Avoiding turnovers has been an issue for Georiga Tech most of the season and over the last two games the Yellow Jackets have shown great improvement. That needs to continue on Wednesday when the Yellow Jackets play Miami in their ACC home opener at McCamish Pavilion.
The Yellow Jackets (6-7, 0-1) start a three-game homestand with the 9 p.m. game against the Hurricanes. The game will be televised on Fox Sports South.
Georgia Tech turned it over just seven times against Notre Dame on Saturday, leading to seven points. It had six turnovers the previous game against Coppin State, leading to six points. The 13 turnovers over that span is an acceptable number. It is certainly better than the 18 turnovers in the loss to Wright State.
“All I’ve talked to the guys about the last few practices is, ‘Do not turn the ball over,’ ” head coach Josh Pastner said. “We’ve had 13 turnovers in our last 80 minutes of basketball. That’s been good, it’s been great.”
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Turnovers will likely be amplified against No. 15 Miami (12-1, 1-0 ACC), which plays a slow-paced game. The Hurricanes rank second in the ACC on defense, allowing 59 points per game, and have held nine opponents to fewer than 60 points.
“Miami is a very good,” Pastner said. “For us to have a chance, if it’s a pretty and finesse game, that’s not going to be … we’re not a pretty and finesse team. We’re going to have to try and grind it out a little bit.”
Miami held Pitt scoreless for a stretch of 5:12 on Saturday. It was the sixth time this season the Canes have shutout an opponent for a five-minute period. Georgia Tech had similar offensive woes in the league opener against Notre Dame, going four minutes without a point once and three minutes without a point on two other occasions.
“Bottom line is Ben (Lammers) and Josh (Okogie) are going to have to be really good,” Pastner said. “Bonzie Colson (of Notre Dame) had 23 points and 17 rebounds. Those are the numbers we need Ben to have. That’s just who we are.”
Georgia Tech averages 66.5 points, which is last in the ACC. Miami ranks 11th in offense at 75.5 points. The Yellow Jackets have averaged 70.8 points in the five games since Okogie’s return.
Miami is led by 6-11 center Dewan Huell (13.5 points, 6.3 rebounds), guard Bruce Brown (11.1 points, 7.2 rebounds), guard D.J. Vasiljevic (10.8 points) and guard Ja’Quan Newton (10.2 points). Newton missed last year’s game while serving a three-game suspension. The Canes also feature exciting freshman Lonnie Walker, who averages 8.5 points.
Miami has won its last two meetings with Georgia Tech and have won the last five games played in Atlanta. The Hurricanes lead the all-time series 13-8, although 13 of those games were decided by 10 or fewer points, and are 13-6 against the Yellow Jackets since joining the ACC.
Georgia Tech will have almost all of its team available on Wednesday. The only known absentee will be guard Curtis Haywood, who continues to recover from a shin issue.
Georgia Tech will play again on Saturday against Yale and on Jan. 10 against Notre Dame before going on the road for eight of its next 13 games.