ACC Basketball

ACC Tourney | Boston College vs. Georgia Tech

Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Two weeks ago I would have thought this one would be a romp in favor of the Yellow Jackets, but that was then and this is now and right now, Georgia Tech is riding a four-game losing streak. Meanwhile, Boston College was one of the worst teams in ACC play, starting the conference 1-14, but now they’ve won three straight, including a home win against NCAA-bound NC State.

Of course that one win earlier in the year for the Eagles was back on January 25 over Georgia Tech. In that contest, played in Atlanta, Boston College’s Olivier Hanlan scored 25, including the go-ahead bucket with 70 seconds to play. Georgia Tech’s Marcus Georges-Hunt finished with 20 and Quinton Stephens chipped in 17 off the bench, yet despite the fact the Yellow Jackets dominated to offensive glass (14-7), they couldn’t stop the Eagles, who hit 46% of their shots, including nine threes, as B.C. walked away with a 64-62 win.

Of course, Hanlan was really good back then, but right now he’s hitting on all cylinders, averaging 25.4 points per game in his last ten (thus earning second-team All-ACC on my ballot). Along side Hanlan in the backcourt is Aaron Brown, who continues to play the Scottie Pippen role, scoring in double figures in every ACC game minus two.

Yet, the key for the Eagles is getting someone else or two to produce. In the win over the Wolfpack, five players scored in double figures (the first time in ACC play). In the win over Virginia Tech, Dimitri Batten actually led all scorers with 18, hitting 4-of-5 from deep. In their last victory over Wake Forest, five players scored at least nine, as Hanlan had eight assists, mostly by driving and kicking out to shooters on the wings (they had nine threes). Overall, B.C. has 23 threes in their last three games, all while holding their opponents to 18-for-60 from deep (30%).

Of course allowing three pointers is not something the Eagles have to worry about with Georgia Tech. They are 349th in 3P% in the nation, 328th in the nation in FG efficiency. They will once again rely on second chance points, as both Demarco Cox and Charles Mitchell (12.9 combined rebounds) should dominate in the paint. However, asking them to carry the scoring load is probably a bridge too far.

The fact is, Brian Gregory’s squad will be without their best player because Marcus Georges-Hunt broke his foot in Tech’s final game. He was the only player on the team who could consistently create his own shot and he was the only player to¬†average double figures in points (13.6). He also pulled down 5.5 rebounds, dished out a third-best 1.8 assists and was easily the team’s best wing defender. Without him, I just don’t think they get enough points from players like Quinton Stephens, Tadric Jackson and company.

WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Boston College, 72-62

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