ATLANTA -- Having these big men on the inside might work out for the Georgia Tech basketball team.
For the second straight game, the bulky inside duo of Demarco Cox and Charles Mitchell took control of the paint and helped the Yellow Jackets to victory.
Cox and Mitchell combined for 25 points and 17 rebounds to lift the Yellow Jackets to a 66-46 win over Alabama A&M at McCamish Pavilion.
Mitchell, a 6-foot-8, 269-pound junior transfer from Maryland, scored 12 points with a game-high 14 rebounds, nine of them offensive. Cox, a 6-8, 276-pound senior transfer from Mississippi, had 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting and three rebounds. The duo combined for 30 points and 17 rebounds in the season opener against Georgia.
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“Mitchell was great on the offensive glass,” Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory said. “Charles averaged 16 minutes (at Maryland), and we’re asking him to have a more expanded role. He’s starting to understand that.”
Mitchell said, “I stepped into a bigger role here, and I accepted the challenge.”
Gregory liked the way his team hit the glass; the Yellow Jackets outrebounded Alabama A&M 45-26. But he was disappointed to see the Yellow Jackets tally only 20 points on second-chance buckets.
“When you get 20 offensive rebounds, you’ve got to get more than 20 second-chance points,” Gregory said. “And we did a good job getting to the free-throw line but not a good job converting.”
Georgia Tech made 15-of-27 free throws, a disappointing 55.6 percent.
Alabama A&M head coach Willie Hayes recognized the difference, saying, “They beat us on the offensive glass. Any time you give up 20 offensive rebounds, you’re not going to be successful.”
Georgia Tech used three substantial first-half runs to put Alabama A&M away early. An 11-0 spurt punctuated by a Mitchell basket gave the Yellow Jackets a 13-6 lead. Georgia Tech then used a 7-0 stretch to complete a 20-5 run and take a 22-11 lead on a tip-in by Quinton Stephens with 6:29 left in the half. The Yellow Jackets stretched it out with a 10-2 run to end the first half with a 34-20 lead.
Alabama A&M got as close as 13 points when a layup by West with 13:56 left made it 43-30, but Georgia Tech responded with a 13-2 spurt that put the game out of reach.
“I told them that was a critical four-minute stretch for us,” Gregory said. “That four-minute stretch was our best of the game.”
Georgia Tech (2-0) also got eight points each from Marcus Georges-Hunt, who added five rebounds, and freshman Tadric Jackson. Gregory praised Georges-Hunt.
“The stat line won’t show it but Marcus played a great game,” Gregory said.
He said the junior had 13 to 14 deflections and played just as hard as he had in the opener against Georgia, even though there were half as many people in the stands.