Georgia Tech now has Golden touch as it faces Pitt in ACC contest
When Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory talks about how his Yellow Jackets have had to “reinvent ourselves with some of the injuries we've had,” Pitt's Jamie Dixon can relate.
The No. 22 Panthers (15-1, 3-0 ACC) will visit Georgia Tech (10-6, 1-2) at 9 p.m. Tuesday at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta without one of their key players. Redshirt sophomore sharpshooter Durand Johnson was lost for the season to a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee.
The Yellow Jackets are still adjusting to the absence of 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Robert Carter Jr., who is out indefinitely after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee late last month. Carter was averaging 10.3 points and an ACC-best 9.3 rebounds.
After losing its first two ACC games — at Maryland and at Duke — Georgia Tech is coming off a 74-69 victory over Notre Dame in which the Yellow Jackets were led by a player familiar to Pitt.
Trae Golden, a 6-foot-2 senior point guard, scored 20 points and made a pivotal 3-pointer in the final minute against the Irish. Golden played for Tennessee two years ago against Pitt, scoring 12 points and dishing six assists before making a costly turnover by getting tied up with Ashton Gibbs for a jump ball in the final four seconds of a 61-56 loss.
“We know how explosive he is,” Dixon said. “We know he's obviously the key to their team, his ability to get in the lane and drive.”
Gregory goes further, noting that Golden not only leads the Yellow Jackets in scoring at 13.1 points a game but also shows a work ethic that immediately earned the respect of his coaches and teammates, who voted him captain after only six weeks on campus.
“I think they're going as well as anybody can expect and maybe beyond expectations,” said Gregory, who is in his third season at Georgia Tech. “I remember him as a high school player, seeing him on the circuit, and I always thought he was a very talented player, had great toughness and could really score the ball from the point guard position. When opportunity presented itself to bring him back home, I thought it was a win-win situation for both of us.”
Pitt also will be looking toward a newcomer to fill Johnson's void, although the Panthers will be counting on a freshman. Chris Jones, a 6-5 swingman who redshirted last season, is the most likely candidate to see increased playing time. But freshman point guard Josh Newkirk has played well and could see his role elevated.
Gregory has a great respect for the Panthers, who are tied with Syracuse and Virginia for first place in the conference.
“We have a great team in Pitt coming in, but not just a great team but Jamie's done an unbelievable job in building one of the best programs in the country,” Gregory said. “He does a tremendous job of tweaking each team for its personnel, but there's some common objectives and standards that every one of his teams have: They're great defensively. They're extremely tough. They rebound well and move and shoot the ball extremely well.”
Just how well without Johnson remains to be seen.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Despite being suspended, Boyd still making contributions for Pitt
- Pitt’s Narduzzi names 4 captains
- Pitt freshman O’Neill eats up switch to tackle
- Pitt junior RB Ibrahim out for season with Achilles injury
- Woodland Hills pipeline a great fit for Pitt defense this season
- For freshman safety Whitehead, a role reversal at Pitt
- Pitt notebook: Offense starts slowly in final live training camp scrimmage
- Reports: Pitt’s Newkirk transferring to Indiana
- Pitt’s run-stuffing defensive line all ready to make a stand
- Pitt notebook: Narduzzi says NFL scouts like winners