By Matt Winkeljohn
ATLANTA (AP) — Charles Mitchell did what he’s been doing all along for Georgia Tech by putting up his seventh straight double-double, and transfer guard Adam Smith did what he’s been expected to do when he scored 16 points with six 3-pointers to lead the Yellow Jackets to a 77-61 victory over Wofford on Tuesday night.
Justin Gordon scored 14 points on 7-of-14 shooting to lead Wofford (2-4).
The Yellow Jackets missed 13 of their first 14 field goal attempts, and trailed 26-20 after Gordon’s layup with 3:56 left in the first half.
The Yellow Jackets finished the first half on a 12-4 run, however, with Smith scoring seven points on the way to a 32-30 halftime lead.
The Yellow Jackets were shooting in the bonus with 14:33 remaining. Marcus Georges-Hunt made the first free throw, then James White grabbed the carom off the second attempt, and kicked it out to Quinton Stephens, who made a 3-pointer to give Georgia Tech a 48-37 lead, and the Yellow Jackets cruised from there.
Smith, who led the ACC in 3-point shooting last season while making 42.3 percent for Virginia Tech, and the Yellow Jackets took a while to get rolling.
“I’m getting comfortable with the system, with the plays, knowing where people are going to be,” Smith said.
For a bit, the Terriers looked primed to pull off an upset. They were getting to the rim with ease early, as the Yellow Jackets were slow to rotate defensively against their smaller opponent. Wofford at one point had an 18-4 edge in points scored in the paint.
Georgia Tech closed the first half with a 12-4 run, however, with White scoring seven straight points during the stretch.
“I thought we probably played our best half of the year in the first,” said Wofford coach Mike Young, whose team won 29 games last season to earn an NCAA Tournament berth. “Needless to say, the Yellow Jackets out-played us in critical stretches.”
Gordon was the only Terrier to score in double figures, and beyond his 7-of-14 shooting, all other Wofford players were a combined 16-of-41 shooting for 39 percent.
“We had a couple of breakdowns,” Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory said of the first half. “But other than that, that’s the best we’ve played defensively.”
Stephens finished with 12 points, the Yellow Jackets had a 40-22 rebounding edge, and eventually outscored Wofford 37-32 in the paint.
All of that offset Georgia Tech senior swing man and leading scorer Georges-Hunt, who had just six points off free throws and was 0 of 5 from the field.
Mitchell, a 6-foot-8 senior forward in his second season at Tech after transferring from Maryland, scored seven points in the second half, when the Yellow Jackets made 14 of 24 shots.
Mitchell is averaging 14.6 points and 12.9 rebounds per game.
Wofford: Senior guard Spencer Collins entered the game leading the Terriers with a 15.2 scoring average, but managed just five points on 2-of-9 shooting Tuesday night.
Georgia Tech: Smith, who led the ACC in 3-point shooting last season while hitting 42.4 percent for Virginia Tech, made more Tuesday (6 of 9) than any Yellow Jacket this season, and the most since Quinton Stephens put up six 3-poiners against Georgia last season. … Marcus Georges-Hunt entered the game leading the Yellow Jackets with a 15.3-point scoring average, but has scored just six points in each of Georgia Tech’s last two games. He made 2 of 8 shots in a 69-52 loss on Friday to No. 8 Villanova.
Wofford will play host to Kentucky Christian on Thursday.
Georgia Tech travels to Tulane on Saturday.