Georgia Tech tops Georgia in hoops opener, 80-73


The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Georgia Bulldogs got together on the basketball court on Friday evening in Atlanta, and for the most part, there was high-end basketball on display. When the dust settled, however, the Jackets were the recipients of an 80-73 win to begin the season on a positive note, while the Dawgs were left to aim toward the future after an unfortunate beginning.

Georgia Tech stormed ahead by a 10-point margin at the half on the strength of hot shooting and great work on the glass. The Jackets out-rebounded the Bulldogs by a 27-17 margin in the first 20 minutes, and when Georgia Tech also converted 49% of their first-half attempts to just 31% by Georgia, that was the recipe for a 42-32 lead at the break. Georgia clearly could not be happy with the execution, while Tech got strong contributions from their newcomers, including 12 points in the half from transfer Charles Mitchell.

After the break, the play was much more even, and that is a tribute to the visiting Bulldogs. Georgia quickly charged to within single-digits, and the margin stayed there for the great majority of the final 20 minutes. However, the aforementioned Charles Mitchell connected on a bucket to give the Jackets an 8-point lead with just 1:22 remaining, and that proved to be enough for Tech to hold on, despite a mini-run by Georgia to cut the lead within three in the final 40 seconds. Travis Jorgenson iced the game with two free throws to give Georgia Tech a 76-71 advantage with 26 ticks to play, and from there, it was virtually academic on the way to a final margin of 80-73.

The Yellow Jackets were led by Charles Mitchell and Quinton Stephens, who scored 20 and 22 points, respectively. Mitchell converted 8 of his 10 field goal attempts on the way to those 20 points and 9 rebounds, while Stephens connected on a stunning six three-point attempts for 22 total points (a career-high) in addition to snatching five rebounds of his own. Both DeMarco Cox (10 points, 8 rebounds) and Marcus Georges-Hunt (11 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds) reached double figures, but this win was about Mitchell and Stephens.

On the Georgia side of things, Nemanja Djurisic led the way with 18 points, including three triples, and both Marcus Thornton (12 points) and Kenny Gaines (11 points) joined him in double-figures. It wasn’t a strong shooting night for the starting backcourt of Charles Mann and J.J. Frazier, who combined to make only 6 of their 19 attempts, and as whole, the Dawgs made only 42% from the field and 25% from beyond the 3-point arc.

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will continue their 2014-2015 campaign on November 18 against Alabama A&M, while the Georgia Bulldogs will take the floor next on November 18 against Stony Brook. Stay tuned.