison of their results so far:

Gregory Donahue

Ultimately the point I wish to make with the chart above is that rebuilding a program is no small task. And considering that Tech has gotten progressively better the last three years while Boston College has take a major step backward this season, it can be argued that Gregory is doing better than Steve Donahue. Just some food for thought.

As for Tuesday night’s game, the Jackets will look to avenge an ACC tournament loss to Boston College last season. The Jackets blazed out of the gate to a 15-0 advantage before the ACC’s Rookie of the Year, Olivier Hanlan, proceeded to put up 41 points in an 84-64 win.

This season however, the Eagles’ primary weapon is their long range shooting. The Eagles have shot a deadly 42% from beyond the arc in conference play and are led by Lonnie Jackson who has put together an impressive string of performances from downtown (5 of 8, 6 of 9, and 4 of 6 in his last three games). The Jackets meanwhile have struggled mightily from three as they are still shooting below 30% both overall and in conference.

On the bright side, Boston College could serve as a refreshing hiatus from physical, inside teams with their primary inside presence, Dennis Clifford, out for the season. Combined with the return of Jason Morris, tonight is an opportunity to get back on the winning side of boards.

Tip-off is at 9:00pm and will be broadcast on 106.7 FM and televised on ESPNU.

Sunday 1/26 1:00pm: Georgia Tech at NC State (12-7, 2-4)

Georgia Tech travels to Raleigh, N.C. to face the Wolfpack of N.C. State – a team that swept the Jackets a year ago. Just like Tech and BC, NC State is embarking on its third season with Mark Gottfried at the helm. And take a look at his success:

Gregory Gottfried

Gottfried’s numbers are on another level compared to Gregory and Donahue, but it should be noted that Gottfried inherited a much more stable program than his colleagues. Regardless, there is no doubt that the Gottfried hire has been a success thus far.

The 2013-14 season marks the most challenging of Gottfried’s tenure so far. All five 2012-13 starters did not return this season– two graduations, two NBA draft declarations and an unsettling transfer from five star recruit and freshman shooting guard Rodney Purvis.

It’s proven to be a difficult adjustment for the Pack particularly in ACC play. They dropped four of the first five in conference including two by 30+ points. In both of the blowouts, NC State has been fatally careless with the ball with 16 turnovers against Virginia and 21 turnovers against Duke. In between the spankings, NC State lost a heartbreaker to the Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem on a last second layup by Codi Miller-McIntyre.

But whether NC State wins or loses their offense always runs through one player before any other: T.J. Warren. The sophomore forward leads both his team and the league in scoring with 22.2 points per game. The Durham native leads his team rebounding (7.3), steals per game (1.4) and minutes played per game (35.1). No player in the power conferences takes more shots than Warren – he averages 17.6 per game. To put that in perspective, Georges-Hunt leads Tech in FGA per game with 9.7. He is the alpha male of the Wolfpack offense.

However in last night’s win over the Maryland Terrapins, N.C. State was without T.J. Warren who was declared unavailable only 10 minutes before tip-off. The Wolfpack responded by putting together a team win over the Terps to snap a three game losing streak. Unfortunately for the Jackets, a five day rest period ought to mean that Warren and his sprained ankle ought to ready to go come Sunday.

Outside of Warren NC State has also used impressive play from freshman Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber who leads the team in assists and is third in the ACC among freshman in both points and assists. Ultimately, the Wolfpack live inside. No team gets a higher percentage of their points from inside the arc. To counter this, the Jackets will need to keep NC State out of the paint and force jump shots. And if at all possible try to hit a few of their own.

Tip-off is at 1:00pm and will be broadcast on 106.7 FM and televised on the ACC Network.

Be sure to check back next week for a new edition of Monday Mornings from McCamish, but in the meantime follow @WREKSports on Twitter and like us on Facebook (under “WREK Sports”) to receive in-game updates and analysis.

 

 

 

 

Monday Mornings from McCamish: 1/13

Welcome to another edition of Monday Mornings from McCamish. This weekly segment will be released on Monday mornings throughout Georgia Tech’s Men’s Basketball 2013-14 season. We will revisit the previous week’s action as well as look ahead to the upcoming week’s games.

Last Week Recap:

Georgia Tech now stands at to 10-6, 1-2 with a split this past week against familiar foe Duke and ACC newcomer Notre Dame.

Monday 1/04: Georgia Tech 57 Duke 79

The Jackets lost their sixth straight against the Blue Devils by a score of 79-57 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Entering the game outside the top 200 in rebounding, Duke outrebounded the Jackets 33-25 – the first time this season Tech had lost the battle on the glass. To make matters worse, Tech was dreadful from the line at 0 for 6 while the Blue Devils hit 22 of 25.

With that being said, the Jackets surprisingly played a much better brand of basketball in Durham than what we saw only a few days earlier in Baltimore. Tech shot a tremendous 53.6% from the field in the opening half and 49.1% overall. An improvement worthy of scientific attention considering that they shot an combined 40.3% in the previous three games . But what was perhaps even more impressive was the Tech’s defense of the Blue Devil offense holding them to only 9 field goals in 25 attempts (36%) in the opening period. Ultimately the Blue Devils shook off the bad shooting only a few minutes into the second half as they pulled away for a 79-57 win.

Saturday 1/11: Notre Dame 69 Georgia Tech 74

In their conference home opener, Georgia Tech knocked off Notre Dame 74-69 to pick up its first ACC win of 2014.

The Jackets surprised all of those in attendance and perhaps even themselves by surging out to a 17-4 lead and hitting seven of their first 10 shots including three straight treys. The Irish, playing in only their second true road game of the season, may have been startled but they fought their way back to within four by intermission.

In the second half, Tech again established distance by opening period two on a 15-4 run to stretch the lead to 54-39 with less than 14 minutes to play. But after absorbing a 13-0 Irish run the Jackets fought tooth and nail until the final minute to secure their first conference victory which was keyed by a Trae Golden three and free throws from Chris Bolden and Quinton Stephens.

As for Saturday’s takeaways, there were several. First off, the Jackets are a much different team when playing at home and after going 1-3 on a four game road trip, McCamish brought a welcomed sense of familiarity for the Jackets who play their next two games at home this week.

Additionally, it was the second straight game that the Daniel Miller, Kam Holsey, and the rest of the front court stifled a star big man. Duke’s Jabari Parker was held to 4 of 12 and only 12 points and six rebounds on Tuesday while Notre Dame’s Garrick Sherman was held scoreless through the first 26 minutes two days ago. That being said, after missing his first 10 shots, Sherman found his rhythm by hitting six of his final eight – which in large part may have been due to a fatigued, Robert Carter Jr.-less front court. So while Miller and Holsey have been superb in Carter’s absence so far, their extended minutes will become a factor late in games.

Lastly it should be noted that Bolden’s four for eight performance from beyond the arc was only his second multi-three game of the year and first since St. John’s on November 30th. With Carter Jr. down, a resurgent Bolden would be an invaluable remedy for a team looking for more scoring.

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Looking Ahead:

Tuesday 1/14 9:00pm: #22 Pittsburgh (15-1, 3-0) at Georgia Tech (10-6, 1-2)

The Pittsburgh Panthers are 15-1 overall and 3-0 in the ACC, yet entered the top 25 this week for the first time this season. Their only loss is 44-43 defeat at the hands of a 15-2 Cincinnati Bearcat team on a neutral floor. Up to this point, it’s been the strength of schedule holding back the Panthers in the national scope not their play. In their first 16 games, Pitt has played only one true road game (a 74-62 victory on NC State) and zero against ranked opponents. That will change this week as Pitt travels to #2 Syracuse after visiting McCamish on Tuesday night.

What makes Pittsburgh, a team with only five returning player and six newcomers, so good? They have two key ingredients of a winning college basketball team.

  1. Senior leadership in forwards Talib Zanna and Lamar Patterson. Zanna, originally from Nigeria, averages 12 points and 8 rebounds while his native-Pennsylvanian partner Patterson averages nearly 18 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. In Pitt’s most recent victory, an 80-65 thrashing of Wake Forest, Zanna posted his fifth double-double of the season (16 points, 12 rebounds). Not to be outdone, Patterson scored 27 and eclipsed the 20 point mark for the sixth time this season.
  2. The Panthers have also benefitted greatly from efficient guard play. As a team the Panthers rank in the top 5 in assist/turnover ratio at 1.74 while sophomore guard James Robinson leads the nation in that category with a 5.17 as of 1/11. The Panthers as a whole are 11th in the nation in total assists averaging over 17 per game.

For Tech to knock off the Panthers it will take a shooting performance comparable to that of Saturday and a strong presence inside to counter the Zanna and Patterson duo.

Tip-off is at 9:00pm and will be broadcast on 106.7 FM and televised on ESPNU.

Sunday 1/18 12:00pm: Miami (9-6, 1-1) at Georgia Tech

Tech concludes a three game ACC home-stand this Saturday afternoon as they host the Miami Hurricanes. The meeting will be the two’s first since Marcus Georges-Hunt’s buzzer-beating game-winner over the sixth-ranked Canes last March.

The Hurricanes are but a shadow of the 2012-13 Sweet Sixteen team. The Canes returned no starters and carry only nine scholarship players this season. And as one may expect, Miami’s offense has been dreadful – ranking 331st (of 345 teams) in points per game at 63.5. That being said Miami has been competitive this season with a 9-6 record, four overtime games (in which they’ve gone 1-3), a road win over the Jekyll and Hyde Tar Heels, and a nail-biting five point loss against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.

One of the major reasons, Jim Larranaga’s club has been able to compete has been the play of senior guard Rion Brown. Brown leads the team in both points and assists and ranks second in rebounds behind big man Donnavan Kirk. And although Brown did not start last year, he is a name with which Tech fans ought to be familiar. The Hinesville, Georgia native erupted for a career high 22 points and hit nine of 11 shots including four of six from deep in a 62-47 road win over the Jackets last season.

If the Jackets can contain Brown and put together a moderately effective offensive performance, Tech should close the home-stand with another ACC victory.

Tip-off is at 2:00pm and will be broadcast on 106.7 FM and televised on RSN.

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Be sure to check back next week for a new edition of Monday Mornings from McCamish, but in the meantime follow @WREKSports on Twitter and like us on Facebook (under “WREK Sports”) to receive in-game updates and analysis.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Mornings from McCamish: 1/6

Monday Mornings from McCamish: 1/06

Second semester is underway today on the campus of Georgia Tech! And with the resumption of classes, Monday Mornings from McCamish have returned. This weekly segment will be released on Monday mornings throughout the remainder of Georgia Tech’s Men’s Basketball 2013-14 season. We will revisit the previous week’s action as well as look ahead to the upcoming week’s games.

Last Week Recap:

Monday 1/04: Georgia Tech 61 Maryland 77

Georgia Tech dropped to 9-5, 0-1 with a 77-61 loss to Maryland in their first game of conference play last Saturday.

In the losing effort, the Jackets were led by sophomore Marcus Georges-Hunt (11 points, 4 rebounds) and freshman Quinton Stephens (10 points, 6 boards). The Terrapins jumped out to an early 18-8 advantage thanks in large part to drilling their first three attempts from three point land. That success continued throughout the afternoon as Maryland hit an impressive 10 of 19 from beyond the arc including a back-breaking 7 of 12 in the first half (Tech on the other hand shot a pitiful 26%) . As if that weren’t enough, Maryland took advantage of the depleted Yellow Jacket front court to the tune of 34 points in the paint.

The loss was frustrating on a number of levels. Tech started out slow in both halves – falling behind 12-2 in the first and giving up a 6-0 run to start the second. Furthermore, Tech struggled mightily from the field. The team’s leading scorers Trae Golden and Marcus Georges-Hunt shot a combined 35% including 1 for 9 from three point territory. Even senior Daniel Miller shot below 50% for only the second time this season (the other instance came in a loss to St. John’s).

Trying to reinvent yourself at any time is difficult. Trying to do so without your most consistent player in Robert Carter Jr. (torn meniscus) and conference play breathing down your neck is next to impossible. Although Tech won’t know Carter Jr.’s official timetable until after the surgery tomorrow, Coach Gregory and the team must be prepared to adapt to life long term without the double-double machine.  It’ll require increased efforts from the entire team and a significantly adjusted game plan from the coaching staff.

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Monday Mornings from McCamish: 11/25

Welcome to another edition of Monday Mornings from McCamish. This weekly segment will normally be released on Monday mornings, but a heavy test week on the flats pushed back the release (on that note: big shout out to Eliot Beckham who pieced this together on short notice). We will revisit the previous week’s action as well as look ahead to the upcoming week’s games.

Last Week Recap:

Wednesday 11/20: Dayton 82 Georgia Tech 72
Sunday 11/24: North Carolina A&T 71 Georgia Tech 78

After a disappointing loss to Dayton in the mid-week the Yellow Jackets rebounded with a come-from-behind win over a tough North Carolina A&T team this Sunday and moved to 4-1 on the year.

No season ever goes exactly according to plan, but this past Wednesday’s loss to the Dayton Flyers was a a hiccup Tech head coach Brian Gregory would have liked to avoid. Gregory came to Atlanta at the start of the 2011-12 season, having coached the eight years prior at Dayton and won the 2010 NIT Tournament with the Flyers. This was the first time he had faced his old team, who now has five straight wins over ACC opponents and moved to 4-0 on the year with the win over the Jackets. Dayton had 17 steals in the game to Tech’s 7, culminating in 33 points off turnovers to Tech’s 6. The Flyers had 55 points from three players, including 20 from surprise starter and Ohio State transfer Jordan Sibert. After a 13-0 run from Dayton near the end of the first half, the Jackets seemed to roll over and never looked like making it close again in what was undoubtedly a performance disappointing to Coach Gregory against his former school.

One positive the team could certainly look at going forward is the inside play of Daniel Miller, Kam Holsey and Robert Carter, Jr. The Jackets won the battle down low handily, scoring 42 to Dayton’s 36 and getting 17 second-chance points (Dayton had only 6). Miller was Georgia Tech’s leading scorer on the night with 20 on 7-9 shooting, and made all of his 6 free throw attempts. On a night when the white & gold backcourt seemed more than a little uncomfortable (senior Trae Golden was hassled into 6 turnovers alone, and Golden combined with fellow guards Chris Bolden and Solomon Poole were an astounding 4-21 from the floor), it was the Tech big men who showed the ability to produce consistent offense.

Coming off of a loss, the Jackets showed signs of a hangover in the first half against the NC A&T Aggies. But Tech showed some true resolve after finding themselves down 37-33 at the half and 49-38 with 13:43 to play. From that point, the Yellow Jackets went on a 14-3 run to tie the game at 52 and felt in control of the game from there. Of note was the play of the previously mentioned frontcourt. Miller played only 20 minutes due to foul trouble and eventually fouled out, but bagged 10 crucial points for his team in what was a whistle-heavy, physical game. Carter, Jr. also showed up well, particularly on the defensive side of the court where he grabbed 11 boards in addition to his 3 steals and sole block. And Holsey, who saw important action in the second half in place of Miller, chipped in another 10 points and drew several fouls (foul trouble was also a big problem for NC A&T, who had two players foul out and four players ride the bench with four fouls apiece).

But the big difference in this game for Tech was the play of Trae Golden and Marcus Georges-Hunt. The team’s two leading scorers on the season were the driving force of the second half comeback, pushing the tempo and scoring points both in transition and in the half-court setup. Golden, who finished with 20, seemed unstoppable driving the lane late on, and Georges-Hunt (16 points, 2-4 from three-point range) made some key shots from range and was a threat using his pull-up jumper as well as from the outside. After allowing 17 steals versus Dayton the Jackets only coughed up two to the Aggies. Going forward, look for this improved ball-handling to be a point of emphasis for Coach Gregory and look for Miller, Holsey and Carter, Jr. to continue getting good looks inside.

 

Looking Ahead:

Tuesday 11/26 7:00pm: Mississippi Valley State (1-4) at Georgia Tech (4-1)

Tech’s pre-Thanksgiving midweek opponent isn’t a big name, but figures to be very capable of a shootout. The Delta Devils gave Mississippi State a fight last week, losing 111-82 in a real show of offensive firepower. The last 100-point game the Jackets had, if you were wondering, came on November 11, 2009, against Florida A&M.

Tip-off is at 7:00pm and will be broadcast on 106.7 FM and streamed live on ESPN3.

 

Friday 11/29 4:30 & Saturday 11/30: The Barclay’s Center Classic, Brooklyn, NY

Preview to follow.

Emmanuel Dieke Interview – Novemeber 19, 2013

DE Emmanuel “Too Tall” Dieke speaks with Hannah Joy about moving forward and closing out the rest of the season.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UlG5KjiLQU