Men’s B-ball splits against VA. foes

Photo by Victor Lee / Student Publications
On Jan. 22, the Georgia Tech men’s basketball team traveled to Va. riding a two-game winning streak. The Virginia Cavaliers snapped the Jackets win streak, and handed Georgia Tech its third consecutive ACC road loss of the season, 72-64. Georgia Tech traveled home after the game and defeated a highly touted Virginia Tech team 72-57 to improve to 3-3 in the ACC.
The Jackets started slowly in the game against Virginia. The Cavaliers jumped out to an 11-4 lead thanks to three three-pointers. The Jackets had trouble defending the perimeter throughout the season, and this game was no different as Virginia shot 10-15 from beyond the arc.
Back-to-back jumpers from junior guard Iman Shumpert and sophomore forward Brian Oliver cut Virginia’s lead to three, but Virginia responded with another three-pointer to put the score at 17-11.
The teams continued to trade baskets for the remainder of the half, with Virginia never relinquishing its lead, until the four-minute mark. Senior guard Mo Miller made a layup to trim Virginia’s lead to five at 31-26, but Georgia Tech would not make another field goal for the remainder of the half.
Meanwhile, Virginia forced four straight turnovers, made four layups and drained one three pointer down the stretch to go into halftime with a comfortable lead at 43-29.
Virginia finished the half having made seven out of eight three pointers.
“You can put teams in a gym by themselves that wide open and they are not going to make seven out of eight. It just shows you that have to be prepared to stop people as opposed to hoping that they miss,” said Head Coach Paul Hewitt.
Virginia started the second half with a 5-2 run that included yet another three and yet another layup as it was clear that Georgia Tech’s defense was unable to stop anything that Virginia wanted to do on offense.
One bright spot for the Jackets came at the 14:44 mark when freshman center Daniel Miller threw down a powerful two handed dunk.
Miller finished the game with a career-high 12 points.
“We feel as though [Miller] can be at that eight to 10 point level each night, but we can’t do it at the risk of [the guards] not having the ball in their hands a lot,” Hewitt said.
Miller’s bright spot was short-lived as that would be the Jackets last field goal for almost five minutes before he made another jumper to cut Virginia’s lead to 16.
Georgia Tech could not will its way back into the game, and did not come within 15 points of Virginia until garbage time when both teams had some backup players in the game.
“There were a couple of things that I saw in the game that we talked about, but didn’t practice enough. So, I told the guys after the game that I did not have you prepared as well as you should have been, especially in those three-point shots,” Hewitt said.
The Jackets looked well prepared for their next game against the Hokies, came out of the locker room and quickly jumped out to a 5-0 lead that was capped off with a Miller three.
Virginia Tech used a 2-3 zone from the beginning of the game to force the Jackets to shoot outside jump shots. The plan backfired at the beginning of the game as sophomore forward Glen Rice Jr. hit another three to give the Jackets an 8-2 lead.
The Hokies’ defense played better for the remainder of the half as the Jackets struggled to figure out the defense’s weak spots. While the Jackets were trying to figure it out, the Hokies went on a 15-2 run.
The Jackets scored their next six points on hustle plays before Virginia Tech could get their defense set.
Finally, the Jackets found a hole in the Hokies’ zone when Oliver cut towards the basket, caught the ball at the free-throw line drained a mid-range jump shot.
Oliver finished the game with 28 points.
The Jackets would go back to this play throughout the half and were able to keep with the Hokies, only down three going into halftime.
The second half was an entirely different story, as the Jackets quickly tied the game within the first two minutes of the half.
The teams would trade baskets for the next five minutes of the game and they were tied at 47 at the 10:08 mark.
Oliver scored the Jackets’ next ten points as they marched out to a two-point lead.
“There have been some mechanical things that were wrong with my shot and a lot of it is mental. You can’t get down on yourself. You say to yourself keep taking good shots, but you have to make sure that, as a shooter, you are always thinking that the next shot is going in. I just cleared my mind, went out there and went back to fundamentals tonight,” Oliver said.
Shumpert made a fast-break layup and Oliver hit another three to give the Jackets a seven-point lead. Shumpert continued to lead the Jackets down the stretch and scored eight of the team’s last ten points as the Jackets won by 12.
Shumpert became only the fourth Georgia Tech player, and the first since 1989, to record a triple-double with his 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. He was the first Jacket to do that in an ACC game, and he was only three steals shy of a quadruple-double.
“I didn’t know I was close to [a triple-double] but I thought I had a lot of rebounds. In the middle of the game Coach LaBarrie came over to me and said that a triple-double isn’t as good if we don’t win, and that was when I knew that I had one,” Shumpert said
Perhaps more impressive is Shumpert’s play on defense as he held the Hokies’ best player, Malcolm Delaney, to only eight points.

“I think we played [Delaney] tough and when I needed help I got it. We played him hard at the basket and we went up there and contested every shot,” Shumpert said.
Georgia Tech next plays at home versus Maryland on Jan. 30.


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