Atlanta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets close out their regular season on Tuesday evening, as they play host to the 19th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in an ACC showdown at McCamish Pavilion.
Brian Gregory's Yellow Jackets have suffered through a tough campaign. The team is 12-17 overall this season, but that has a lot to do with its struggles in league play, where the team sits at just 3-14. Georgia Tech has lost three straight games and five of its last six overall, including Saturday's 70-63 overtime setback at Clemson.
Roy Williams' squad is playing its last road game of the regular season, as the team has just its season-finale at home against archrival Duke on Saturday left on the docket. Once in the hunt for the conference crown, UNC struggled with consistency in the month of February, splitting six games. The team was able to earn its 20th win of the year and move to 10-6 in conference play with Saturday's 73-64 win at Miami, good for fifth-place in the league standings.
North Carolina holds a 65-24 lead in the all-time series with Georgia Tech, including a 20-13 mark in Atlanta and 2-0 record at McCamish Pavilion. The Tar Heels have won five straight in the series and are seeking the regular-season sweep after cruising to an 89-60 victory on Jan. 21 in Chapel Hill.
The Tar Heels reached the 20-win mark for the 42nd time in the last 45 years, as they edged out the Hurricanes at the BankUnited Center on Saturday. UNC shot .456 from the floor in the game and held a 42-28 edge in rebounding in the win. Brice Johnson posted his eighth double-double of the season, leading the way with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Marcus Paige poured in 17 points, while Justin Jackson and J.P. Tokoto managed to add 11 and 10 points, respectively.
A strong offensive effort is nothing new for North Carolina, which averages 78.1 ppg on .470 shooting overall. Paige is the star in the backcourt, leading UNC in both scoring (13.4 ppg) and assists (4.4 apg). The team is strong in the frontcourt as well, paced by Johnson (12.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and Kennedy Meeks (12.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg). Jackson (9.8 ppg) and Tokoto (8.7 ppg) provide even more scoring depth.
For the third time this season, Georgia Tech lost an ACC game that came down to overtime. Against Clemson this past weekend, the Yellow Jackets got buried early, trailing 30-7 late in the first half, but rallied down the stretch, closing with a 22-6 run to tie things and send the game into the extra session. Tech failed to carry that momentum with it and lost for the 10th consecutive time at Littlejohn Coliseum. Marcus Georges-Hunt led the way once again, finishing with 20 points and nine rebounds. Tadric Jackson added 12 points to the cause, while Robert Sampson finished with six points and 13 rebounds.
The Yellow Jackets have simply failed to provide enough offensive firepower on a regular basis to win games consistently. Georgia Tech comes into the season finale averaging a modest 63.7 ppg on a mere .410 shooting, a number weighed down by an ugly .276 from behind the arc. Georges-Hunt is the team's only reliable scoring option at 14.0 ppg. Forward Charles Mitchell (9.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and center Demarco Cox (8.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg) are decent frontcourt options.