Jan. 23, 2018
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech continues a stretch of three-ranked opponents in four games this week with a Wednesday night tilt at Florida State, the only foe among the four not in the top 25 (but receiving votes), in a regionally-televised game at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Fla.
The Yellow Jackets (10-9, 3-3 ACC) are 5-3 since the Christmas break but dropped their last two contests to No. 2 Virginia (64-48) and No. 15 North Carolina (80-66) last week. Tech has beaten two top-25 teams in ACC play this year, No. 15 Miami and No. 25 Notre Dame, both at home. In their second season under Josh Pastner, the 2017 ACC Coach of the Year, the Jackets have developed into one of the nation’s top defensive teams, ranked No. 14 nationally in scoring defense.
The Seminoles (14-5, 3-4 ACC), ranked as high as 23rd in the nation during the early part of January, have won two of their last three games after a 1-3 start in the ACC, scoring a 91-82 win Saturday at Virginia Tech, the team’s first road win this season in conference. The Seminoles, in their 16th season under head coach Leonard Hamilton, are 8-1 at home, falling only to Louisville (73-69) on Jan. 10.
Wednesday’s game will be televised regionally on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network (Fox Sports South in Georgia) and streamed live on the ACC Network Extra. Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network and can be heard in Atlanta on flagship station 680 the Fan (680 AM/93.7 FM). The game can also be heard nationally on SiriusXM satellite radio (Sirius ch. 132, XM ch. 193, Internet ch. 955).
THE STARTING LINEUP
• Josh Pastner’s Georgia Tech teams are 5-6 against top-25 teams (5-2 at home), including a 2-3 mark this season (2-1 at home).
• Tech is in the midst of a four-game stretch that includes three teams ranked in the top 25 – No. 2/2 Virginia, No. 15/14 North Carolina, Florida State (receiving votes) and No. 20/18 Clemson. Tech last played a stretch of four consecutive games against top-25 teams during the 2000-01 season (No. 13/14 North Carolina, No. 17/17/ Maryland, No. 10/9 Virginia, No. 6/6 Wake Forest). Tech went 2-2 against that gauntlet in its first season under head coach Paul Hewitt, on the way to an NCAA Tournament berth.
• In the last two seasons (since Pastner arrived), no team has more wins at home over AP Top 15 teams as an unranked opponent than Georgia Tech (Tech and Colorado with four each, Syracuse with three).
• Tech begins the week in sixth place in the ACC at 3-3.
• Tech won on its last trip to Tallahassee, an 86-80 victory on Feb. 17, 2016, snapping a four-game skid against the Seminoles on the road. Tech’s 8-13 record at the Tucker Center is its best by percentage in any ACC arena other than its own.
• Head coach Josh Pastner needs two victories to reach 200 for his head coaching career. In nine-plus seasons, Pastner has a record of 198-98.
• Five Atlantic Coast Conference teams are currently ranked in the Associated Press poll – Virginia (2), Duke (5), North Carolina (15), Clemson (20) and Miami (25), while Florida State, Louisville and Notre Dame are receiving votes. The Jackets have already faced UCLA (No. 21 in preseason) and Northwestern (No. 20 in preseason), as well as Tennessee (now No. 22).
SERIES VS. FLORIDA STATE
• Georgia Tech has won the last two meetings against Florida State, including a 78-56 victory last season at McCamish Pavilion against a Seminole team ranked No. 6 in the nation. It snapped a five-game homecourt losing streak to FSU. The Jackets snapped a 10-game losing streak in the overall series with its 86-80 victory in Tallahassee last season.
• Tech and FSU have met just once each of the last seven seasons. The teams last met home-and-away in the same regular season in 2009-10.
• Going back to the team’s March 6, 2004 meeting, 10 of the 18 games have been decided by four or fewer points.
• Since FSU joined the ACC, Tech is 19-25 against the Seminoles. Florida State won the first six in a row, Tech followed by winning five straight, and is 14-19 against the Seminoles since then.
• In those 44 games, 21 have been decided by four points or less, 32 by fewer than 10 points. One of those games went to double-overtime, which the Yellow Jackets won 111-108 on Feb. 11, 1999 in Tallahassee.
• Tech is 8-13 against Seminoles teams led by head coach Leonard Hamilton. Tech is 9-13 against Hamilton overall, with a victory over his Miami team in December of 1997.
• Tech is 11-20 in games played in Tallahassee, including an 8-13 mark at the Donald L. Tucker Center, formerly known as the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center. It is the best record by percentage Tech has in any ACC team’s current venue.
• Tech and Florida State were both members of the old Metro Conference from 1976-78, and the Seminoles won three of those four meetings.
• Florida State has won both ACC Tournament meetings between the schools, including a 64-62 win at the Georgia Dome in 2009.
PASTNER AUDIO FROM MONDAY
• Georgia Tech has started the same lineup for the past eight games, with Abdoulaye Gueye playing the “4” position. Pastner has used six different starting lineups this season.
• Tech has had its full roster to practice only for the last five games and played a solid 7-man rotation for the first time in ACC play against Notre Dame Jan. 10. Injuries or other absences have forced Tech players to miss 37 games cumulatively this season, and the Jackets had not played a game with all 11 scholarship players healthy and available until the Yale game on Jan. 6.
• Alvarado and Lammers have started every game this season. Lammers has started Tech’s last 56 consecutive games.
• Tech’s playing rotation this season features four freshmen and a first-year graduate transfer who have combined to start 38 games and log 47 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ total minutes.
• Georgia Tech allowed 80 points for the first time since Dec. 22 vs. Wright State but still held North Carolina under its average (82.8 ppg). Out of 20 opponents, only seven limited the Tar Heels to less than the 1.1 points per possession that Tech did. Tech has held every opponent except Georgia and Wright State under its scoring average this season.
• Tech ranks No. 1 in the ACC in lowest three-point percentage yield against ACC teams at 27.6 percent. The Jackets limited the Tar Heels, who came into the game hitting 38.5 percent (fourth-best in the ACC to just 5-of-21 (23.8 percent) from distance.
• Tech ranks No. 2 in the ACC in scoring defense vs. ACC teams (62.2 points per game) and fourth in field goal percentage defense against ACC teams (40.2).
• Tech shot its best percentage from the floor in an ACC game this season with 48.3 percent at North Carolina, it’s second best under Josh Pastner in a league game and best since connecting on 49.2 percent last Jan. 15 at NC State.
• Tech has averaged 64.5 points and allowed just 61.9 per game in its eight games since the Christmas break (5-3 record). Opponents have shot 40.4 percent overall, 31.6 percent from three-point range. The Jackets have outscored the five opponents from the free throw line 12.0 to 10.1 per game, and outrebounded them 34.8-32.1. Tech also has averaged 5.9 blocks and 7.1 steals per game.
• Tech has committed 33 turnovers in its last two games (18 vs. Virginia, 15 at North Carolina) after averaging just 10.8 turnovers per game in its first four ACC games. For the season, Tech has committed 12.9 turnovers per game this season, down from 14.3 at the same point last season.
• North Carolina’s 46-25 advantage in rebounding was the largest deficit for Tech this season by 10. The Jackets had forged a plus-35 rebound margin over its previous four games.
• Josh Okogie returned to double figures with a game-high 18 points, hitting 8-of-16 shots from the floor. The 6-4 sophomore had snapped a string of 25 consecutive games scoring in double figures against Virginia, scoring nine points. The sophomore guard has scored in double figures 42 times in 48 career games. He has scored 30 or more three times (two vs. ACC), 20 or more 13 times, six times in an ACC game.
• Okogie has averaged 17.8 points per game in his 11 games back on the court, including 17.0 in ACC games so far. He averaged 16.1 points as a freshman, 17.1 against the ACC. The 6-4 sophomore has hit 40 percent of his shots from three-point range and 80.0 percent from the free throw line.
• Ben Lammers posted his 14th double-digit game of the season against North Carolina, scoring 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the floor. It was his best shooting effort, by percentage, since hitting 9-of-16 against Coppin State on Dec. 27.
• Lammers blocked one shot against North Carolina, improving his career total to 232 blocks, good for sole possession of fourth place in Tech history and needing 11 to catch John Salley (243 from 1982-86) for third place.
• Abdoulaye Gueye has averaged 9.1 points (28-of-46 FG) and 6.0 rebounds in seven games since sitting out the Coppin State game with an ankle injury. Making his seventh straight start and 15th of the season against North Carolina, he scored 12 points (6-9 FG), his third double-figure game over the seven-game stretch.
• Gueye has scored 64 points in the seven games since sitting out Coppin State on Dec. 27. He had scored 70 points in 39 career games prior to Coppin State.
• In eight fewer games, Okogie has pulled ahead of Jose Alvarado for the team lead in free throw attempts, 75 to 67. Okogie is averaging an ACC-leading 6.8 free throw attempts per game, above his average of 6.5 as a freshman, which ranked third in the ACC.
• Tadric Jackson missed double figures for just the third time this season (seven points, 3-of-6 FG, made his only three-point attempt), but he matched his season high of four assists (also vs. Northwestern) and had a career-high four steals before fouling out. The 6-2 senior has had 35 double-digit scoring games off the bench as a Yellow Jacket, 26 of those since the beginning of last season. He has reached double figures 22 times in his last 26 games and 36 times since the beginning of last season.
• Jackson is hitting 56.2 percent of his shots (77-of-137) from inside the three-point arc this season, and a career-best 48.6 percent overall.
• Jose Alvarado scored an ACC-game high of 17 points at North Carolina, hitting 6-of-11 shots from the floor and matching his season high of four three-point field goals (he had four each vs. Grambling State and Yale) in 37 minutes.
• Alvarado ranks 10th in the ACC averaging 34.8 minutes per game, eighth in the ACC in average minutes per conference game (38.5). After missing nearly the entire second half of the Coppin State game with a head injury, Alvarado has played 269 minutes in Tech’s last seven games, sitting out just 11 minutes.
• Lammers is averaging 36.1 minutes this season, sixth-most in the ACC (38.0 mpg vs. the ACC), while Okogie averages 34.4 (35.3 in ACC games), but he has not played enough games to qualify for the league rankings.
• Lammers has creeped into Georgia Tech’s top 20 all-time leading rebounders, currently standing 17th with 683. He needs three to catch Michael Maddox (687 from 1994-98) for 16th place.
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.