Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech looking for Charles Mitchell to bounce back

Georgia Tech's Charles Mitchell hangs his head as he walks off the court after Georgia Tech lost 78-77 to Virginia Tech in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Georgia Tech's Charles Mitchell hangs his head as he walks off the court after Georgia Tech lost 78-77 to Virginia Tech in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman) AP

ATLANTA -- Charles Mitchell is missing.

At least on offense, the senior has been absent during the past four games for Georgia Tech. He has averaged only 5.3 points and has not scored in double digits during that span. His season average, which was 14.2 points after the win over VCU, is now 11.7.

Mitchell's improvement was a hot topic of discussion early, and while the team's offense is much improved, the Yellow Jackets still need a solid contribution from their big forward.

"I think he's become much more of a focal point because of the blazing start he got off to with nine straight double-doubles against some pretty good teams," Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory said. "He had double figures against Villanova, Tennessee and VCU - schools like that.

"But, point-blank, he hasn't played as well and hasn't finished with the ball as well around the basket. He's pressing a little bit in terms of when he gets an offensive rebound. He has to make a little better decision when he's swarmed and covered up."

Mitchell and his teammates travel to Raleigh, North Carolina, on Wednesday to play N.C. State in the first of back-to-back road games. The Yellow Jackets head to Syracuse on Saturday.

Mitchell's two-point effort against Louisville was his worst since being held scoreless against Georgia on Dec. 19.

"Sometimes you start pressing a little bit," Gregory said. "He needs to get back to being the Charles Mitchell that we saw earlier, where the effort, intensity level and energy level that he played with created scoring opportunities -- not only on deeper post-ups, but also getting fouled and getting to the free-throw line."

The offensive slump has not hurt Mitchell's effectiveness on the boards. Mitchell continues to lead the ACC in rebounds (10.95) and has had 14 double-figure rebounding games. He had 10 rebounds in the loss to Louisville.

Georgia Tech (11-8, 1-5 ACC) is in bad need of a win. The Yellow Jackets have lost three straight games amidst a difficult conference schedule. N.C. State (11-9, 1-6) is in virtually the same situation. The Wolfpack were 10-3 in non-conference play but lost their first five ACC games before getting a win at Pittsburgh.

"Their whole team gives me cause for concern," Gregory said. "They've got a lot of pieces, and in the last couple of games -- that great game they had against Pittsburgh, and they played well against Duke, as well -- they lost a couple of tough games. That's what this league is about, being able to respond to those, and I think they've righted the ship."

N.C. State handed the Yellow Jackets a demoralizing loss last year. Trevor Lacey, who was a senior last year, made a 3-pointer as the horn sounded to give the Wolfpack an 81-80 overtime win. N.C. State leads the series 56-37 and leads 31-9 in games played in Raleigh.

The Wolfpack are led by Anthony "Cat" Barber, who leads the ACC with 22.1 points per game. Barber has taken a conference-leading 162 free throws and makes 85.8 percent of those.

The Wolfpack also get scoring from Maverick Rowan (13.3 points), Abdul-Malik Abu (12.0 points. 8.5 rebounds) and Caleb Martin (11.2 points, 4.7 rebounds).

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