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Georgia Tech Basketball: Robert Carter Jr. Dominates In ACC Tournament Victory

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Carter Jr.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Depending on how far the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets advance in this year’s ACC tournament, they might be forgiven for wondering what might have been when it comes to 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Robert Carter Jr. The Thomasville, GA native showed Yellow Jackets fans, his teammates and most importantly, the Boston College Eagles, what he is capable of Wednesday night; Carter Jr. scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in Georgia Tech’s 73-70 overtime win over the Eagles in the first round of the ACC tournament at Greensboro, NC.

The win improved Georgia Tech to 16-16 on the season after a 6-12 campaign in the ACC, but that conference record doesn’t tell the whole story about the Yellow Jackets this season. Carter Jr. missed 10 ACC games and Georgia Tech was a woeful 3-7 in those games, only beating the likes of Notre Dame, Boston College and Wake Forest — all teams who, like Georgia Tech, finished low enough in the conference to be playing during Wednesday’s trio of first-round games.

Georgia Tech was a different team with Carter Jr. in the lineup, and while the Yellow Jackets continued to struggle for a few games once Carter Jr. returned, Georgia Tech has found a decent stride late in the season. The Yellow Jackets upset Syracuse 67-62, and that has sparked Georgia Tech’s current three-game winning streak (the other win was over Virginia Tech). Carter Jr. has scored 48 points and grabbed 26 rebounds in those three wins, good for an average of 16 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.

The Yellow Jackets take on Clemson Thursday in the second round of the ACC tournament. While the Tigers are always a threat thanks to the great play of All-ACC First-Teamer K.J. McDaniels, continued strong play by Carter Jr. and more of a contribution from center Daniel Miller (five points, five rebounds vs. Boston College) could spark the Yellow Jackets to another upset and a quarterfinal matchup with the Duke Blue Devils.

Ed Morgans is an ACC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @writered21 and add him to your network on Google.

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2013-14 ACC Basketball Season Grades: Georgia Tech Struggling for Relevance





Remember Georgia Tech? Remember Kenny Anderson and Dennis Scott? The days of Georgia Tech’s time as a nationally-known college basketball program have long since passed. And the 2013-14 season did nothing to bring the Yellow Jackets back to the front burner of hoops thought. Georgia Tech again struggled majorly in the ACC, finishing the season 6-12 in the ACC and 16-17 mediocrity. While Georgia Tech’s overall records screams an up and down year, the ACC mark continues a trend for the Yellow Jackets. The once proud program led by then-head coach Bobby Cremins hasn’t won more than seven conference games since 2007.

That trend didn’t change this season. Georgia Tech is 21-47 the last four seasons in league play. Whether it’s talent, coaching or just apathy as the ACC has gotten larger, the Yellow Jackets seem to be forgotten on the regional and national scenes. Here’s an evaluation on both sides of the ball, plus overall, for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in 2013-14.

OFFENSE: For a couple years now, Georgia Tech’s offense hasn’t been effective. This year, the Yellow Jackets managed just 66.7 points per game, 281st nationally. A big factor in that was poor shooting. Georgia Tech hit just 43.1 percent of its shots from the field. Also, the Yellow Jackets were a modest 31.5 percent from three-point range, which in this era where it seems like everyone hits in the 40- to 45-percent range, won’t cut it. Trae Golden led the club with 13.3 PPG as one of four Yellow Jackets to average in double figures. Georgia Tech was even weak from the free-throw line, shooting 68.4 percent. GRADE: D.

DEFENSE: While forcing turnovers wasn’t Georgia Tech’s thing, the Yellow Jackets weren’t bad defensively. Georgia Tech ranked in the top 100 of the country in scoring defense and blocks per game. The Yellow Jackets also grabbed almost 25 defensive rebounds per game. But the defense had a lot of pressure on it game after game because of the inability of the offense to put points on the board. Under the circumstances, the defense did fairly well given all it was asked to do if Georgia Tech was going to have any chance to win. GRADE: B.

OVERALL: The 2013-14 season was another year in which Georgia Tech was just kind of there. The Yellow Jackets have been under .500 overall in seven of the last nine seasons and seem a world away from their NCAA Tournament title game appearance in 2004. There’s a lot of work to be done for the Yellow Jackets to be relevant again. They were average for what they were expected to be, which wasn’t much. GRADE: C.

Twitter-style, the 2013-14 Yellow Jackets in 140 (or less): “And finally Saturday in the ACC, Georgia Tech lost. Now, back to the Georgia State Fencing Championship. #GTHoopsDoNotMatter”

Ed Morgans is an ACC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @writered21 and add him to your network on Google

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North Carolina Tar Heels Prove They Can Grind Out Win





Shots weren’t falling, players were riddled with foul trouble, and North Carolina overcame it all to pick up their second straight ACC victory (78-65) at Georgia Tech Wednesday.

This game was incredibly important for the Tar Heels for multiple reasons. The Tar Heels desperately needed another conference victory, they had to show they could win on the road, and they needed a win without having everything go right. The Tar Heels found out they could win when the game doesn’t go according to plan.

The Tar Heels were held to only 44 percent shooting and had to play much slower than they probably wanted. However, Carolina was able to run their offense in the half court successfully enough to counter Georgia Tech, slowing the game down. The Yellow Jackets clearly did not want to run with the Tar Heels and kept the game close for about 30 minutes. Tech’s pace did not allow Marcus Paige to run up-and-down and the offense took some time to get rolling.

What helped counter the lack of offense was a strong defensive effort that carried over from the Clemson game over the weekend. North Carolina held Georgia Tech to only 43 percent shooting and 4-of-15 from behind the arc. This played a big role in allowing UNC to figure things out on offense. Finally, Carolina started hitting shots and that gave the team the confidence they needed. The offense actually played surprisingly well in sets, as is evident with the 20 team assists.

North Carolina took all of it in and expanded on a one-point halftime lead slowly, but surely. Paige shook off a couple less-than-great performances and did a little bit of everything en route to 17 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

James Michael McAdoo, despite sitting much of the second half with four fouls, notched a team-high 17 points before fouling out. Kennedy Meeks also continued his recent solid play with nine points and a team-high 10 boards. He could be a key player down the stretch as North Carolina tries to find a way into NCAA tournament. Carolina also hit its free throws — 15-of-21 — going against their season average of around 61 percent.

It may not have been pretty for coach Roy Williams and his Tar Heels, but picking up the win Wednesday could be as important as any other victory this season.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC college basketball writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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