What did we learn about Georgia Tech's team last night?
First, the new McCamish Pavilion is quite a spectacle. Built on the site of the old Alexander Memorial Stadium, it took a year-and-a-half of construction and $50 million to reach its current form. The arena seats 8,600 patrons and has a 270-degree concourse with an excellent vantage point of the game from all areas.
The house was sold out with loud Yellow Jacket fans in an attempt to recapture the Thrillerdome moniker. At halftime, Yellow Jacket nation welcomed back over 150 basketball alumni.
After a year of splitting games between the distant Gwinnett Arena and the relatively spacious Philips Arena a mile away from campus, a 79-61 win over the Tulane Green Wave to avenge last year's loss is great medicine.
Second, the freshman class has a chance to be special: Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter started and became the first pair of freshman in the same starting lineup for Georgia Tech since Mfon Udofia and Derrick Favors in 2009.
Georges-Hunt started at small forward and went 6-of-8 for 14 points, showing nice form with his mid-range jumper, and also threw in seven rebounds in 24 minutes of action. Robert Carter went 3-of-7, posting nine points and seven rebounds next to Daniel Miller in the post. Corey Bolden showed some range, owning two of the three made three pointers for Georgia Tech.
There were also good signs from returning Yellow Jackets: Miller recorded a double-double and held down the paint defensively, registering three blocked shots. Kammeon Holsey lead the team with 18 points in only nine shots, and Mfon Udofia looked to take on more of an aggressive scoring role, chipping in eight points in 31 minutes.
The end result was a 56.1-percent shooting output, a sharp departure from an offensively challenged 2011-12 team that ranked 282 out of 345 teams in offensive efficiency.
Of course, Tulane is certainly not the level of competition the Yellow Jackets will see in ACC play, but this is certainly a good start as Brian Gregory tries to make this program relevant again.
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