Posted: 12:59 pm Thursday, January 30th, 2014

6 takeaways from Tech-UNC 

By Ken Sugiura

Thoughts and observations from Georgia Tech’s 78-65 loss to North Carolina Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion. Game story here. Myajc.com game story here. (For a limited time, myajc.com stories are being offered free of charge as a courtesy to readers.)

1. There wasn’t a lot of mystery Wednesday. North Carolina has a better, deeper team than Georgia Tech and it was readily evident.

North Carolina has six players on the roster who were either McDonald’s All-Americans or who have played on a U.S. national team. Tech has none of either.

“I think their three’s, four’s and five’s, I think they’re pretty athletic,” guard Trae Golden said, referring to the Tar Heels’ small and power forwards and centers. “Usually, you don’t have three guys that athletic. Usually, you have one that’s maybe a little slow-footed, but they’ve got guys coming off the bench that’s athletic, can run the floor, get putbacks, second-chance points. That’s tough.”

2. UNC point guard Marcus Paige was on his game in the second half. After missing both field-goal attempts in the first half, he was 6-for-6 thereafter, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range. He finished with seven assists and no turnovers. After Golden hit a 3-pointer to draw the Jackets to within two points, Paige answered with his own 3-pointer to start a 7-0 run. Tech was never closer than six points the rest of the night.

“When he plays well, they’re an elite-level team, there’s no question about it,” coach Brian Gregory said.

As a team, UNC shot 16-for-24 in the second half. My colleague Matt Winkeljohn had an interesting perspective on the numbers. The Tar Heels scored 52 points in the second half, twice as many as the first half, despite taking only 24 shots after taking 39 in the first. The big difference was 20 free throws in the second (making 16) compared to three in the first.

“I think they wore us down a little bit at times, especially interior,” Gregory said. “We weren’t as good defensively in the second half. We made some key mistakes, some coverage mistakes, some things that happened.”

3. Tech got another strong performance from center Daniel Miller, particularly on the defensive end. He had five blocks – four in the first half – and altered many more shots. UNC coach Roy Williams referred to him as a “load inside” and credited his shot-blocking ability for causing the Tar Heels’ big men to rush their shots, particularly in the first half.

Miller played 35 minutes and he wasn’t nearly as productive in the second half as the first.

“Thirty-five minutes is a lot of minutes,” Gregory said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to have him survive right now.”

4. Forward Marcus Georges-Hunt had his second consecutive game with 10 free throws. He had 62 in the first 19 games. Georges-Hunt has been struggling to score – as has the team in general – and the line, obviously, is a place where he can get more points. Gregory said on his radio show Monday that Georges-Hunt has been getting a lot of defensive attention and also often been tasked with defending the opponent’s best player, part of the reason his sophomore season has been tough.

“I just think I’m more aggressive,” he said. “Coach wants me to be more aggressive and that’s what I’m doing.”

5. Gregory opened his post-game comments by thanking fans who made it to the game. Attendance was 5,124, about 60 percent of capacity.

“I really appreciate that, as do our players,” Gregory said. “Big thank you to them. That was tremendous.”

The student turnout was about 2,300, more than twice the typical attendance, a combination of North Carolina playing and classes being canceled Thursday.

6. As noted in the game story, forward Jason Morris left the game with a right foot injury. He was scheduled for an x-ray Thursday. He missed several games at the start of the season after suffering a stress fracture in his left foot. Tough break. Coaches were expecting him to have a big year based off his summer workouts, and has been either hurt or limited for just about all of it.

As Gregory put it, “poor kid can’t catch a break.”

If you’re wondering, a medical redshirt is not an option. While Morris may end up playing less than 30 percent of Tech’s games – he has played nine and 30 percent is 9.3 – the injury must take place in the first half of the season and be incapacitating for the remainder of the season.

13 comments
Radar123
Radar123

And I probably would have done the ACC package if Solomon Poole was developing for the future but he got bumped aside by one and done transfer Trae Golden. It would have been fun to watch him develop but now what? I don't like it. Out of state bloggers: how many games are u going to this year?

Radar123
Radar123

Ga Tech season ticket holder full season in 2009-10 and 2010-11 and all but 5 games in 2012-13.

Reason number one says to spend the money somewhere else.

Call me bandwagon but I am no troll.

Just not a fool to keep spending on mediocrity and half of those who criticize me are out of state or some other such excuse and have not seen a game in years.

charlestonian77
charlestonian77

go jackets. they are still working hard even though they are decimated by injuries despite what larry curly and mo say,

GTBee
GTBee

My 6 takeaways?    Tech-Football-And-Basketball-Programs-Suck

starter
starter

Injuries have no bearing on the state of this team. Carter is out, but he is no star; Morris has done little in his entire time at Tech, so his loss to injury is not significant. This is a bad team, and will again finish near or at the bottom of the ACC. They lose Miller, Golden, Holsey, Morris for next year, and have very little talent to replace these, so next year should be the worst team in the league. In looking at football and basketball you have to conclude that GT is really not concerned about being anything above mediocre in these sports. They continue to settle for Paul Johnson and Gregory to "lead' their programs, and they continue to just sign the "left-overs" after other programs have have locked up the better recruits. It appears the new AD fits this same mold, and is there just to primarily watch the finances and manage the buildings and grounds rather than be concerned about athletic performance. I think GT is ultimately headed for a lesser conference where their level of "talent" can compete better, and AD and coaches will be under less scrutiny. Not out of the question that GT ultimately falls behind GA State and Kennesaw State in major sports. What a sorry state of affairs for GT supporters to look forward to. 

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

You don't have to be a Happy Meal-All American to hit your free throws. Make seven or eight more of those and this game goes down to the last posession or so. 

With that being said, with Carter and Jorgenson playing we are probably .500 in conference right now. Hard to totally gauge CBG's performance this year. We've even been hit with the injury bug w/ our recruits. Our big man signee was just lost for the rest of his senior season w/ a knee injury.

I guess the silver lining to taking these beatings right now is Stephens, who looks really good, and Heyward getting valuable playing time.

Any kind of report on So. Poole Ken? This is getting really strange with his situation.  

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

I couldn't care less about basketball, but why is our team so bad?  I Johnson coaching them too?


We used to be good.  Lethal Weapon 3, etc...

DBT Jacket
DBT Jacket

Ineffective play at this level is the same as poor play. We will not get many W's with our starting 2-guard getting 2 points on 2 shots from the field in 28 minutes of play. Meanwhile, players with overwhelmingly better skills--especially on the offensive end-- sit and/or play less minutes. Not sure what we're trying to accomplish with this embarrassing line-up,...but we all see the results.

BearCasey
BearCasey

This is very accurate appraisal of the game.  GT is not a good team but not THAT far from it.  Give the Jackets a healthy Carter, a true back up center (10-12 minutes per game) and Marcus Paige and Tech is able compete.

juvenal
juvenal

at least they did not throw the game open at half-time, something that let the 'heels flood in last ice game.............

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

@GTBee You realize a yellow jacket and a bee are two entirely different species, right?

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

@starter "Carter is out, but he is no star."  Yeah, you're right. He was just the ACC's leading rebounder, and one of our better scorers.  He scored in double digits in 7 of the 13 games he played.  Ironically, you left out Jorgensen,who was probably our only true PG and Solomon Poole who added an extra layer of depth *along with Morris).  Don't even need to read the rest of your post.  You've already proved you don't know what the heck you're talking about.

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

@DBT Jacket  Who would you like to see get more minutes?  Stacey Poole Jr?  There is nobody else on the bench available other than walk-ons.  If you are referring to Solo then you haven't been paying attention.