Some observations from Georgia Tech’s 79-57 loss to Duke Tuesday night in Durham, N.C. Game story here from my colleague Carroll Rogers. I’ll be back on the job starting Thursday.
1. Particularly with forward Robert Carter out with knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, I think we may see a lot of games like this – Tech hanging in for a half or a little longer and running out of gas. Center Daniel Miller didn’t seem to have a lot left in the tank at the end. He played 32 active minutes. He came in at 6:49 after going to the bench at 8:15.
From that point on, he got a basket at 6:11, an assist at 5:37 and after that, statistically speaking, contributed a missed basket and a missed free throw through the end of the game. That doesn’t say everything – the wheels were coming off at that point as Duke’s Rodney Hood was going bananas from the 3-point line, and really no one for Tech was contributing much statistically or otherwise – but it speaks to a challenge Tech and Gregory will face the rest of the way.
Forward Kammeon Holsey didn’t help much with only 18 minutes (due to foul trouble) producing two points and three rebounds.
2. Carter’s injury could be beneficial, from an individual standpoint, for Miller and forward Marcus Georges-Hunt. They’re arguably Tech’s two most efficient players, and Carter’s absence will likely mean more shots for both. They were a combined 15-for-26 against Duke, taking almost 10 shots more than they average this season.
I feel pretty confident that they won’t combine to shoot 58 percent from the field the rest of the season, but this will be an opportunity for both to stretch themselves. On one possession in the first half against Duke, Miller got the ball at the elbow, seemed to look to pass before turning to the basket and making a jumper. That’s the sort of attempt he has typically passed on, but one that Tech will need him to take (and make) to stand a chance.
Jason Morris also stands to gain. He has phenomenal athletic ability – his poster-worthy dunk Tuesday standing as an example – and would give the Jackets a huge boost if he could develop consistency.
3. It’s kind of hard to believe that I thought (and perhaps you did, as well) that Gregory was going to have trouble figuring out what to do with his many point guards. Tuesday, Trae Golden played 38 minutes after playing 36 against Maryland.
Travis Jorgenson is recovering from ACL surgery. Corey Heyward appears like he’s still not all the way back from his ACL tear (not surprisingly – his second tear was a little more than 12 months ago). Give Solomon Poole credit for trying to get the ball into the post, but he’s having a tough time taking care of the ball.
Poole and Heyward should develop, but Tech could really use a point guard to give 10 solid minutes off the bench.
4. Duke was 22 for 25 from the free-throw line, Tech was 0-for-6. I think it’s to be expected that Duke will get more calls in its own building, and perhaps play more aggressively to bring more calls, but that’s still quite a disparity. That said, though, Tech shot six free throws and missed all of them.
Tech is shooting 69.0 percent this season, though, up from 63.5 percent from last season.