Posted: 3:17 am Friday, February 14th, 2014

6 takeaways from Tech-B.C. 

By Ken Sugiura

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Marcus Georges-Hunt, college basketball, ACC, Boston College Eagles

Georgia Tech forward Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 19 in Tech’s win over Boston College. (Jason Getz / AP)

Thoughts and observations from Georgia Tech’s 74-71 win over Boston College Thursday night at McCamish Pavilion. Game story here.

First, the shot.

1. It would seem Tech got a big break when Boston College coach Steve Donahue called timeout after Olivier Hanlan scored on a jump shot with 3.4 seconds left to give the Eagles a 71-70 lead. Donahue said he called it because four of his players were under the Tech basket and “I just didn’t think we were mentally ready to guard.”

Who knows what would have happened had Tech had to inbounds without the benefit of a timeout to set up a play. But the timeout – Tech had none left – allowed coach Brian Gregory to set up a play in the huddle.

Asked whether the timeout surprised him, Gregory answered, “A lot of coaches just have different philosophies.”

Guard Corey Heyward ran the baseline left to right to inbounds to forward Marcus Georges-Hunt, who was running fairly parallel around the top of the 3-point arc. He caught it on the run, dribbled up the right sideline, losing Hanlan on a screen at midcourt by Daniel Miller and then raising up about 25 feet from the basket over Lonnie Jackson and burying the game-winner with .7 seconds remaining. He was fouled, to boot, and made the free throw.

“I have a lot of confidence in myself,” Georges-Hunt said. “I didn’t think twice about shooting. Coach told me, ‘Just relax.’ I was already relaxed going into the timeout. I was focused.”

b. Georges-Hunt was in a similar situation a little over a week ago. With 16 seconds remaining and Tech down 43-41, Gregory called a play for Georges-Hunt, who drove to the basket and missed. Forward Kammeon Holsey missed the putback and Tech lost in brutal fashion as Georges-Hunt went 1-for-13 from the field.

Georges-Hunt said he went back and looked at the video of that game and saw that he wasn’t following through on his shot. Thursday, on the game winner, he held his follow-through well after his release.

“It’s not really frustrating to me,” he said. “It’s just like I’m learning from it, so I can become a better player. I feel like since my role has been switched around a lot (this season, due to Robert Carter’s injury), I’ve been learning a lot of new things.”

c. The play was actually usually Trae Golden’s to make, but Golden was out with a groin injury. Georges-Hunt said he and Golden take turns in practice when the team works on that play.

“Sometimes I miss it, sometimes I make it, but this time I made it in the game,” he said. “I don’t put my head down when I miss it. Just next time, I make the shot.”

d. Georges-Hunt actually scored Tech’s final seven points of the game. He scored a critical basket on the previous possession, driving on Garland Owens, pump faking, and scoring at the basket with 22 seconds to go to give Tech a 70-69 lead.

“I feel good about our execution on those last two plays,” Gregory said. “Everybody executed them perfectly, and you’ve still got to make the shot, and Marcus did for us.”

2. After tough losses against N.C. State and Clemson, not to mention the wheels-falling-off defeat to Virginia and others, this one was pretty satisfying.

“I always say, sometimes you’ve got to learn what loses games before you figure out how to win games,” Gregory said. “And we’ve had our share of the first part, and we need to continue to learn the second part.”

Said Miller, “I’ve been waiting on it. A lot of times it happens to us. We’ve just got to keep trying hard and wait for our turn and tonight was our night.”

3. Carter had a much better game, his second after coming back from knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He played 24 minutes and scored 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting. He showed a soft touch and more sureness with the ball and also grabbed five rebounds.

Miller scored a team-high 18 on 6-for-8 shooting from the field and a 6-for-7 effort from the line, and Holsey had 15.

“That’s kind of what we expected to see (with all three post players available),” Gregory said.

4. Guard Corey Heyward had perhaps his best game, kicking in six points on two 3-pointers and also tying his career best with five assists against one turnover and four rebounds in 33 minutes. His improvement is almost game-to-game. He is showing a burst to the basket that he didn’t have earlier in the season. On the possessions he was guarding Hanlan, he held his own.

Heyward, Gregory said, “is a guy you can coach, you can get on, you can show him film, you can coach him during a game and he doesn’t bat an eye. He wants that, and that’s good.”

5. Hanlan is a Jacket killer on the order of Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas. He had 21 Thursday on 8-for-15 shooting with two steals. In four games, Hanlan has shot 69.2 percent from the field and averaging 23.8 points per game. In the other 53 games in his career, he has shot 42.9 percent and averaged 17.4 points. If not for Georges-Hunt’s heroics, he would have had the dagger, the pull-up jumper over Heyward with 3.4 seconds left.

6. So, what to take out of the game?

The win shouldn’t de-emphasize the fact that Boston College shot 50.9 percent from the field, including 56.0 percent in the second half. The Eagles’ field-goal percentage was their highest since the sixth game of the season. Tech was one Boston College basket or stop away from giving Tech a brutal home loss that would have been its fifth in a row. (Just like Tech was one basket or stop away from beating N.C. State on the road.)

Tech hammered Boston College on the boards, 36-19, but that isn’t terribly shocking. The Eagles’ rebounding deficits for the past three games were nine, 13 and 14.

Further, the Eagles are just not a very good defensive team at all. After Thursday’s game, they were ranked No. 317 in Division I in defensive efficiency (adjusted points per possession) on kenpom.com. Tech was without Golden and was working Carter into the lineup and should be commended for shooting a season-best 53.8 percent. But the Jackets weren’t forced to work nearly as hard offensively as they have been or will be the rest of the way.

That said, Tech played this same team in Boston about three weeks ago and scored two points in one stretch of more than five minutes, and that was with Golden. Thursday, Tech didn’t suffer the scoring lapse it has been prone to this season. Gregory assessed it well.

“Needless to say, it’s been an interesting season with all these different things that have occurred. I feel really good about our guys in terms of the effort that they gave. There’ some areas that we didn’t do as well as maybe we need to, but the guys kept fighting. The guys stuck together and we made plays in the last eight minutes of the game that you need to make to win the game.”

If there’s anything that sticks out, perhaps it’s that. Tech has faltered on several occasions down the stretch, but delivered on both ends of the court Thursday when it counted. That, regardless of opponent, is a step forward.

18 comments
Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

Tom Izz protégé whose team play NO defense other than Miller..............sheeesh.

GTBee
GTBee

6 takeaways? We stink we stink we stink. That Virginia game - especially the ending - was the most obscene lack of talent in the history of GT sports. If you fools think Gregory is our savior - you are so misled.

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

Props to CBG for having the guts to use Wamer as a defensive sub late in the game after it became obvious that Bolden couldn't stay in front of anyone.  We are using a walk-on for valuable minutes in crunch time.

Also props to Coach for keeping the team loose and ready to win the game.  If you were at the game and watching the huddle before the last two possessions, there were some smiles from the guys.  The team looks like it respects and genuinely likes Coach.


I also give props to CBG for allowing Holsey and Miller to make moves with the ball in their hands.  They are starting to show the ability to do more than just play low in the post.  Of course they are both 5th year Srs so you might say its about time.


It was nice to get the win no matter who the opponent was.  All ACC wins are good wins.  I hope we carry on with some confidence against Duke.  Keep playing hard D, get the ball into the big guys and good things will happen. 

TechTroll13
TechTroll13

Heyward is doing a great job of not making mistakes and his confidence is growing to make some offensive moves and take shots.

I think you can take what CBG said about Heyward and apply that is what the Pooles are not.

wreckmaniac
wreckmaniac

Sounds like this team may be ready to be very competitive with Carter back in the lineup.  Both Georges-Hunt and Miller show they can play a great game but its  never knowing what to expect from them that makes this team very unpredictable.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

Good to see Heyward take a shot or two. He has a nice stroke....if he takes his time and doesn't rush it, be under control, and finish it! Like Bolden. Heyward has passed up open shots in the past. He also drove some...not bad!


On the last shot, look at Bolden. He's on the other side of the court watching! Why wasn't he going to the off side to rebound/stickback just in case? This team likes to watch the ball "hit the floor" before they try to get it. They need to be more aggressive going for the ball!

GTQBdefender
GTQBdefender

BTW great reporting Ken in that Gregory trusts you enough to reveal what is going on behind the scenes.

It helps to put him in a better light.

GTQBdefender
GTQBdefender

With Heyward developing and showing he has more skills to show us and with Carter Jr and Georges Hunt returning, I can begin to be optimistic about next year. Hopefully the center coming to Tech can develop fast.

We also have Jorgenson and Stacey Poole if he stays.

Gregory's comments allow us to see he can coach and that some of his problem is with players who were here who possibly do not learn from criticism. I am much higher on Heyward knowing he listens and tries hard to improve. I do not like knocking either Vad Lee or Solomon Poole and my tendency is to, perhaps unfairly, blame the coach in such situations.

But he is the one getting the big bucks.

Maybe it is just sad that some of the most skilled players we have gotten are just not a good fit with either the offense or the college.

I hate to see Vad go.

Since the early signee for basketball is a much rarer occurrence than in football, maybe that should be the excuse for Solomon Poole.

Hookedonshortpasses
Hookedonshortpasses

Carter playing close to the basket is a good thing.  

If I had a magic wand, I'd make one short guard about 6"7" on D..being short does not bother his passing.

AndrewFrancis
AndrewFrancis

I am glad we got this W, but it was a game we were expected to win, and probably should have won by a bigger margin. I hate to sound pessimistic because I do believe this team is exerting a tremendous amount of effort and we have some pretty decent talent. That said, we  are a 13-12 team. we need to go 3-2 down the stretch and go 2-1 in the ACC tournament to wrap up some sort of postseason bid if we want to call this season a success or at least say were continuing to trend in the right direction. Keep playing hard Jackets.

Pistol66
Pistol66

Radar123, I don't believe Coach has added to his statement about "repeated team rule violations and a character issue". I believe Solomon was not where he was supposed to be when he was out with his migraines and then didn't tell Coach the truth when he confronted him. Just speculation, but this Coach is a straight shooter and he treats his players with respect and as men! Some fans have said he is running Solomon off, but with our guard situation so lean, why would he do that unless Solomon deserved it. As to the game, what a win! BC played a very good game and Hanlan iwas very good! The Jackets fought all night and Heyward was awesome! He is a pass first point and our three big men are benefitting from it! Miller, Holsey, and Carter were relentless inside and dominated the boards and the game! Classic our inside game versus their threes! Georges-Hunt grew up tonight and was the edge we needed down the stretch! Hope Golden can play Tuesday as the referees will ignore the new rule and allow the dookies to grab and hold all night and that will wear Corey down! But if we play like we did tonight, ignore the threes and pound it inside all night, it will be a long night for Duke as they are very soft inside! Finally, if Daniel Miller is not first or second team All ACC it will be a CRIME as he is the best big man in the league this season despite being double teamed every time he touches the ball! GO JACKETS and THWG and Duke!

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

Ken, BC shot such a high percentage due to TECH having a rotation of two healthy guards, and with one of the two be a defensive liability. This is where we really miss Morris's minutes, especially with Golden out as well. To win any ACC game with just two guards, one being a freshman, is a major accomplishment!

I predict this team gives Duke all they can handle, provided Golden is back to close to 100%.

GTQBdefender
GTQBdefender

Gregory showed some coaching skills getting the ball to Georges Hunt in a cleverly designed play.  MGH had proved in last year's upset of Miami that he was a good choice and Gregory went to him at least twice; two decisions that pulled out the win. I would have renewed season tickets if there was more of this (well-designed game ending plays) last year. I like what is developing between Coach Gregory and Heyward. In Hewitt's last years, one and done players were regularly criticized by many. I'm sorry if Tech fans do not want to hear this but Golden is a one a done transfer. Without his injury, Heyward would not be developing as much for next year.

GTQBdefender
GTQBdefender

So is Gregory saying Solomon Poole is not coachable, that he came with an attitude that he already knows it all. As I said before, bringing him in early when the person is not ready or prepared for college is a mistake for both parties. The early sign up for football gives the young man time in school and on campus before he hits the playing field. I am glad - though some of u will criticize me for admitting it - that Golden got a minor injury that has given Heyward more ACC experience. Golden seems to be accepted by his teammates but that is not always the case, especially concerning QBs, when a transfer comes in and wins the QB job from a guy who chose Tech first and has a lot of friends on the team who may disagree. See Bill Lewis's last year.

FBYJ
FBYJ

These guys have had a few heart-breaking losses this year, so it was good to see them finally come from behind and take the win.  We still have some roster issues because of all the injuries and such, but this team can't be faulted for lack of effort.  I wish them nothing but the best as they close out the season.

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

@GTBee It makes me chuckle knowing that you're pissed that we won.  What a play call at the end by Gregory.  hahaha you're a loser.

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

@Radar123  I was going to post this separately but I will reply to your post with my thought - Although I appreciate what Golden has done for the team this year, his injury might be a blessing in disguise as Heyward has had to step up and G-Hunt has again had the role of taker of the last shot put in his hands.  These are things that will help this year and next.


Now, Radar, why are you not renewing your season tickets because you didn't see something last year?  Are you a Tech Man (or Woman) that stands behind the program through thick and thin or just a sidewalk fan that will only show up if we are winning big?  If you are worried about Gregory, it's not his coaching that is an issue. He's proved to me that he can coach. But you gotta have the players.  He better recruit or we will forever be a bottom of the pack ACC team.

BearCasey
BearCasey

@Radar123 Solomon Poole has ACC level talent.  However, best I can tell, he had behavioral/emotional "issues" in high school. I (and I bet CBG,too) had hoped that being reunited with his bother would help the "attitude" (for want of a better term) part of Solomon's game.  It was a gamble that didn't work out.  It was worth a try because he has 4-star talent.  We will probably never know the full story.