There are plenty of ways that Georgia Tech’s 116-81 season-opening win over Cornell at McCamish Pavilion can be discounted.
The Big Red were picked to finish last in the Ivy League. The Yellow Jackets simply outmatched Cornell physically. It’s what should happen when an ACC team plays a team from the Ivy League.
On the other hand, 116 points is … 116 points. Tech surpassed the previous high score in coach Brian Gregory’s tenure, 92 points against Florida A&M in 2011, with 8:40 left in the game. It was the fifth-highest scoring game in school history. Last season, Tech averaged 63.3 points and three times were held under 50 points.
It was the most points scored against Cornell in the school history, a stretch of 2,594 games. The record had held by Penn in 1972 (111 points).
“I said on the radio, ‘I guarantee there ain’t one person who was at the game or listening on the radio that ever thought they’d hear the Georgia Tech team coached by Brian Gregory just scored 116 points,’” Gregory said after the game. “That’s a guarantee.”
On opening night, it was an indication that the pieces that Gregory has assembled – transfers Adam Smith, Nick Jacobs and James White along with returnees such as Marcus Georges-Hunt and Quinton Stephens – could be far more effective at putting the ball through the basket than his previous teams.
“We had several players in double figures, so that’s fun,” forward Charles Mitchell said following a 10-for-11 shooting night from the floor. “That’s fun basketball.”
Running effectively, owning the glass and moving the ball with precision and deftness, the Jackets shot 60.3 percent from the field (47 for 78), the highest rate in Gregory’s 127-game tenure. They had an absurd 30/6 assist/turnover ratio. Tech's best ratio last year was 14/7 (Vanderbilt).
Last season, only one Division I team scored more than 116 points in a game against a Division I opponent. Indiana scored 116 against Mississippi Valley State.