Virginia Tech Looks To Break Two-Game Losing Streak Against Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner has his team playing very good defense, but they lack offensive punch. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech

Date: Wednesday, February 13
Time: 8 PM
TV: Raycom (Affliate List)

Coming off a two-game losing streak for the first time this season, No. 16/22 Virginia Tech will host Georgia Tech in Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night.  The Hokies (18-5, 7-4) will be looking to right the ship and hold serve at home, while the Yellow Jackets (11-13, 3-8) are playing for pride at this point in the season.

Offensively, Virginia Tech has been a much different team without Justin Robinson.  The Hokies averaged 74.8 points per game in eight ACC games with Robinson running the point, but in three games without him they have averaged only 54 points per game.  He averages 14.4 points and a little over five assists per game, so the 20-point drop in production makes sense.  Tech has been able to keep playing good defense without Robinson, but nobody has been able to replace his offensive production.

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On Wednesday night, they’ll be facing a Georgia Tech team that is very scrappy on the offensive end, but lacks offensive firepower.  It’s very likely that we’ll be in for another low-scoring, ugly affair similar to the last three games.  The Hokies beat the Yellow Jackets 52-49 back in January, and that was an ugly game even with Justin Robinson on the court.

Georgia Tech comes into Wednesday’s game having lost five straight, and they haven’t scored more than 63 points since January 12.  They’ve failed to score 60 points in their last five games, and they’ve failed to score 50 in two of those losses.  Here are their most recent performances…

Notre Dame: 63-61 W
at Duke: 66-53 L
vs. UNC: 77-54 L
at FSU: 59-49 L
vs. Clemson: 65-42 L
at Notre Dame: 69-49 L
Average Score: 61-53 L

The Jackets aren’t just losing…they’re losing ugly.

The Drive for 25In the first meeting between these schools, Virginia Tech shot just 29.8% from the field and were just 5-of-27 (18.5%) from three-point range.  However, they were still able to win the game because they had only nine turnovers while forcing 18, and they had a 13-3 advantage in offensive rebounding.  As a result, the Hokies outscored the Yellow Jackets 7-1 in second chance points and 19-14 in points off turnovers.

Those offensive rebounds and the turnover advantage created more possession for Virginia Tech, and they ended up winning the game by three points.  Offensive rebounds, turnovers and extra possessions will again be critical in tonight’s game.

Ten different players have started games for Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner this season.  Here’s the starting lineup he used in their most recent game.

G Jose Alvarado (6-0, 176, So.): 11.7 ppg.  Alvarado leads the team in assists (75) and steals (43).  The assists number is impressive considering the Jackets have no consistent scoring threats.

G Michael Devoe (6-4, 188, Fr.): 9.2 ppg, 39 steals.  Devoe is probably Georgia Tech’s most consistent three-point threat at 37.3% on 67 attempts.

G Curtis Haywood II (6-5, 202, So.): 6.5 ppg, 51 assists, 30 steals.  Haywood has attempted 101 three-pointers this season, but made just 27.7% of them.

F Abdoulaye Gueye (6-9, 217, r-Sr.): 7.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg.  Gueye is Georgia Tech’s most experienced player, and he provided a lot of energy for the Jackets in their first meeting with the Hokies. 

C James Banks III (6-9, 243, Jr.): 10.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg.  Banks leads the team with 58 blocks and converts his field goals at a 55% clip.

To illustrate how inefficient Georgia Tech has been offensively this year, they have two different players who have attempted more than 100 three-pointers despite shooting below 30%.

Jose Alvarado: 31-of-112 (27.7%)
Curtis Haywood II: 28-of-101 (27.7%)

That said, Alvarado is dangerous when he gets a hot hand.  He had 20 points against the Hokies in the first meeting, and he single-handedly carried his team in the first half.  He scored 17 of his 20 points in the first 20 minutes while going 6-of-7 from the field and 3-of-3 from the outside.  However, he cooled off considerably in the second half, missing all four of his field goal attempts.

Georgia Tech has struggled everywhere they’ve played this season, but they have especially struggled on the road.  The Yellow Jackets are only 2-6 in road games this season, with a 73-59 victory over Syracuse in the Carrier Dome (try to figure that one out!) as well as a 69-65 victory over a mediocre Arkansas team back in December.  Meanwhile, Virginia Tech is 11-1 in Cassell Coliseum, though they did lose their most recent home game 72-64 to Louisville.

A victory would push the Hokies to 19-5 overall and 8-4 in the ACC, meaning they would be just one win away from a fourth-consecutive 20-win season, as well as being one win away from clinching a .500 record in ACC play.


12 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. It’s deja vu all over again. We’re in the same situation that we were in 2 years ago. It’s time to let Ty Outlaw get a minimum of 12-15 shots a game. Unleash the fury, Ty.

    I looked at the the stats from the last 2 games. KJ & Ty have been our most effective, consistent players on O. The offense needs to go through them.

    NAW is PG by default. He is going to have turnovers but he’s our best option to handle the ball & facilitate for KJ & Ty. I’d give him the green light to take whatever shot he’s comfortable taking given his talent.

    Med brings energy and I love his attitude but he’s a liability dribbling the ball and his shot has been struggling, so I would recommend that he work on crashing the offensive glass and getting out in transition for easy dunks if possible. Otherwise, just hustle and try to help create scoring opportunities for Ty & KJ.

    How does Bede not have 1 FT attempt in the last 2 games while playing close to 80 minutes? Unbelievable. I’d bench him for Chico.

  2. This will be a good barometer of what to expect from a team without JR for the rest of the season. Meaning if we can’t win this one it’s hard to find another win until he returns. A win might give us some much-needed confidence. The line on this for us is -12 which seems really high for for two teams that are offensively challenged.

    1. Fully agree, tonight is a must Win. Pitt is a “maybe win” game, but without J Rob I don’t see another W. Sure hope I’m wrong. Hill, Bede, and Outlaw must contribute, especially Bede. GO HOKIES!!

  3. The 20 point drop only makes sense if you bring in a player to replace JR who can’t score or can’t dish out any assists – hummmmm. Maybe give up a bit a of D and try a guy who doesn’t go 0-7, close to now assists, and doesn’t draw fouls? I hope we see a tweaked line-up tonight. Go Hokies!

    1. Part of the scoring drop can be explained by pace — the offense seems significantly slower since JR went out.

      I was shocked to find that for the season, we are ranking #344 out of 353 for “Pace” (possessions per 40 minutes) at 65.1. (I thought we were a lot faster than that.) But we are at 58.6 for the last three games. 7 fewer possessions makes for fewer points.

      1. 3 things:

        1. Offensively, we take up a lot of clock because Buzz wants his many touches before a shot. So while the ball & players don’t look slow, the possessions do eat up significant time.

        2. We have been pressing more this year, which is chewing up more clock on the defensive side.

        3. Our defense has been tighter, which has forced opponents to have to move the ball around the perimeter more to open up space. That, too, takes up clock time!

    2. LOL. Yeah, that guy is sitting on the bench and Buzz just refuses to play him. That Buzz! I wish he would learn how to coach.

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