By the numbers, Georgia Tech is one of the better defensive teams in college basketball this season.
The Citadel certainly couldn’t argue the point Saturday, as the Bulldogs shot just 25.4 percent in a 73-41 loss to the Yellow Jackets at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta.
The Bulldogs (3-7) have lost six straight games by an average of 26 points, and finish out a six-game road trip at Clemson on Jan. 1.
Georgia Tech (8-2) had been holding foes to an average of 55 points on 36.4 percent shooting this season, and the Jackets’ imposing front line kept the Bulldogs from approaching even those numbers.
“Those guys are big, as big a team as we’ve faced since I’ve been here,” said third-year Citadel coach Chuck Driesell. “You can’t simulate that in practice, and they are as big as any Georgia Tech team I’ve seen. They gave our guys some problems down low.”
The Citadel’s top two scorers, Mike Groselle and Matt Van Scyoc, made a combined 5 of 27 shots from the field, with Groselle scoring nine of the duo’s 12 points. Lawrence Miller also scored nine points, and Stephen Elmore had eight points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
“Stephen is getting better every day,” Driesell said of Elmore, the 6-6 grad-student transfer who played baseball at Princeton. “That’s what we need from him and all our guys.”
Georgia Tech’s 6-8 forward, Kammeon Holsey, scored 14 points and 6-5 guard Marcus Georges-Hunt added 12 for the Jackets. Robert Carter, a 6-8 forward, had nine points and 10 rebounds, and 6-11 center Daniel Miller blocked four shots.
After falling behind 15-2 at the start of Wednesday’s 97-57 loss at St. Bonaventure, the Bulldogs got off to an even worse start at Georgia Tech, trailing 20-3 in the early minutes. It was 41-16 at halftime.
The Citadel’s 41 points were its fewest since a 79-37 loss at Richmond in the 2010-11 season opener.
“We couldn’t put the ball in the hole early,” Driesell said. “But our defense was outstanding at times, and we’ll build on that.”
After a hot start, Georgia Tech shot just 43.7 percent and hit only 5 of 18 from 3-point range.
“We have to do a better job of finishing shots we should be making,” Driesell said. “But these games will prepare us for the Southern Conference.”
The Citadel’s next home game is Jan. 5 against Western Carolina.
Driesell said his team had a 3.06 grade-point average for the first semester … The Bulldogs will be off until Dec. 28 for Christmas break.