GAME NOTES: A couple of struggling ACC teams are set to square off this afternoon at Cassell Coliseum, as the Virginia Tech Hokies play host to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Virginia Tech won in overtime when these teams faced each other on Jan. 12. The Hokies have won four straight meetings to take a 14-4 lead in the all-time series, and they are a perfect 7-0 against the Yellow Jackets in Blacksburg.
Georgia Tech has split its last four contests but is coming off a last-second loss to Florida State on Tuesday. The Yellow Jackets have not fared well on the road this season, as they are winless in all five tries. Still, with 12 wins overall, they have already surpassed last season's total.
Virginia Tech is stuck in a tailspin that has seen the team drop five straight and nine of its last 11 outings. Most recently, the Hokies were dealt a 60-55 home loss from Maryland on Thursday. Following today's tilt, they'll hit the road to face Virginia and NC State next week.
The Yellow Jackets dug themselves an early 13-0 hole against FSU, but were able to weather the early storm and eventually went into the locker room with a 27-26 halftime lead. The teams continued to battle back and forth throughout the second half, but the Seminoles ultimately prevailed when Michael Snaer narrowly beat the final buzzer with the deciding layup. The Yellow Jackets shot just 38 percent from the floor for the game, but they managed to hang around by draining 7-of-17 3-pointers (.412) and forcing 18 turnovers. Still, they put just 54 points on the board as not a single player scored in double figures for GT. On the season, Marcus Georges-Hunt (10.2 ppg) and Robert Carter, Jr. (10.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg) are the team's only double-digit scorers. Despite their offensive deficiencies, the Yellow Jackets have remained strong on the defensive end, holding foes to 38.5-percent shooting and 59.5 ppg.
The Hokies boast the nation's leading scorer in Erick Green, who averages 25.2 ppg. Jarell Eddie chips in with 13.9 ppg and 6.2 rpg, but the scoring contributions from elsewhere on the roster have been sparse. As a result of those limited options, the Hokies have become a rather easy team to defend in the halfcourt. In the loss to Maryland, the Hokies shot just 33.8 percent from the floor and went a dismal 2-of-18 from beyond the arc (.111). They also lost the rebounding battle, 46-38. Green was his usual self, finishing with a game- high 29 points, although he needed 23 field-goal attempts to reach that total. Cadarian Raines chipped in with 14 points but Eddie had a rough night, as he shot just 1-of-8 from the floor and finished with twice as many fouls (4) than points (2).
It's not too late for either of these teams to make a late-season push, but it has to start now. The Hokies have had the hot hand lately against Georgia Tech, and they are unbeaten in seven meetings in Blacksburg.
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