ATLANTA -- Last weekend, point guard Travis Jorgenson showed the form that made him one of the favorites for those who fill the seats at McCamish Pavilion.
In the win Saturday against Vanderbilt, Jorgenson had his best all-around game since undergoing ACL surgery on his right knee four games into last season. If he can build on that performance Tuesday against Dayton, the Yellow Jackets will have taken a big step forward.
Georgia Tech (8-2) travels to Dayton (8-2) for an 8 p.m. start. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network, a channel that isn’t carried by Cox Communications, the primary cable provider in Middle Georgia.
“Travis had maybe his best all-around game since he’s been back,” Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory said.
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Jorgenson, a 6-foot redshirt freshman, matched his career high with eight points and six assists and no turnovers against the Commodores. He was effective getting the ball to DeMarco Cox and Charles Mitchell on the low block and patiently ran the offense until the Yellow Jackets got their best look.
Jorgenson had a pair of 3-point baskets, an aspect that will be important going forward. Because of its lack of perimeter offense, Georgia Tech has seen a lot of zone defense. The opposition has been daring the Yellow Jackets to beat them from the outside, and Georgia Tech has not had much success out there.
If Jorgenson can provide some relief out there, it will force opponents to play man-to-man defense and open the way for Mitchell and Cox and be even more effective.
“We’ve worked hard on our zone offense in terms of the guards not just standing around,” Gregory said. “(They have been) attacking gaps and creating shots for each other and hitting the bigs on those drives.”
Jorgenson has played nine games, starting eight of them. He’s averaging 3.1 points and 2.6 assists. He has an impressive 2.2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The soft-spoken Missouri native said Saturday he had probably underestimated how long it would take to fully recover from the ACL surgery. Gregory has kept an eye on Jorgenson’s minutes; he has not played more than 25 minutes in a game this year. As the games grow in importance, so will Jorgenson’s time on the court.
Jorgenson will try to build on that effort against Dayton, which has won 10 straight home games. The Flyers are coming off a 78-62 win over Boston University after having a five-game winning streak broken by a loss at Arkansas.
Dayton is led by senior guard Jordan Sibert, who averages 14.4 points and 4.2 rebounds, forward Kendall Pollard (10.4 points, 5.0 rebounds) and forward Dyshawn Pierre (10.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists). Pollard had a career-high 19 against Boston in his first start and has scored in double figures in three of the past five games.
The game is expected to be a defensive battle. The Flyers learned to play tough defense when Gregory was the head coach there, and that trend has continued under Archie Miller. Dayton is 8-1 when limiting opponents to 70 or fewer points. The Flyers allow 58.3 points per game and are 17-0 during the past two seasons when holding foes to 60 points or fewer.
“We need to continue to improve,” Gregory said. “I like where we’re at, but it’s not going to be good enough (Tuesday). We’ve got to get better (Tuesday). That’s the only way we can do it right now.”