GAME NOTES: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets open up a four-game homestand on Saturday, when they welcome the 20th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers to McCamish Pavilion for an ACC affair.
Tony Bennett's Cavaliers have won six straight games and nine of their 10 ACC tilts to sit just one game behind league-leading and undefeated Syracuse. Virginia continued its winning ways on Wednesday, defeating Boston College, 77-67
Brian Gregory's Yellow Jackets are hovering just over .500 at 12-11 overall. ACC play has proved to be much more challenging for Tech which is just 3-7. The team has dropped three of its last four games, including an ugly 45-41 setback at Clemson on Tuesday.
Georgia Tech holds a 39-35 series edge, but Virginia has closed the gap with wins in six of the last seven meetings.
Not really known for their offensive firepower, the Cavaliers put it all together in the win over Boston College, shooting .482 from the floor, en route to its third highest scoring total of the season. Malcolm Brogdon led the way with a strong state line that included 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Justin Anderson and Anthony Gill added some punch coming off the bench with 13 points apiece.
A defensive-minded team under Bennett, Virginia ranks among the top teams in the country in both scoring defense (56.0 ppg) and field-goal percentage defense (.382). The Cavs have also excelled on the boards, with a +6.7 rebounding margin. Brogdon is a versatile guard who leads the team in scoring (12.0 ppg) and assists (2.4 apg) and ranks second in rebounding (5.6 rpg). Fellow guard Joe Harris also boasts of a double-digit scoring average (11.3 ppg), with Anderson (9.5 ppg) just under that mark. Akil Mitchell (6.8 ppg) gives the team a presence up front as a rebounding force, grabbing 6.7 rpg.
Tech is not an offensive juggernaut and that could be cause for concern against a stingy team like Virginia. The Yellow Jackets come in averaging a modest 68.5 ppg on .437 shooting. There is some scoring depth, although that took a hit a few weeks ago with the loss of Robert Carter Jr. (10.3 ppg), who may make his return in this one. Guard Trae Golden leads the team with 14.0 ppg and is also the team's top distributor, doling out 3.3 apg. However, he didn't suit up against Clemson and is questionable for this game with a groin injury. Forward Marcus Georges-Hunt (12.4 ppg) and center Daniel Miller (11.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg) form a solid frontcourt duo.
Neither team was very efficient in the loss at Clemson this week, as Georgia Tech shot just .348 from the floor, while the Tigers delivered at a .319 clip. Miller was the best player on the floor, but his 18 points and eight rebounds weren't enough to push his team to victory. Georges-Hunt was a distant second in the scoring column for the Yellow Jackets with nine points, although seven of those came from the free-throw line.
The Yellow Jackets have competed well on their home floor, but without multiple scoring options and at less than full strength, Tech won't match up well against the red-hot Cavs.
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