Previewing Georgia Tech

After a 1-7 start in the ACC, the Jackets began a much more forgiving second-half schedule with a grind-it-out win over Boston College.

Tech is extremely limited offensively, so the Jackets must play tenacious defense. They did exactly that in the 51-47 win over B.C. on Feb. 4.

"It is hard to win games if teams are shooting 44 percent against us, which I think is what they were heading into this game," coach Brian Gregory said. "So much of that does go back to our offense: We have flaws and are deficient offensively. We have to keep getting better, but I thought we were better Sunday. Our half-court defense was better, and they are hard to play against. You have to change some of your defensive rules and tendencies because of the way that they play, but I thought our guys did a good job of that.

"As I said, they shot 29 percent from the three, 34 percent overall. We did a good job of keeping them in front. They shot over 50 percent of their shots behind the arc, and that is way more than they normally shoot."

Guard Brandon Reed has finally broken out of his shooting slump. Center Daniel Miller and forward Kammeon Holsey are being more aggressive offensively. And point guard Mfon Udofia is taking better care of the ball.

If leading scorer Glen Rice Jr. can overcome his nagging toe injury, the Jackets could string together a few wins.

Next up is N.C. State, which visits Philips Arena on Feb. 9.

"It is a good start to the second half -- we are 1-0 and 1-0 at home," Gregory said. "We hadn't won here yet, but we played some pretty good teams. I think our guys are excited about that opportunity.

"Every day we have to keep getting better, staying positive and making sure that the guys that are buying in are getting the rewards for that buy-in."

NOTES, QUOTES
-- Tech improved to 1-5 at Philips Arena this season with its 51-47 win over Boston College on Feb. 4. The Jackets are using the Atlanta Hawks' home arena while their on-campus arena is built. Tech went 4-1 at Gwinnett Arena in suburban Atlanta.

--The Jackets averaged 55.7 points during their six-game losing streak, which they snapped with the win over BC.

--Tech ranks last in the ACC in 3-point shooting (31.8 percent). The Jackets are 116 of 365 from beyond the arc.

BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- That's how many turnovers Tech committed in its 51-47 win over BC. It was way below Tech's season average of 14.7, third most in the ACC. PG Mfon Udofia set a career high with six assists and had no turnovers.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "You saw a glimpse of their scrappiness and intensity level that we now need to continue to play with. We made some big plays in chasing down loose balls and coming up with stuff. . . . We grinded it out a little bit, got some defensive stops." -- coach Brian Gregory after the Feb. 4 win over Boston College.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--vs. N.C. State, Feb. 9
KEY MATCHUPS:
The Jackets shot 51 percent in an 82-71 win in Raleigh a month ago as Glen Rice Jr. scored 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Rice is battling a toe injury, however, and might not be as effective. As of Feb. 4, Wolfpack PG Lorenzo Brown ranked second in the ACC in assists (6.8) and steals (1.8) and 22nd in scoring (11.9), but Tech's Mfon Udofia outplayed him in the first meeting, scoring 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

FUTURES MARKET: G Brandon Reed, a sophomore transfer from Arkansas State, might have turned a corner. He scored a season-high 18 in the Feb. 1 loss at Florida State, making 4 of 8 3-pointers, and followed that up with nine points on 3-of-6 shooting in the Feb. 4 win over BC. Reed hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to help seal the victory. Reed's emergence is taking some pressure off Glen Rice Jr. and Mfon Udofia.

PLAYER NOTES
--Starting G Jason Morris was benched in the second half of the Feb. 4 win over Boston College, with Nick Foreman replacing him. "I thought those other guys were doing well," coach Brian Gregory said. "There are things that are not negotiable and if you don't do them . . . We are a much better team when we have everybody moving forward."

--Leading scorer Glen Rice Jr., who is dealing with a toe injury, came off the bench in the Feb. 4 win over Boston College. But he ended up playing 29 minutes and getting a team-high 11 points and eight rebounds.

--F Kammeon Holsey (5 of 7) and C Daniel Miller (4 of 6) scored 10 points apiece in the Feb. 4 win over Boston College -- the first time since the Dec. 7 win at Georgia that both of Tech's starting post players scored in double figures.


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