First-year Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory got his initial taste of ACC play Saturday when his Yellow Jackets lost to Duke.
The firsts continue for Gregory on Wednesday when the Yellow Jackets travel to N.C. State for their first road conference game. On Sunday, Georgia Tech stays on the road with a trip to Maryland.
Georgia Tech is 7-8 overall and 0-1 in the conference after its 81-74 loss to Duke. The Wolfpack (12-4, 1-0) beat Maryland 79-74 for their sixth straight win.
“It’s our first road game in the ACC against a North Carolina State team that’s having a great year and really starting to come into their own, and they’re playing great right now,” Gregory said during Monday’s ACC coaches teleconference. “We need to continue to play with the effort and energy and intensity that we played with on Saturday. If you do that, good things are going to happen to do you down the road. I thought we played much better Saturday against an elite team, and we just need to build on that.
“When you go on the road, everything is a little more magnified; every mistake is more critical. You have to understand with a team the quality of N.C. State with their length and size and their ability to turn you over using their length but also a very good offensive execution team, you need to be solid in ever single phase of the game.”
The Yellow Jackets are 3-4 away from home, including 2-2 in true road games. N.C. State, under first-year head coach Mark Gottfried, is 10-2 at home, with those losses coming to Syracuse and Indiana.
Georgia Tech, however, has recorded key wins at rival Georgia and over VCU, a Final Four team last year, in Charleston, S.C.
“It’s going to be a great environment; Mark has the place really fired up, as well as they should be,” Gregory said. “Poise and composure on are really important on the road. You can’t get too high or too low during the games, and you can’t try to make the spectacular plays. You just have to be solid both offensively and defensively for 40 minutes.”
Georgia Tech is averaging 64.5 points per game, 11th in the ACC, while N.C. State is third at 77.4. The Yellow Jackets are third in scoring defense (61.3) while N.C. State (69.3).
Glen Rice Jr. leads Georgia Tech in scoring, averaging 13.8 points per game while Mfon Udofi averages 10.8. The Wolfpack have a balanced attack with five players -- C.J. Leslie (13.5), Scott Wood (12.9), Lorenzo Brown (12.4), C.J. Williams (12.1) and Richard Howell (12.1) -- all averaging in double figures.
“Our team is improving, and we’re getting better, but we have a long way to go,” Gottfried said. “We’re doing a lot of nice things during the game, and we’re playing unselfish. We’re defending better than we did earlier in the year, and hopefully we can keep that up.”