The Georgia Tech basketball team opened the 2014-2015 season with a win against Georgia on Friday night.
In the first season opening meeting since 1977, the Yellow Jackets beat UGA for the fourth consecutive time with an 80-73 victory.
Charles Mitchell was spectacular in his first career game with Tech after transferring to Atlanta from Maryland. He ended the night with 20 points (8-10 FG) and nine rebounds. Mitchell was relentless in the paint all night long as he battled UGA defenders and dominated the boards. He showed a polished post game as well as impressive strength.
"Me and Demarco always say, let's be the best big men in the ACC," Mitchell said. "Let's go out and play every night. We take pride in rebounding."
It was Mitchell's first game against Georgia, and he was surprised by how much it meant. "It was great. I really didn't know the emotion or the rivalry until I stepped on the court and saw the emotion of the fans."
Quinton Stephens added 22 points to lead the Jackets in scoring on 6-8 shooting from the three-point line. Stephens was feeling it all night long from outside, and he even banked one in from the wing at one point in the second half. "It was one of those nights," said Stephens when asked about his shooting performance. "Things were falling for me, teammates were getting me open. I got the opportunity, so I just took it."
Marcus Georges-Hunt had a solid night with 11 points, five assists, and four rebounds.
Georgia Tech shot 44% for the game compared to 42% for Georgia. Free throws once again left plenty of room for improvement as the Jackets shot 63% from the line. The main struggles were from Georges-Hunt (1-5) and Robert Sampson (1-4).
After a dominant performance on the boards in the first half, UGA was able to narrow the gap in the second half out-rebounding the Jackets 19-14. Tech out-rebounded Georgia 41-36 overall.
Travis Jorgenson played his first game with the Jackets since his knee injury last season. "Travis played a really good first half, but he didn't play as well in the second half," head coach Brian Gregory said. "He got in trouble a little bit in the second half trying to make too much, too early."
Gregory was very satisfied with the team's performance. "We got some good basketball from a lot of different guys. We moved the ball better, we shared the ball better," said Gregory. "Guys don't mind that there's a couple guys that have a little more freedom on offense, but overall it was a step in the right direction."
Gregory hopes the team can win more close games than they did a year ago, and tonight was the first step for a young team. "We're going to play in a lot of close games," Gregory said. "If we defend like we can, and then rebound the ball, we're going to be in close games, so you've got to make some crucial plays at critical times to be successful."
The defense was effective but not necessarily in the way they have been in the past. A few key charges drawn changed the outlook of the game late in the second half. "Daniel Miller ain't back there anymore. He's across the ocean," said Gregory when asked about the big charges drawn. "He's not getting any blocked shots, and we're not getting any blocked shots. We need full-body rotations and to pick up charges, and I thought we did a pretty good job of that today."
Brian Gregory is now 4-0 against Georgia since taking over as the Jackets head coach. "It's important. One night a year, playing in this program takes on a little extra meaning because you're playing Georgia," Gregory said about his fourth consecutive win. "For a year, we get to say whatever we want to say, I guess."
The Jackets will be back in action against more Bulldogs on Tuesday night at home against Alabama A&M at 7:00