March 5, 2018
Brooklyn, N.Y. – Georgia Tech has drawn the No. 13 seed for its 39th Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament and faces 12th-seeded Boston College in the opening round at 12 noon Tuesday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Tech (13-18, 6-12 ACC), which has seen its top two freshmen suffer season-ending injuries in the last three weeks, enters the conference tournament with some momentum, winning two home games in less than 48 hours against NC State, 78-75 Thursday night, and Wake Forest, 64-56, Saturday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets had lost seven straight games and 11 of 12 prior to the final week of the regular season.
Boston College (17-14, 7-11 ACC) has lost four of its last five games, closing the regular season with an 85-76 defeat at Florida State Saturday, capturing its only win in that stretch Feb. 28 over Syracuse, 85-70. The Eagles have gone 3-5 since outlasting the Yellow Jackets, 80-72 in overtime. on Feb. 4 in Chestnut Hill.
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TV Broadcast: ACC Network (Peachtree TV in Atlanta)/ESPN2 | Watch online
THE STARTING LINEUP
Georgia Tech and Boston College face one another in the opening round of the ACC Tournament for the fourth time in the last six years. The Eagles won two of the previous three meetings, played in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Greensboro, N.C. Tech’s lone win was a 73-70 overtime decision in 2014.
The result in each of their ACC Tournament meetings has followed the regular-season result. BC won in 2013 after also winning the only regular-season game, Tech won in 2014 after winning both regular-season meetings, and the Eagles won again in 2015 after winning the only regular-season game. Boston College won the only regular-season meeting between the two teams this season, 80-72 in overtime, on Feb. 4 in Chestnut Hill.
The winner of Tuesday’s game advances to meet fifth-seeded NC State (21-10, 11-7) at 2 p.m. Wednesday. Tech defeated the Wolfpack, 78-75, on March 3 in Atlanta. The Eagles lost at NC State, 82-66, on Feb. 20.
Saturday’s game will be the second in less than 48 hours for Georgia Tech. Wake Forest has not played since last Saturday.
Head coach Josh Pastner, after going winless in the month of February, earned the 200th head coaching victory of his career against NC State and improved to 201-107 with the Jackets’ two wins last week.
Tech has played the last six games without freshman point guard Jose Alvarado, who dislocated his elbow in a fall during the first half of the Yellow Jackets loss to Duke on Feb. 11, and the last 10 games without freshman guard Curtis Haywood II, who was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his right leg following the Jackets’ Jan. 31 game against Syracuse. Haywood had also missed six games earlier in the season with a shin injury. Neither played will return this season.
Okogie’s 18.4 points-per-game average is the highest for a Tech player since the 1997-98 season, when Matt Harpring averaged 21.6, and the highest for a Tech sophomore since Harpring averaged 18.6 in 1995-96.
Okogie has more career points (1,019) at this point in his sophomore season than any Tech player since Matt Harpring, who finished his sophomore year with 1,021 (1994-96) on the way to finishing No. 2 on Tech’s all-time list with 2,225 points. He is the sixth player in Tech history to reach 1,000 career points during their sophomore seasons.
Tech has three 1,000-point scorers on its roster at the same time – Tadric Jackson (1,107), Ben Lammers (1,037), Josh Okogie (1,019) – for the first time since 1989 (Tom Hammonds, Brian Oliver, Dennis Scott) and for the third time in its ACC history (Bruce Dalrymple, Mark Price, John Salley in 1986).
TECH’S ACC TOURNAMENT HISTORY
Georgia Tech has played in 38 ACC Tournaments, and has a 26-35 all-time record in the event. The Yellow Jackets have won three championships, in 1985 (Atlanta), 1990 (Charlotte) and 1993 (Charlotte).
Tech has been a runner-up four times (1986, 1996, 2005, 2010). The 1986, 1996 and 2010 runs to the finals occurred in Greensboro. Tech also made the finals in 2005 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
Tech was 0-2 in the ACC Tournament under coach Dwane Morrison, 15-16 under Bobby Cremins (including all three titles), 9-11 under Paul Hewitt (runner-up in 2005 and 2010), 2-5 under Brian Gregory. and 0-1 under Josh Pastner.
TECH AT THE BARCLAYS CENTER
Georgia Tech is participating in its fourth event at Booklyn’s Barclays Center, and brings a 1-4 record in the building into this week’s ACC Tournament. That includes an opening-round loss to Pittsburgh in last year’s ACC Tournament.
The Yellow Jackets lost to Mississippi (77-67) and St. John’s (69-58) in the 2013 Barclays Center Classic. Tech defeated Arkansas (83-73) and lost to eventual national champion Villanova (69-52) in the 2015 NIT Pre-Season Tipoff.
SERIES VS. BOSTON COLLEGE
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series with Boston College, 14-11, but dropped the only scheduled meeting of the 2017-18 season, 80-72 in overtime, at Conte Forum. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for Tech in the series. The series is even at 10-10 since the Eagles joined the ACC.
Nine of the games in the short series have been decided by less than 10 points, 13 of them by four points or less, and three in overtime.
Prior to BC’s entry into the ACC, the teams met four times on neutral floors, including one outside the United States, a 65-62 overtime win for the Yellow Jackets in the 1986 Suntory Ball in Tokyo, Japan.
The teams have met twice in NCAA Tournament competition, both of them won by Tech. The Yellow Jackets downed the Eagles, 103-89, in the 1996 Southeast Regional second round in Orlando, and eliminated the Eagles two seasons ago, 57-54 in the second round in Milwaukee.
Georgia Tech won its last two home games and finished the season 12-7 at home, is 72-37 in six full seasons in McCamish Pavilion, and 29-11 in two seasons under Josh Pastner.
For the last four games of the regular season, freshmen forwards Evan Cole and Moses Wright started alongside Ben Lammers on the front line, with Tadric Jackson and Josh Okogie in the backcourt. Cole started his sixth straight game, and Wright his fourth in a row, eighth overall this season. Georgia Tech has used eight different starting lineups this season.
Tech has had its full roster to practice only for seven games this season. Injuries or other absences have forced Tech players to miss 44 games cumulatively this season. Freshman Jose Alvarado and Curtis Haywood II both suffered season-ending injuries, Alvarado on Feb. 11 early in Tech’s game against Duke, and Haywood prior to the Jackets’ Jan. 31 game against Syracuse.
Tech’s playing rotation this season has featured four freshmen and a first-year graduate transfer who have combined to start 66 games and log 43 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ total minutes.
With Tech’s point guard and ballhandling duties settled in the wake of the loss of Jose Alvarado, the Yellow Jackets got back to playing better defense against Wake Forest, posting its top defensive efficiency rating of the season (75.1) according to KenPom. Tech yielded its fewest points (56) since giving up just 51 to Syracuse on Jan. 31 (Wake Forest had been averaging 71.1 points in ACC games). In between, the Jackets had given up an average of 75.8 points over eight games.
Tech yielded just 33.3 percent from the floor to Wake Forest, its lowest figure in conference play this season, and just 29.6 percent in the second half. It also was the lowest yield for Tech against an ACC team except Syracuse (30.0). The Demon Deacons made just two two-point field goals in 12 attempts in the second half.
Tech is 13-4 this season when it has a higher field goal percentage than its opponent, 0-13 when it has a lower percentage.
Tech also coaxed Wake Forest into 22 turnovers, the most the Yellow Jackets have gained defensively this season, and converted them into 19 points. Tech also committed 17 turnovers, however, second-most this season (20 vs. Louisville), and Wake turned them into 11 points.
Josh Okogie became the 46th player in Georgia Tech history to reach 1,000 career points, and third on Tech’s current roster this season. He scored his 1,000th point from the free throw line with 7:45 to go in the first half. With 1,019, Okogie has scored more points in his first two seasons at Tech since Matt Harpring accumulated 1,021 by the end of his sophomore season (1996-98). He is the sixth Tech player to reach 1,000 career points by the end of his sophomore season.
Virginia is the only team to hold Josh Okogie under 10 points this season, limiting the sophomore guard to nine points in the first meeting on Jan. 18, and seven in the second on Feb. 21. The first game snapped a 25-game streak of double-digit games. Each time he has rebounded with a big scoring game — 18 at North Carolina and 22 at Clemson.
Okogie has scored in double figures 53 times in 60 career games. He has scored 30 or more three times (two vs. ACC), 20 or more 20 times (12 times in an ACC game).
Okogie has averaged 18.4 points per game after missing the first eight games of the season, including 18.3 in ACC games (fifth-best in league rankings). He averaged 16.1 points as a freshman, 17.1 against the ACC.
Okogie went 11-of-12 from the free throw line against Wake Forest, matching his season high for free throws made and one off his season high for attempts, and improves his season free throw rate to 82.4 percent (82.8 in ACC games). He remains the ACC leader in free throw attempts per game (6.9). He averaged 6.5 attempts as a freshman, which ranked third in the ACC, and connected on 74.7 percent.
Okogie is averaging 6.7 rebounds per game in ACC play, third best among league guards, and 6.3 for the season. Okogie has snared 93 rebounds in his last 13 games (7.2), including a pair of double-digit games.
Okogie has 51 assists in his last 16 games, a 3.2 average, dishing a career-high six at Clemson and getting five twice (second meeting vs. Notre Dame and at Florida State) in that stretch.
Okogie played the full 40 minutes for the fifth time this season against Wake Forest, and for the third time in the last four games. Jose Alvarado logged eight complete games before he was injured, Lammers has gone start-to-finish five times, and Tadric Jackson had his first at Clemson.
Brandon Alston (12 points against Wake Forest) notched his first double-figure scoring game since getting 13 at Boston College, his only two double-figure games in ACC play and his sixth of the season. He went 4-of-6 from the floor, including a pair of threes, in 38 minutes, matching his season high.
Tadric Jackson has started and played the point guard position for the majority of the Jackets’ last four games, the first time he has played extensive minutes in that role, and has logged the three highest-minute games of his career (38 at Virginia, 40 at Clemson, 39 vs. NC State). The 6-2 senior has averaged 15.5 points and shot 39.7 percent from the floor in those three games (15 points at Virginia, 13 at Clemson, 22 points against NC State, 12 vs. Wake Forest).
Jackson reached double figures for the fifth straight game against Wake Forest following a three-game drought, and for the 20th time in 28 games this season.
Jackson, who became the 44th player in Tech history to reach 1,000 career points on Jan. 31 vs. Syracuse, now has 1,107 points over his four seasons and is in 36th place all-time.
Jackson had connected on 12-of-33 shots from three-point range (36.4 percent) in his last five games.
Jackson matched his career high with five assists against NC State.
Freshman Evan Cole recorded his first career double-double against Wake Forest, scoring 10 points with a season-best 10 rebounds. The points matched his season best of 10 against Duke. The 6-9 forward has averaged 27.7 minutes, 6.9 points and 5.3 rebounds in his last seven games, six of which he has started. The 6-9 rookie has hit 52.9 percent of his shots from the floor, 5-of-13 from three-point range, with 10 assists.
Ben Lammers scored just six points with four rebounds and played just 25 minutes against Wake Forest due to foul trouble. Lammers had averaged 17.7 points over the previous three games with 22 points at Virginia and 20 against NC State. Lammers has 22 double-digit scoring games this season, 43 over the last two seasons.
Lammers, who became the 45th player in Tech history to reach 1,000 at Virginia on Feb. 21, now has 1,037 career points and holds 42nd place.
Lammers has converted 36-of-69 shots from the floor (52.2 percent) in his last six games.
Lammers added three assists, two blocks and a steal (one turnover) against the Demon Deacons despite playing only 25 minutes.
Lammers has moved into 10th place on Tech’s career rebounding list with a career total of 768, and needs 30 to catch ninth-place John Salley (798 from 1982-86).
Lammers blocked two shots against Wake Forest, giving him 250 blocks for his career and third place in Tech history. He surpassed Salley (243 from 1982-86) in Tech’s game at Virginia. Daniel Miller (286 from 2011-14) holds second place.
Lammers is averaging 35.8 minutes this season, sixth-most in the ACC (36.3 mpg vs. the ACC), and ranks No. 1 among centers nationally in average minutes played and percentage of possible minutes. Okogie is averaging 37.2 minutes in ACC games. Both players rank among the ACC’s top 10 in minutes per conference game.
Moses Wright, another 6-9 freshman, has averaged 23 minutes over his last seven games, averaging 4.9 points (12-of-43 FG, 9-of-17 FT) and 4.7 rebounds with seven assists, five blocks and six steals.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its second year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.