Rice (1-2) vs. Georgia Tech (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 22, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Anaheim Convention Center (9,100) -- Anaheim, California. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Rice 1-1, Georgia Tech 2-0. Away Record: Rice 0-1, Georgia Tech 0-0. Neutral Record: Rice 0-0, Georgia Tech 0-0. Conference Record: Rice 0-0, Georgia Tech 0-0. Series Record: Georgia Tech leads 9-5
GAME NOTES: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets take their perfect record on the road for the first time when they square off with the Rice Owls as part of the DirecTV Classic at the Anaheim Convention Center Thursday.
Rice has been on the road just once, when it traveled to Philadelphia on Saturday to take on Temple, as the visiting Owls were defeated, 77-63. Before that the Owls split a pair of contests against Division II opponents at home. The loss came against the University of St. Thomas (72-59) with the victory against St. Edward's (75-63).
The Yellow Jackets have yet to play a game anywhere other than McCamish Pavilion. That has led to some positive results early on, with wins against Tulane (79-61) and Presbyterian (52-38) in those first two games.
The winner of this game will take on the winner of the California/Drake matchup with the loser of each of those games pairing up as well.
In the all-time series, Georgia Tech leads 9-5 against Rice after having won eight of the last nine bouts. However Rice has the only win when the squads met on a neutral court.
Initially Rice stayed right with Temple, trailing by just three points (34-31) at the half by shooting at an even 50.0 percent clip from the field. Rice couldn't keep that pace up though, connecting on just 34.5 percent of its shots in the second half, while being on the wrong end of a 16-7 deficit from the free-throw line. Rice was also outscored in the paint (34-24) and on points off turnovers (20-10). Tamir Jackson was the standout performer for Rice with a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double.
Jackson has certainly not played like a guard this season. Listed at 6-foot-3 on the roster, he has been rebounding at an incredible rate (10.7 ppg) with double-doubles in each of the last two games. Jackson (14.0 ppg) is also the top scorer on the squad and has rarely been taken off the court, playing a team-high 35.0 minutes per game. Max Guercy (12.7 ppg) is the second best scorer on the team and has been shooting well from the floor (55.0 percent) including makes on 4-of-10 shots from beyond the arc. Julian Debose (10.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg) is the third member scoring in double figures, while Keith Washington is adding 8.7 points per game off the bench.
The Yellow Jackets hounded Presbyterian in the last game, surrendering just 15 total field goals in the game including only five over the last 20 minutes. The tight defense made up for what was a weak offensive showing from the Yellow Jackets who shot just 33.3 percent overall in the game including a 3- of-20 showing from beyond the arc. The Yellow Jackets also scored 23 points off 18 Presbyterian turnovers. Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter were the lead scorers for Tech with 10 points a piece.
Is is definitely the defense that Georgia Tech has to thank for its 2-0 start. The Yellow Jackets are allowing just 49.5 points per game and although that number is mainly due to the efforts against Presbyterian, the Yellow Jackets only gave up 61 points on 42.4 percent shooting to Tulane. Georges- Hunt (12.0 ppg) is the only starter in double figures, while Kammeon Holsey (12.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg) is the lead scorer off the bench. Daniel Miller (8.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg) rebounds and protects the paint well.
Suffocating defense has been something that Georgia Tech has done well thus far. However without the advantage of being at home the Yellow Jackets may not be so stifling. If Jackson keeps playing at such a high level he could push the Owls to a win
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rice 67, Georgia Tech 65
11/22 10:33:24 ET