Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
The Georgia Tech men’s and women’s basketball teams both traveled to Brooklyn and left with a different taste in their mouth. The men’s team ended the trip with the bitter taste of defeat after dropping two games in the Barclays Center Classic to the Mississippi Rebels and the St. John’s Red Storm. But the Lady Jackets fared a little better, taking home the LIU Turkey Classic Tournament crown by defeating Southern Utah and McNeesse State to take the title.
After having different experiences in Brooklyn, the Georgia Tech men’s and women’s basketball teams will be playing against the same school to open their play in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge, as the Illinois Fighting Illini men and women come to McCamish Pavilion.
The Men’s game between Georgia Tech and Illinois will take place Tuesday, December 3rd at 7:15 pm and will be televised on ESPN2. The game will also be available on the radio on 106.7 FM.
The Women’s game will take place the following day on Wednesday, December 4th at 7 pm and can be seen on ESPN3 as well as heard on WREK 91.1 FM.
On the Men’s side, the Yellow Jackets are coming in at 5-3 to take on a 7-0 Fighting Illini squad who will be playing only their second game outside of Champaign, Illinois. The Illini are led by 6’4 Junior Guard Rayvonte Rice who averages 17.1 ppg on 47.3 % shooting from the field. Illinois is a pretty decent rebounding team as well that boasts four players who snatch over six boards per game. Also, Illinois has comparable size to the Yellow Jackets with 6’11 Nnanna Egwu manning the middle and contributing 9.1 points and 6.6 boards to the Fighting Illini cause.
This is going to be a big game for the men’s squad as they try to snap a two game skid, and head coach Brian Gregory and his Yellow Jackets are going need to shake the debacle in Brooklyn, and give a concentrated effort against this undefeated Illinois squad. Georgia Tech will need big performances from Marcus Georges-Hunt and Trae Golden in this game. They have to be sure to not only hit shots but also take care of the basketball. Turnovers have hurt the Yellow Jackets all season, in fact, the Jackets are fifth worst in the ACC at 13.3 turnovers per game. Daniel Miller, Robert Carter Jr. and Kammeon Holsey are all going to have to contribute in taking care of business in the paint as well.
For the Women’s side, the Lady Fighting Illini will enter McCamish Pavilion with a 5-3 record. The Illinois ladies have not ventured outside of Champaign much either, playing seven straight home games after opening their season on the road against Bradley. The Illinois Ladies are led by their backcourt of 5’11 Senior guard Amber Moore (18.9 ppg, 6.6 rebs , 40% 3pt ) and 5’10 Junior guard Ivory Crawford (13.5 ppg ,5.4 rebs, 46.5% fg). Jaqui Grant holds down the block for the Lady Illini. She averages 13.1 points and grabs 6.9 boards per game.
The Lady Yellow Jackets, who also enter this game with a 5-3 record, will need to continue to build on the momentum they built in Brooklyn. Tyaunna Marshall needs to continue her hot scoring. She’s dropped 20 points on opponents in back to back games, and is the leader of this team. Freshman Kaela Davis also needs to continue to be aggressive in scoring as well. She is leading the team in scoring at 18.8 ppg. Roddreka Rodgers has been a force in the middle. She has done a great job on the glass snatching a team high 8.5 boards per game including 13 rebounds in their win against McNeese St. The Lady Yellow Jackets are +8.5 overall for the season in rebounding margin against their opponents.
There will be a lot of activity in McCamish Pavilion the next couple of days. Let’s see if Georgia Tech basketball can sweep Illinois basketball.