December 20, 2009
Jackets post game hoops notebook
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets had a horrendous start in their ACC opener against Florida State. After clawing back in the second half, they forced overtime, but the Seminoles pulled away in the final moments for a 66-59 overtime win at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
The loudest applause of the night came when head football coach Paul Johnson was shown on the jumotron watching the game courtside. The other Paul, Tech basketball coach Paul Hewitt was not that surprised with the game's outcome.
"We had a tough time shooting the ball in the first half, but I thought we did a better job shooting in the second half," Hewitt said. "We went into the game feeling like we had to score in transition before they could set up defensively, but we did not do that. We shot early and quick in the first half. In the second half, we did a better job moving the ball around and getting some open shots."
The FSU game was bizarre in several regards. The Jackets only had seven free throw attempts including zero for freshman forward Derrick Favors. Both teams shot under 30-percent in the first half and the Yellow Jackets had no timeouts in the final three minutes of regulation and the last two minutes of overtime because Hewitt burned them earlier in the half. Hewitt defended the clock management after the game.
"The first one we called was because we needed to set our pressure up and our guys were getting tired," Hewitt said. "The second one, Zach (Peacock) asked me to call because he had a cramp going on."
Hewitt dodged the officiating question after the game when he was asked directly about the lack of free throw attempts from his two big men.
"That is not a question for me to answer," Hewitt said. "I thought it was a well officiated game. FSU went big-to-big double on them early. I thought it was a case where we needed to kick it back out, drive it and then reverse it. Then you throw it back in on the other side. We had a couple of possession in the first half we did that. Zach got hot in the second half hitting shots and had a pretty good run going."
Two of Georgia Tech's three starting freshmen struggled in the first half of the FSU game. Mfon Udofia and Derrick Favors combined for six of the team's eight first half turnovers and had just five points between them. Favors ended up with 8 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals while Udofia had 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting with two assists and four turnovers.
Hewitt tried to explain to the freshmen before the game the difference in competition level between a mid-level ACC team like FSU and the teams they have faced so far.
"We kept trying to tell them that you don't understand how long these guys are," Hewitt said. "They never played against a collection of guys this long. I think it took a little while for them to realize how long those guys were."
Overall, in the second half, Hewitt was pleased with the overall performance from the freshmen after they settled down.
"They were excited to play. They're good players and they're going to get better," he said. "I have no doubt in my mind that will happen. Brian Oliver won't go 1-for-6 from three; I thought Glen Rice Jr. played a great game and Mfon will settle down."
Georgia Tech 2010 commitment Jason Morris was in attendance for the FSU game while visiting family in the area. The talented guard enjoyed watching the game from the stands with his family.
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