5 observations from Georgia Tech’s win over Colgate

Marcus Georges-Hunt (right) gets five from Quinton Stephens after defeating VCU in a basketball game on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Atlanta. Georgia Tech won the game 77-64. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

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Marcus Georges-Hunt (right) gets five from Quinton Stephens after defeating VCU in a basketball game on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Atlanta. Georgia Tech won the game 77-64. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Georgia Tech took care of a second consecutive overmatched opponent, this time defeating Colgate 76-60 at McCamish Pavilion on Wednesday night.

On a night when defense was in short supply on both ends, Yellow Jackets guard Adam Smith was not shy, lighting up the Raiders (4-7) for a season-high 20 points. Tech (9-3) will finish the non-conference schedule Tuesday at home against Duquesne.

Here are five observations from Wednesday’s game:

Hot shooter

Smith gave a demonstration of the sort of damage he can cause on offense. The graduate transfer from Virginia Tech led both teams with a game-high 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range. Forward Charles Mitchell added 18 on 8-for-10 shooting, but came up three rebounds shy of a double-double to stay at 10 in that category this season.

Smith scored on contested 3-pointers, on slashes to the basket and pull-up jumpers. With Colgate collapsing on the post, as Tech opponents are wont to do, it left the perimeter open, and in Smith the Jackets have a weapon who can exploit that opening.

It was Smith’s fourth game of the season with 15 or more points. To put that in perspective, last season’s guards had three such games.

Defense lacking

Colgate moved the ball patiently to create open looks at the basket in the lane and on the perimeter. The Raiders finished the first half shooting 47.8 percent from the field and probably could have done better had they had more dynamic players. It followed Tech’s second half against Southeastern Louisiana, when the Lions shot 59.3 percent in the final 20 minutes.

For the game, the Raiders shot 48.9 percent, far too effective than Tech can afford with one more game remaining before the start of the ACC schedule. Colgate entered the game shooting 41.6 percent from the field and was held under 37 percent by its two other power-conference opponents, TCU and Syracuse.

White slips

Forward James White received his second start in a row after coming off the bench for the first 10 games. Through halftime, White wasn’t as productive, with two points and one rebound. Against Southeastern Louisiana on Monday, he finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

On Wednesday, he had four points and two rebounds in 23 minutes.

Effective at slowed pace

Colgate’s efficiency on offense kept the game at the Raiders’ pace. Having to take the ball out of bounds to start possessions, the Jackets didn’t run much and finished with 60 possessions, well below their average of 69.1 possessions per game. That said, as might be expected against an inferior team, the Jackets ran an efficient offense, often using superior athletic ability and shotmaking to overwhelm the Raiders. The Jackets finished the half up 40-28, their highest-scoring first half since the Arkansas game seven games ago.

The Jackets averaged a highly efficient 1.27 points per possession, shooting 55.9 percent from the field.

Handling the half-court

The Jackets pulled away in atypical style. Up 44-34 after a Colgate basket at 17:36, Tech went on a 17-5 tear, scoring on eight consecutive possessions with baskets largely out of the half-court offense. The Jackets typically surge with defensive stops leading to transition baskets, but in this instance started to put the game away by working the shot clock and finding gaps to attack.

While the quality of opposition should be considered, Tech often struggles in the half-court and loses patience. At least against an outmanned defense Wednesday night, the Jackets did the job.