Brian Gregory started off the 2014-15 season like he and most Yellow Jackets fans wanted to. With an 80-73 victory in McCamish Pavilion over the Georgia Bulldogs.
The best part of the victory is that Coach Gregory is 4-0 against UGA, and also is going to have plenty to bark about in practice despite the win over the intrastate rival.
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The Yellow Jackets established their style of play early. They owned the paint and defended well, establishing a 42-32 lead going into the half.
The problem was that they did not do a good job of maintaining that in the second half. The Bulldogs did not get within three points of the Yellow Jackets when there was 34 seconds left in the game. But for spectators, this game got closer than it needed to be with Tech dictating the style of play.
What do I mean by that? Brian Gregory in the end wants two things done at all cost, own the interior both on offense and defense, and own the boards.
Tech won the battle on the boards 38-31, but Tech got sloppy defensively at inopportune times keeping the Bulldogs in the game.
The defensive lapses are going to get tightened up, that is a fact, but it is a good thing that they happened in this game.
Those lapses are truly going to be the difference between Tech winning by 15, and winning by the margin that they ultimately won by, which was seven, in future games.
Really the defensive lapses are nitpicking because Tech played strong and controlled the game from start to finish.
Charles Mitchell established himself in front of the McCamish crowd dropping 20 points and nine boards on 8 of 10 shooting from the floor in his Yellow Jackets debut in front of family and friends, with Quinton Stephens adding an efficient team high 22 points.
Stephens hit big shots all game long. He served as the momentum killer for the Yellow Jackets because whenever UGA would mount a run, Stephens would extinguish it.
In the end, Stephens was 7 of 11 from the field and a astounding 6 of 8 from three-point land in putting up 22 points.
Nov 15, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets forward Quinton Stephens (12) grabs a rebound from Georgia Bulldogs forward Nemanja Djurisic (42) during the first half at Stegeman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Demarco Cox was also effective in the interior hitting for 10 points and eight rebounds in his first official Yellow Jackets game.
Marcus Georges-Hunt finished with 11 points, four rebounds, and five assists in this contest. However, he left you with the feeling that he could have had more of an impact on this game.
There was truly no Georgia defender that could have stayed in front of Georges-Hunt consistently. But he did not force his game tonight, though it is going to be nice to see him more aggressive against future opponents who can’t check him.
The player that gave Tech the most headache was Bulldogs forward Nemanja Jurisic who finished with 18 points.
His ability to stretch the floor and connect from deep gave Tech issues as he went 3 of 7 from three-point range.
Tech did a good job of holding UGA guard Charles Mann in check this game with him finishing with nine points on 3 of 11 shooting to go along with six assists.
Brian Gregory saw his team in real action Friday night and has to feel good about his club. He especially has to feel good about the fact that the bad things that he saw with his team are truly easy fixes.
Tech will now analyze the video tape and move onto their next McCamish matchup against Alabama A&M on the 18th.
This is a great start to Tech’s 100th year of basketball existence. Don’t tell anyone, but this team is going to be better than predicted.