In an unexpected turn of events, the Georgia Tech basketball team has provided the type of explosive offensive play so far that was expected out of the football team in 2015.
Thursday night at McCamish Pavilion was no different, as Tech held a wire-to-wire lead with points coming at ease in a 107-77 beatdown.
Just three games in, the Jackets have amassed 292 total points for an average of just over 97 per game, which, for what it's worth, would be over 33 more points per game than the team scored just a season ago.
"Don't get used to it," coach Brian Gregory said laughingly about the early gaudy numbers from the Jackets. (I was) just really pleased with out focus and intensity to start the game. I was excited to see how we would respond after a well played game and important victory on Monday to come back and start the way we did and play with the energy level that we did, that was good to see. We have five seniors, so you have to count on those guys for that and have to trust them, and they did a very good job with that. Offensive executive and unselfishness was very good, so I was obviously pleased with that."
After struggling against Tennessee from the perimeter, the Jackets made 11 of 24 attempts from outside, including making their first four tries in the opening minutes of the game to grab an early lead that never faltered.
"Right now, we're focused on 'are we getting quality shots,' said Gregory. "Are players making the next pass to go from good to better in shot selection? We did that on Monday night ... we just didn't make them. It's always better when the ball goes in the first time."
The Tech offense was once again able to move the ball around in a similar fashion that the NBA team down the road does. With ball movement comes defensive breakdowns, and with defensive breakdowns comes open shots and offensive rebounds.The new up-tempo offense has looked as well as anyone could've hoped for this early in the season.
"If you break down the defense, they're gonna have a hard time keeping our guys off the glass," said Gregory. "We're sharing the ball, we had 23 assists again today. I don't know what our assist-to-turnover total is in three games, but it's pretty good. We have a long way to go, we have to keep getting better offensively. When we defend well and rebound, then we can get out and run. It's kind of a reward, and I think our guys are buying into it."
Perhaps going unappreciated in the three-point shooting parade so far has been the consistency of the post players. Charles Mitchell, Nick Jacobs, James White, and Ben Lammers combined for 40 points and 34 rebounds on 17-28 shooting. Lammers' eight points and nine rebounds were both career highs. Mitchell has three double-doubles to begin the season.
"Keep getting double-doubles," said Mitchell when asked where he goes from opening the season so strongly. "I'm trying to be the leading double-double player in the country personally. If you got it, you get it, just keep on pushing forward and not try to have a letdown ... try and go up from here."
Josh Heath and Travis Jorgenson combined to have a great night with ball handling duties as they combined for 18 points, six assists, and one turnover on 8-11 shooting, while Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith tallied 10 assists, two turnovers, and six makes from downtown.
For the first time since the 2006-07 season, the Jackets have scored 100 points twice in one season. They'll play East Tennessee State on Sunday at home continuing the NIT Season Tip-Off looking to go 4-0.
Georgia Tech Stats
# Player PTS FG 3FG FT REB A PF
00* MITCHELL 15 6-11 0-0 3-4 12 0 3
02* SMITH 14 5-9 4-6 0-0 2 5 0
03* HUNT 13 4-6 2-3 3-4 1 5 3
11* HEATH 13 6-7 1-2 0-0 0 3 1
32* JACOBS 12 5-7 0-0 2-3 8 3 1
01 JACKSON 6 2-8 1-4 1-2 0 1 2
05 HEYWARD 2 1-2 0-1 0-0 1 0 0
10 JORGENSON 5 2-4 1-3 0-0 1 3 2
12 STEPHENS 14 5-11 2-5 2-2 8 2 1
33 WHITE 5 2-3 0-0 1-2 5 0 4
42 ROWLAND 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 2
44 LAMMERS 8 4-7 0-0 0-1 9 1 1
TOTALS 107 42-75 11-24 12-18 51 23 20
GAME PCT 56.0 45.8 66.7
Are the Jackets for real?