Transfers Cox, Mitchell add toughness for Tech

It’s early in the season and the rugged ACC awaits, but Georgia Tech transfers Charles Mitchell and Demarco Cox are well on their way to establishing the Yellow Jackets as one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the nation.

Cox transferred to Tech from Ole Miss and Mitchell from Maryland. Both players are 6-foot-8 and about 270 pounds, and coach Brian Gregory gave them a mandate to use their size to control the boards.

Cox and Mitchell set the tone inside as the Jackets (3-0) beat Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne 78-69 Friday night at McCamish Pavilion. The Jackets had a 43-26 rebounding advantage.

“Coach preaches about it every day about being tough on the glass and rebounding the ball,” Cox said. “He wants me and Charles to be the two toughest players in our league and dominate the glass every game. We always talk about it in practice that we need to rebound more, and in the games we always challenge each other.”

Cox finished with seven rebounds and a team-high 15 points. Mitchell had three of Tech’s 13 offensive rebounds while playing only 16 minutes because of early foul trouble and defensive lapses. Quinton Stephens added 10 rebounds, and Robert Sampson had six off of the bench.

The Jackets scored 18 second-chance points while limiting IPFW (2-1) to two.

“They are a challenging team with the way they offensive rebound,” IPFW coach Jon Coffman said. “They are going to give a lot of people fits. When you throw Charles Mitchell and Demarco Cox on the floor at the same time, that’s tough to deal with.”

The Jackets entered the game ranked 12th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage (45.5) and had another strong showing.

“Thank God tonight for that,” Gregory said. “We wouldn’t have won if not for that. The rebounding has to be a big key for us. Second-chance points, extra possessions are very important to us. For me, that’s a clear sign of your effort and energy level if you are getting to the offensive glass. We need to take another step. Playing with the energy level we have now, that’s the baseline.”