Georgia Tech forward Kammeon Holsey (24) catches a pass as Presbyterian guard Ryan McTavish (20) defends in the first half Wednesday in Atlanta.
Darton women improve to 4-1
ATLANTA — Michelle Mitchell scored a season-high 26 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Darton State College women’s basketball team to a 78-44 win against Atlanta Metro State College in Wednesday’s Region XVII opener.
Mitchell, an honorable mention All-American last season, has now scored in double-figures in each game this season.
Iesha Bonner scored 12 points and Chanteniece Fann and Tamarah Fisher each added 10 points for the Lady Cavs, who improved to 4-1 overall. Freshmen point guard Jasmine Wilson dished out five assists and committed just one turnover.
The Lady Cavs will play again Saturday at home against Chattahoochee Tech. The game was originally scheduled for 2 p.m. but moved to noon so as not to conflict with the NJCAA men’s national soccer tournament at Darton.
ATLANTA — Georgia Tech wasn’t good from distance Wednesday night, and for a while the Yellow Jackets weren’t much better close to the basket before they finally started pounding the ball inside to beat Presbyterian 52-38 in a non-conference game.
From start to finish, the Yellow Jackets (2-0) took care of the basketball, and that’s something they couldn’t say a year ago. Freshmen Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter Jr. scored 10 points each with one combined turnover in Georgia Tech’s new McCamish Pavilion. The Yellow Jackets had just seven turnovers to Presbyterian’s 18.
The bigger team from the Atlantic Coast Conference didn’t take advantage of its size in the first half, when after trailing 12-2, Presbyterian went on an 18-4 run. The Yellow Jackets missed 11 straight shots from the field during the spurt. Presbyterian’s zone threw Georgia Tech out of whack. Ten of those shots were jumpers, seven from 3-point territory.
Presbyterian (0-2) led 25-24 at halftime, but after the Blue Hose scored the first basket of the second half, the Jackets scored 18 straight points and had a 22-4 edge in paint points after intermission.
Carter scored nine of his 10 in the second half. When he tallied from point-blank range on Tech’s first possession, center Daniel Miller did the same on the second, and then Carter did it again a new template was set.
“We were moving the ball better, making plays for each other,” said Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory. “We haven’t worked against a lot of zone. I think the post guys posted harder, and the (perimeter) guys looked in there a little more.
“There was no doubt that getting the ball moving, getting the post guys posting and getting the guys to look in there was more emphasized.”
This game was largely about ball security. Tech outscored Presbyterian 23-10 off turnovers.
Last season, the Yellow Jackets ranked 321st out of 337 Division I teams with 99 more turnovers than takeaways — an average deficit of 3.2 per game.
Wednesday, Tech was plus-11 in turnover margin even with three freshmen — including Chris Bolden — combining to play 72 minutes with one combined turnover.
The Blue Hose had 10 turnovers in the second half, including six during the Yellow Jackets’ 18-0 run.
Presbyterian senior guard Khalid Mutakabbir, who played high school basketball in metro Atlanta at Peachtree Ridge, led the Blue Hose with 13 points, but scored just one after halftime.
Gregory moved senior point guard Mfon Udofia — who scored all seven of his points in the first half — onto Mutakabbir for much of the second half. “I took it as a challenge . . . don’t let him score,” said Udofia. “I feel like last year at this time, you never know what would have happened.”
Mutakabbir missed all four of his second-half shots, saying, “They really zeroed in on me.”
The Yellow Jackets’ second-half success came in stark contrast to their’ first half problems. Against the Presbyterian zone, the Yellow Jackets settled for 13 3-point shots, making just two. The Blue Hose even out-scored Georgia Tech 10-6 in the paint in the first half.
After Georgia Tech pushed its second-half lead to 15 points with the 18-point run, Presbyterian never drew closer than 46-38.
Despite their size, the Yellow Jackets carved out a modest 34-30 rebounding edge and they shot just 33 percent (19-for-57), but the Yellow Jackets made 11 free throws to Presbyterian’s three. Tech also had an 11-0 edge in second-chance points, and an 18-1 bulge in bench points.
The Blue Hose scored just 13 points in the second half on 5-for-18 shooting with 10 turnovers. Jordan Downing added nine points for Presbyterian. Tech got seven points and nine rebounds from Miller.
“We can’t turn it over 18 times against a team like that,” said Presbyterian head coach Greg Nibbert. “Their depth and their size contributed to that second-half run.”
NO. 10 GEORGIA WOMEN STAY UNBEATEN:
ATHENS — Last season, when Georgia Coach Andy Landers glanced at his bench, he saw managers, trainers and assistant coaches.
Now he sees options.
No. 10 Georgia (2-0) came at Presbyterian (1-1) in waves in Wednesday’s 66-38 victory.
“We have the depth to get after people,” said Landers, who recorded 797th win at Georgia. “We can spend a lot of energy on defense. We have people who can come in and keep doing what we are doing.”
Senior forward Jasmine Hassell led Georgia with 14 points and nine rebounds while playing 20 minutes.
Freshman Merritt Hempe was actually on the floor as long as any player. In her 24 minutes she contributed 11 points, six rebounds, three blocks, three steals, two assists and no turnovers.
That was after failing to score in the season-opening win over Rutgers Sunday.
“That was not on my mind at all,” said Hempe. “ As long as we are getting the ball to the open man. Tonight I was the open man.”
“She is a very good player,” Landers praised, “and she has picked things up we1l. She retains thing, and she takes ownership of her responsibility of what she can do. I am not at all surprised. I think she will be consistent with that throughout the year.”
Presbyterian was trying to gets its second upset win in its first season as a certified Division 1 team. The Blue Hose opened the season with a 49-46 win at Clemson Sunday.
The Lady Dogs outrebounced Presbyterian 40-32 and scored 26 points off 27 turnovers. Georgia’s reserves accounted for 35 points.
Shonda Burnside led the Blue Hose with eight points. Presbyterian continues a tough three-game opening road trip at No. 3 Duke Saturday.
Presbyterian Coach Ronny Fisher said that the stiff competition will help his team.
“The best thing I just told our kids is that it really makes your weaknesses glaring,” said Fisher, “and it shows what you need to work on. Unless you play a better team, you don’t find that out. So we’ve obviously got a lot of things we need to work on. That will help us in the long run.”
Georgia dominated in every aspect of the game in the first 20 minutes, controlling the boards 19-11 and forcing 16 turnovers.
The Lady Dogs scored the first four points of the game and steadily pulled away to lead 35-18 at the half.
The same formula worked in the second half when Georgia once again scored the first two baskets of the half and kept way out front throughout the game.
Last season Georgia was thin, playing just a handful of players. It was not uncommon for players to play 38 to 40 minutes. Landers is willing to spread the minutes around now.
“As long as it works,” he said. “I talked to the players early on and told them they need to get where they can last five minutes and see how much they can get done.
“This is new for everybody,” he said. “Our veterans are used to pacing themselves, and the new kids never had to play this hard.”