The Jackets came out to play tonight, and took care of a team that an ACC team should beat. Tech improved to 2-1 on the season with a 78-51 victory over the visiting Albany Great Danes.
Albany was playing without its regular point guard, Mike Black, who stayed in New York to heal a hurt ankle. Coach Will Brown turned to sophomore Jacob Iati to handle the ballhandling duties, and the lack of experience hurt his team, as Albany turned the ball over 25 times. Brown -
I expected them to really get after us and pressure us. And they did that. We had 17 shots in the first half, and they had 36. We shot a decent percentage, we just didn't get any shots. 17 turnovers, they scored 22 points off of our 17 turnovers, that's really the game right there.
The Jackets were led by Iman Shumpert, who posted his third career double-double, and the first that featured rebounds instead of assists to go along with points. The junior guard scored 24 points and added 10 rebounds in 22 minutes of play. Not a bad day for the veteran. Both coaches had high praise after the game for him:
Iman is capable of posting some really good lines like this. But he is early in his junior year, so let's see how we move forward. We have a game Friday night. Again, he can play like this. In my mind he is one of the top ten players in our league. But he is got to believe and he is got to play to that level.Iman is capable of posting some really good lines like this. But he is early in his junior year, so let's see how we move forward. We have a game Friday night. Again, he can play like this. In my mind he is one of the top ten players in our league. But he is got to believe and he is got to play to that level. -- Paul Hewitt
[Iman] Shumpert was a stud coming out of high school and he is a talented kid. When I looked at his shooting percentages after two games, I kind of cringed, because I knew that we were going to get a Georgia Tech team that was ready to play, and in any game, Shumpert was going to go off. It just happened to be against us. We were walking out of practice last night at 9 o'clock, and Shumpert is walking in with the ball under his arm. I told him to make as many shots as he could so he would have none left for today. I guess he must have missed everything last night when he was shooting because he was on fire today. -- Will Brown
Daniel Miler's play has definitely been a surprise early in the season. Tonight, he was second on the team with 10 points and had four rebounds. He is not of the Schenscher-Sheehan mold that Tech fans might be expecting, as he is able to use his large body more effectively yet still have coordination.
Offensive positives: At times tonight, there was a ton of ball movement. Think all the around the perimeter, in, out, back in, and then hit a slasher. The team finished with 20 assists. Hewitt said it best: "Wes Durham told me that we had eight assists on our first nine baskets or something like that. The basketball gods always reward you for hitting the open man."
Another positive was the lack of turnovers. Tech fans are used to seeing the players in gold have no control of the ball for long period of the game. Tonight was different. The Jackets only turned it over 12 times, and that number was only 2 through halftime when the starters were still playing.
This one needs no explaining: 47.1% shooting percentage. Definitely an improvement over the last week.
Offensive negatives: I don't really like to see a fast break team hit a wing guy for a jumper while still in the fast break with any regularity. If the guy can knock it down just about everytime, great. Do it. But I think it is generally a better idea to take advantage of numbers, drive hard, and either score or draw a foul. Maybe just me.
Defensive positives: Pressure. This team is in shape, and is fairly deep. They can run teams dead if they want to. Tonight, they were facing a backup point guard, and took advantage of that, forcing turnovers and short possessions.
Defensive negatives: Consistency. At times, the team used its length and quickness to force mistakes. But many times Albany was able to find a mismatch, and of those, Tech struggled to switch or bring weakside help a handful of times.
Takeaways: Eh, who knows. This was a good looking win against a team that had single digit wins last year. No one has any idea how much to take from it. But I still maintain that there is enough talent on this team to make some noise in the ACC if it wants to.