Tech’s Georges-Hunt stays hot in loss

After scoring 24 points in the defeat of No. 23 Miami on Wednesday, Georgia Tech forward Marcus Georges-Hunt followed that with 23 against N.C. State on Saturday. It’s actually his third consecutive game with 20-plus points, a career first, following his 20-point game against Boston College on Jan. 25.

Georges-Hunt had five 20-point games in the first 82 games of his career, but now has three in the past three. Further, he has shot 60 percent from the field (24-for-40) in the three games after making 38.1 percent (while averaging 12.6 points per game) in Tech’s first 18 games. He also is averaging 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in the three-game span. He also passed the 1,000-point mark for his career Saturday, becoming the 43rd player in Tech history to achieve that milestone.

“I think he’s a great player, and I think (Tech coach Brian Gregory) has got him doing just what he needs to do,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “He’s got a lot of opportunities from the left side of the floor to the right where he’s taking a right-handed dribble, and he’s using his strength.”

Georges-Hunt is doing a lot of his scoring on drives to the basket, which also results in free throws, where he is also thriving. His free-throw percentage after his 8-for-9 game Saturday is 77.1 percent for the season, almost 10 percentage points better than his rate last season.

“I’m having a great stretch, but I wouldn’t be having a great stretch if it weren’t for my teammates finding me,” Georges-Hunt said.

Rebounding up: Despite the loss, Tech continued to do what it does best — rebound its own missed shots. The Jackets' 22 offensive rebounds was a season high, this against an N.C. State team that ranked in the top 50 in the country in rebound margin before the game. After the game, Tech ranked No. 12 in the country in offensive rebounding percentage at 37.6 percent, according to

“You can’t play a whole lot better defense” than N.C. State did, Gottfried said, “and we couldn’t get a rebound.”

However, the Jackets were lit up from beyond the 3-point arc, giving up 10 N.C. State 3-pointers on 22 attempts. Guard Anthony Barber was 4-for-5 from 3-point range, all in the first half, including a buzzer-beater to close the half. Barber was 0-for-3 on 3-pointers in the previous nine games. Tech entered the game No. 37 in the country in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (30.3 percent).

Halftime hero: Perhaps the highlight of the game for Tech fans was provided at halftime. In a promotional contest, Tech student Caleb Espy from Cumming hit a halfcourt shot to win pizza for a year. Espy, a business administration major who plays intramural basketball, nailed the shot and then celebrated by spreading his arms and running about the court in the manner of an airplane.

“All these old alumni and older fans were, like, Gregory needs to talk to you,” Espy said.

Sparse crowd: Attendance was announced at 6,384. Aside from two games impacted by ice storms last season, it was the second lowest attendance for an ACC game in the Jackets' three seasons at McCamish Pavilion, and only the fourth game under 7,000. The lowest ACC game attendance was the 5,587 for the Boston College game on Jan. 25.