Coming off a loss against #8 Villanova in the NIT Tip-Off, Georgia Tech looked to get back in the win column against Wofford and did just that tonight as they cruised to a 77-61 victory thanks to a strong second half. Only up two at halftime, Tech led by as many as 25 late in the game.
Jacket fans were worried early as Tech started off 1-of-14 from the field and had just 3 points at the under 12 timeout. However, they shot 59% the rest of the way, including an 8-of-9 start to the second half.
Charles Mitchell continues to be the most important player on this team, finishing with another double-double. Chuck shot an efficient 3-of-5 from the field, adding 4 points from the free throw line and pulling in a ridiculous 15 rebounds. Coach Brian Gregory said this offseason that the most important factor for Mitchell this year would be his consistency, and he certainly has to be happy with what he has done so far, notching a double-double in every game.
Adam Smith also had an extremely efficient night, shooting 6-of-9 from the field, including 4-of-5 from behind the arc. Smith has been a bit streaky thus far, shooting 4-of-15 against ETSU and 1-of-9 against Villanova, but tonight was one of those nights you could tell he was in a zone. It is not a coincidence those two poor shooting performances correlated with losses and it is clear the GT offense looks completely different when Smith is playing well.
Looking at the box score, the biggest stat that stands out is the 40-22 advantage on the boards. In traditional Georgia Tech style, the Jackets dominated the boards including 14 offensive rebounds (6 from Mitchell). Strong rebounding has always been a staple of Brian Gregory coached teams and the Jackets are going to need to be among the ACC leaders again this year if they want to have success.
Another positive was that the Jackets were able to get to the line 29 times, compared to just 12 for Wofford. Tech converted 21 of those free throws.
In the first half, the Wofford offense appeared to be outworking the Jacket defense, but Tech's defense tightened up in the second half, where Wofford started just 4-of-16 and the Jackets started to pull away. The Terriers finished just 3-of-17 on threes, struggling to hit them all night.
All in all, this is a solid win over a team that has made the tournament the past two seasons, but Tech cannot continue to start as slow as they did tonight. When conference play begins, a 1-of-14 start to the game will lead to a loss every time in a conference as tough as the ACC.
Tech's next game will be this Saturday as they head on the road to take on Tulane. The game is scheduled to tip at 5:00 EST and will be aired on CBS Sports Network.