Preview: Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech
Things could be better for No. 16 Virginia Tech, which enters Wednesday’s home contest against Georgia Tech riding a two-game losing streak and remaining without senior standout Justin Robinson. The point guard injured his left foot in a victory over Miami on Jan. 30 and has missed the past three games, a stretch in which the Hokies are 1-2 and are averaging just 54 points per game – 24.4 points fewer than before losing Robinson and his 14.4 points and 5.5 assists per contest.
The offensive struggles continued in Saturday’s 59-51 defeat at Clemson, as the Hokies shot an abysmal 28.3 percent from the field in losing consecutive games for the first time this season. “I think they’re trying incredible hard,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams told reporters after Saturday’s loss when asked about revamping the team in Robinson’s absence. “I think our staff and our guys are trying really hard to do what we want to do.” The Yellow Jackets look to snap a five-game losing streak after falling 69-59 Sunday at Notre Dame, and despite holding the Fighting Irish to 32.8 percent shooting from the field could not overcome allowing 20 offensive rebounds and committing 14 turnovers. “They hurt us with those offensive rebounds and turnovers,” Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner told the media after his team was outscored 29-12 off turnovers and second-chance opportunities.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Raycom
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (11-13, 3-8 ACC): Freshman guard Michael Devoe hit 4-of-5 3-point attempts Sunday en route to a career-high 18 points, and has reached double-figures scoring in four of his past six games to bump up his scoring average to 9.2 per game. Junior forward James Banks finished with 12 rebounds against Notre Dame and is shooting 55 percent from the field on the season. The Yellow Jackets are last in the ACC in scoring at 65.5 points per game but limit opponents to 64.3 points per game (25th nationally).
ABOUT VIRGINA TECH (18-5, 7-4): Sophomore guard and leading scorer Nickeil Alexander-Walker shot 3-for-14 from the field against Clemson to finish with 13 points, and is averaging 13.7 points per contest since the Hokies lost Robinson – off his season average of 17.3 points per game. Junior forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting Saturday, and the ACC’s seventh-leading scorer (17.3 points per game) is shooting 16-for-32 from the field in his past three games. The Hokies begin the week ranked second in the nation in 3-point shooting (41.5 percent).
1. Georgia Tech’s seven 3-pointers Sunday is its most against ACC competition this season.
2. The Hokies tightened their playing rotation against Clemson, using just seven players and employing their bench for only 22 minutes total.
3. Virginia Tech senior G Ahmed Hill scored 15 points as the Hokies held off the Yellow Jackets 52-49 in the first meeting on Jan. 10 in Atlanta despite shooting just 18.5 percent from 3-point range.