As it has gone so often over the past few seasons, the Yellow Jackets lost an absolute heartbreaker to the Hokies on Wednesday, just missing their third straight victory. Saturday in Charlottesville, Josh Pastner’s squad will wrap up its longest road trip of the season with another tough Atlantic Coast Conference matchup.
Georgia Tech (11-7, 3-3) has far surpassed the pre-season pundits already with three ACC wins, and is surprisingly still sitting right in the middle of the conference standings with February rapidly approaching.
Perhaps a bit sooner than expected, the Yellow Jackets are coming of age and meshing as a team, and other teams are taking notice. It’ll be difficult for Tech to be overlooked as the conference schedule rolls on.
Last Time Out:
In Blacksburg, center Ben Lammers was an absolute beast on the boards. With eight blocks, six rebounds, and a dozen points, the big man was a force in Tech’s 62-61 loss.
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Quinton Stephens, who led his team with 18 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of steals, was a factor from start to finish, especially beyond the arc.
For Tech to get back in the win column, however, the Jackets will need a lot more points off the bench than they got at Virginia Tech if they plan to win close games in the ACC.
Know the Opponent:
Virginia (14-3, 4-2 ACC) is fresh off a 71-54 road win at Boston College, which was a third straight victory.
The Cavaliers also took down Wake Forest and Clemson, and are 7-2 at home so far on the season.
In a series that’s now 40-38 all-time in favor of the Yellow Jackets, Virginia has won nine of the last 11 games versus Georgia Tech. The Cavaliers have won six of the last 10 when hosting the Ramblin’ Wreck.
Players to Watch:
Georgia Tech: C Ben Lammers
Virginia has scored over 70 points in each of their last four games, and one of the main factors that kept Georgia Tech close all game at Blacksburg on Wednesday was the tough defensive play of Ben Lammers.
If the Junior from Texas can keep the Cavaliers honest inside on both sides of the ball, he can help keep the Jackets in the game versus a consistently high scoring opponent with rebounds and blocks. Lammers has to have a solid game for Tech to have a chance.
Virginia: G London Perrantes
Last season as a junior, London Perrantes led the ACC in three point percentage (48.8%), and had big games for Virginia in wins against Wake Forest and Clemson.
The Los Angeles native only had six points versus Boston College so look for him to be back as a factor for the Cavaliers Saturday against Tech.
Virginia has been good at home this season, and has a winning record against Georgia Tech at home, historically speaking.
For the Yellow Jackets to have a chance in Charlottesville Saturday, the bench has to step up and become a factor for Tech. Until that happens on a more consistent basis, the advantage goes to the Cavaliers. 68-76 in favor of Virginia.