Georgia Tech seeking rare win in Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC (Sports Network) – Winners of 13 of their last 14 games,
the fourth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels seek to continue that trend this
evening, as they play host to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in ACC action
from Chapel Hill. These are two of the youngest teams in the conference, but
they haven’t played like it, as both have gotten the job done thus far.
Roy Williams’ Tar Heels are a solid 16-2 on the season and put some distance
between themselves and a bitter 94-88 loss to Virginia Tech last weekend,
with a 77-55 rout of nationally-ranked Clemson on Wednesday. With the
victory, UNC moved to 3-1 in ACC play.
Paul Hewitt’s Yellow Jackets are just a half game behind the Tar Heels at
2-1 in ACC action. The team has won two straight and seven of its last
eight, including last weekend’s 88-80 shootout against Florida State.
North Carolina owns a huge 57-19 advantage in the all-time series with
Georgia Tech and has won the last 10 matchups at home. Tech’s last win in
Chapel Hill took place in 1996.
Tech may feature three freshmen in the starting lineup, but that hasn’t
prevented some gaudy offensive numbers this year. The team is averaging a
hardy 84.0 ppg, while shooting .513 from the field. In addition, this squad
knows how to play defense as well, limiting the opposition to just 67.4 ppg,
on .418 shooting. The team is also forcing 17.6 turnovers per game. Point
guard Javaris Crittenton is one of the better freshmen in the country. He
leads the team in scoring (14.2 ppg), the ACC in assists (5.9 apg) and ranks
seventh in the conference in steals, while shooting .447 from behind the arc.
Another exciting addition to the roster has been Thaddeus Young, who is
netting 14.1 ppg. The loss of Lewis Clinch (13.2 ppg) has certainly hurt this
team’s scoring depth, but the hope is that players like Anthony Morrow (9.1
ppg) and Ra’Sean Dickey (9.1 ppg, team-high 6.1 rpg) can fill the void. In the
big win over the Seminoles, Tech fell behind early, but got career
performances from Crittenton and Mario West to prevail. Crittenton scored a
career-high 23 points, while West notched a career-high 18. Morrow was also
instrumental off the bench, adding 17 points in 28 minutes of work.
Much like the Yellow Jackets, the young Tar Heels have excelled at the
offensive end of the floor this year, netting a robust 88.1 ppg, on .503
shooting. In addition, the athletic Heels enjoy a +22.1 scoring margin and a
+11.4 rebounding edge. All-American Tyler Hansbrough is as good as it gets in
the frontcourt, averaging 18.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game (both team-
highs). Freshman Brandan Wright (.650 shooting percentage, 15.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
has been a welcome addition down low, while two more freshmen, Wayne Ellington
(12.3 ppg) and Ty Lawson (8.8 ppg, team-high 92 assists) have made immediate
impacts in the backcourt. In the 22-point rout of Clemson this week, Wright
led four Tar Heels in double figures, scoring 17 points, on 8-of-10 shooting.
Hansbrough was right behind with 16 points, while Ellington finished with 11.
Danny Green came off the bench to tally 10 points in 13 minutes of work. North
Carolina shot a solid .517 from the floor, while limiting the Tigers to just