ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech senior Marcus Georges-Hunt was amused and confused when told that Notre Dame coach Mike Brey had referred to him and some of his teammates as "old men."
"What are we, the Spurs?" Georges-Hunt asked with a smile on his face.
Brey actually said of the Yellow Jackets that, "They're old, and they're men," not that they were "old men." And he meant it as a compliment, not as a disparaging remark. In fact, Brey had nothing but good things to say about Georgia Tech after the Yellow Jackets knocked off his team Saturday.
"They're physical," Brey said. "I think they'll always have a chance coming down the stretch because they are so old and so physical."
The suddenly streaking Yellow Jackets, who have won two straight and three of their past four, will have their physicality tested to the limit Tuesday when they face Clemson (16-11, 9-6 ACC) for the second time in two weeks. Georgia Tech (15-12, 5-9) lost to the Tigers 66-52 on Feb. 13 on what was its least competitive ACC game this year.
"Our guys have proven to have unbelievable resiliency and belief in each other with their ability to bounce back after difficult losses and disappointment," head coach Brian Gregory said. "What we had not been able to do within league play was continue the momentum from a high-quality win.
"We needed to do that, and that challenge was laid out in the locker room after the Florida State game. For me that was the best response. We weren't perfect, but we made the plays that helped us win the game and were able to do it on the heels of another big win."
Another win would guarantee a winning record for Georgia Tech, something that hasn't happened since 2012-13. Another win would give the Yellow Jackets 16 wins and match their best effort under Gregory.
At the center of the surge has been the play of Georges-Hunt, who was named the ACC's Player of the Week after scoring 46 points in two wins, including the game-winner against Notre Dame. Georges-Hunt has been moved back to point guard and responded with 27 points against Florida State and 19 points against Notre Dame.
Georges-Hunt has been forced to the point guard spot with the inability of Josh Heath or Travis Jorgenson to consistently get the job done. Heath didn't even play at Florida State and played only five minutes in the second half against Notre Dame. Jorgenson played 11 minutes against Florida State and less than one minute against the Irish.
The decision to put Georges-Hunt at point guard means he's on the floor for virtually the entire game. He played 38 minutes at Florida State and all 40 against Notre Dame. Georges-Hunt said he felt fine after the Notre Dame game, but what is expected to be a physical game against Clemson will be Georgia Tech's third game in six days. The lack of rest could become an issue.
"All our games against Clemson the last three or four years have been hard-fought battles," Gregory said. "They're a great defensive, great shot-blocking team. They guard and pressure the ball and take you out of your stuff offensively. They have size and strength and toughness all the way around the defensive end."
Georgia Tech shot only 34.5 percent as a team against Clemson in the first meeting. The Yellow Jackets were outrebounded 39-37, despite getting a career-high 19 rebounds from Charles Mitchell. The Yellow Jackets had a difficult time with Clemson's Jaron Blossomgame, who had 17 points and seven rebounds, and struggled against long-limbed Landry Nnoko.
"They're a really solid team," Gregory said. "Like a lot of teams in the conference, they're really good, and over stretches they can be really, really good. They were able to capitalize on those stretches and did in our game, and that was the difference."