ATLANTA -- They havent quite reached the panic stage with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Theyre not ready to sound a call for players from the intramural league to fill out the roster. But the lack of players has become an issue for head coach Brian Gregory.
When the Yellow Jackets (10-7, 1-3 ACC) host Miami at 2 p.m. on Saturday, theyll hardly be functioning on all cylinders. Joining forward Robert Carter Jr. (the ACCs top rebounder when injured) and guard Travis Jorgenson (knee) on the injured list are guard/forward Jason Morris (concussion) and guard Solomon Poole (migraines). That leaves Gregory in a less-than-enviable position as far as substitutions in a game the Yellow Jackets need to win.
Thats the challenge we face, Gregory said. Its an obstacle we have right now, and we have to figure a way to fight through it.
In Tuesdays loss to No. 22 Pittsburgh, the Yellow Jackets were hurt even more by foul trouble. Freshman forward Quinton Stephens was only able to play 10 minutes before he eventually fouled out. That put more pressure on power forward Kammeon Holsey, who played with four fouls.
Foul trouble was a big issue, Gregory said. Sometimes Tuesday we had 2s and 3s playing at 4s and 5s. We played with good determination and grit, but at times, we were physically manhandled. It was no fault of the effort.
Georgia Tech will need another strong effort from reserve Stacey Poole Jr., who played 17 high-energy minutes against Pittsburgh and scored seven points.
Stacey brought great energy, Gregory said. He needs to continue to do that.
The injuries put more pressure on veterans Trae Golden, Daniel Miller and Marcus Georges-Hunt. Golden has stepped up his scoring and surpassed 20 points the past two games. Golden is averaging 16.8 points during the past five games. Miller has gotten few offensive touches, although his average is holding steady at 10.5, and he continues to be strong in shot-blocking, with nine in the past two games.
Miami (9-7, 1-3) shook up its lineup for Wednesdays game against Florida State. Sophomore Tonye Jekiri and freshman Manu LeComte got the start, along with regulars Rion Brown, Garrius Adams and Donnavan Kirk.
Brown, the son of legendary Georgia Tech player Tico Brown, has totaled 40 points in the past two games and averages a team-high 14.2 points. The 6-foot-6 forward from Hinesville scored 22 points against the Yellow Jackets a year ago in the ACC opener. The Hurricanes lost by five points at No. 2 Syracuse and beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill. In the 63-53 loss to Florida State the game was tied with a couple of minutes left.
Their defense has been tremendous, Gregory said. Theyre big and active. Defense has been their calling card in their resurgence.