Feb. 7, 2018
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech plays the second game of a two-game road swing Thursday night when the Yellow Jackets travel to Louisville for a nationally-televised game at 7 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center. It is the only scheduled meeting between the two teams during the regular season.
Tech (11-12, 4-6 ACC) are looking for their second road win in the ACC this season after stumbling Sunday at Boston College, 80-72 in overtime. The Jackets, with a win at Pittsburgh and a 3-2 record at home in conference play this season, are tied for 11th place in the ACC standings as of Tuesday.
The Cardinals (16-8, 6-5 ACC) have lost three straight games and four of their last five after a 5-1 start to their ACC schedule, including a pair of defeats at home in their last two games, 78-73 to Syracuse Monday night and 80-76 to Florida State Saturday. Louisville, tied for sixth in the standings, is currently in a strech of four games in eight days.
Sunday’s game will be televised nationally on ESPNU and streamed live on the ESPN app. 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. 83, XM ch. 201, Internet ch. 83).
— GT Men’s Basketball (@GTMBB) February 8, 2018
THE STARTING LINEUP
Beginning with last Sunday’s game at Boston College, Georgia Tech is playing five of seven games on the road (Feb. 8 at Louisville, Feb. 14 at Wake Forest, Feb. 21 at Virginia, Feb. 24 at Clemson) before finishing the regular season at home against NC State and Wake Forest.
Head coach Josh Pastner needs one win to reach 200 for his head coaching career. In nine-plus seasons, Pastner has a record of 199-100.
Sophomore guard Josh Okogie has more career points (866) at this point in his sophomore season than any Tech player since Matt Harpring, who finished his sophomore year with 1,021 (1994-96). Four players in Tech history have reached 1,000 career points during their sophomore seasons.
Tech has a chance to have three 1,000-point scorers on its roster by the end of the regular season. Tadric Jackson already has passed the threshold (1,011), while Ben Lammers sits at 950 and Josh Okogie has 866 and is averaging 18 points a contest.
Center Ben Lammers ranks 25th nationally according to KenPom in percentage of available minutes played (90.9), and No. 1 among centers. Point guard Jose Alvarado ranks No. 52 overall (88.9) and fifth among freshmen nationally.
Tech, Syracuse and Boston College each have three players ranked among the ACC’s top 12 in average minutes per ACC game. Okogie is Tech’s third player among those 12, averaging 36.1 minutes per ACC game.
Five Atlantic Coast Conference teams are currently ranked in the Associated Press and coaches polls – Virginia (2/2), Duke (9/8), Clemson (16/15), North Carolina (21/22), and Miami (25/25), while Florida State, Louisville and NC State 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. 15/14).
Work trip to Louisville 🏀🐝🛫
— GT Men's Basketball (@GTMBB) February 8, 2018
COACH PASTNER AUDIO FROM TUESDAY
SERIES VS. LOUISVILLE
Of the four most recent newcomers of the expanded ACC, Tech has the longest history with Louisville, meeting 29 times prior to the Cardinals joining the conference.
Louisville has won all four games between the two teams as ACC brethren, the first three by a combined eight points before a 65-50 Cardinal victory at McCamish Pavilion, the only meeting between the two teams last season. Three of the four conference meetings have taken place at McCamish Pavilion; Tech lost its only game at the KFC Yum! Center, 56-53, on March 1, 2016.
Tech went 3-6 against the Cardinals with Whack Hyder as its head coach, all of those games between 1958 and 1965.
After a 12-year hiatus, Tech was 2-2 vs. Louisville when both teams were members of the Metro Conference in the late 1970s. Dwane Morrison was the Yellow Jackets’ head coach for all those games, and Denny Crum was on the Cardinals’ bench.
After another long break, the teams met 13 times between 1988 and 1999, with Bobby Cremins and Crum on the opposing benches in all those games. The Yellow Jackets went 8-5 against the Cardinals during this time. Three of the meetings took place at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and six at Freedom Hall.
The other four were played at the Georgia Dome. Tech won three of those, including the first-ever college basketball game played in the facility, and before the largest crowd ever to witness a college game in the state of Georgia at the time (28,885). That game will be forever remembered in Tech lore after James Forrest launched a half-court heave on an inbounds play that dropped through the net at the buzzer for an 87-85 Yellow Jacket victory,
The teams have met seven times when both were ranked among the nation’s top 25 teams, and Tech has won four of those meetings.
Tech coach Josh Pastner went 2-2 against Louisville during his seven-year stint as the head coach at Memphis and is now 3-2 against the Cardinals.
Georgia Tech has started the same lineup for the past 11 games, with Abdoulaye Gueye playing the “4” position. The Yellow Jackets have used six different starting lineups this season.
Tech has had its full roster to practice only for seven 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 39 games cumulatively this season. Tech will not have its that full rotation for the rest of the season with freshman Curtis Haywood II sidelined for the remainder of the season with a stress reaction in his right leg.
Tech’s playing rotation this season features four freshmen and a first-year graduate transfer who have combined to start 52 games and log 44.6 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ total minutes.
The Boston College game was Tech’s first overtime game since a 76-73 win at VCU on Dec. 7, 2016. The Yellow Jackets are 63-59 all-time in overtime.
Six Tech players scored in double figures against Boston College, the first time that has happened since the Yellow Jackets’ 107-77 victory over Green Bay on Dec. 19, 2015. Tech had placed as many as five in double digits only one other time this season (Pittsburgh).
Tech lost for the third time this season when shooting 50 percent from the floor (Wofford, Wright State, Boston College). The Jackets are 1-3 when shooting 50 percent (defeated Texas-Rio Grande Valley).
Tech fell to 11-3 this season when shooting a higher percentage than its opponent (BC shot 44.3 percent to Tech’s 50.9).
Tech is 4-7 this season when committing more turnovers than its opponent. The Jackets committed four turnovers in the first half of its game at Boston College and led 36-28 at the half. They committed eight turnovers in the second half, which led to eight BC points and helped the Eagles forge a tie at the end of regulation. The Jackets’ turnover rate is still down from last season, however, 12.7 per game overall, 12.3 vs. ACC teams.
Tech gave up 13 offensive rebounds and eight second-chance points.
Tech has surrendered double-digits in three-point field goals twice in ACC play and lost both games. Boston College was 11 of 23 from distance.
Pastner’s Georgia Tech teams are 5-7 against top-25 teams (5-3 at home), including a 2-4 mark this season (2-2 at home).
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).
Tadric Jackson has scored in double figures off the bench in 37 games during his career, 28 since the beginning of last season. He scored 10 at Boston College for his second straight double-digit effort and his 15th in 20 games this season. Just a game earlier, Jackson became the 44th player in Tech history to reach 1,000 career points (now has 1,011). He made a pair of three-point field goals against the Eagles, his first multiple-3 game since going 3-for-3 against Florida A&M on Dec. 17.
Ben Lammers recorded his ninth double-double of the season (14 points 12 rebounds) against Boston College and the 25th of his career. He hit 6-of-10 shots from the floor.
Lammers has 18 double-digit scoring games this season, including the last five straight. He has averaged 12.0 points per game and hit 26-of-53 from the floor over that stretch.
Lammers surpassed 700 career rebounds against Syracuse and now has 718, moving into 13th place on Georgia Tech’s all-time list with his 12-board effort at Boston College. He needs 22 to catch Jim Wood (740 from 1974-77) for 12th place.
Lammers blocked three shots against Syracuse, improving his career total to 239 blocks, good for sole possession of fourth place in Tech history and needing four to catch John Salley (243 from 1982-86) for third place.
Lammers also is drifting ever closer to 1,000 points for his career. With 950 career points, and needs five games at his current 11.7 per game rate to reach 1,000.
Jose Alvarado has hit at least one three-point field goal in nine consecutive games (20-of-47). He is hitting 38.3 percent of his threes in ACC games, 36.5 percent for the season.
Josh Okogie has scored in double figures in his last five games after having a 25-game streak of double-digit games snapped against Virginia (nine points). The sophomore guard has scored in double figures 46 times in 52 career games. He has scored 30 or more three times (two vs. ACC), 20 or more 15 times (eight times in an ACC game).
Okogie has averaged 18.0 points per game after missing the first eight games of the season, including 17.6 in ACC games so far (fourth-best in league rankings). The 6-4 sophomore has hit 38.5 percent of his shots from three-point range and 81.6 percent from the free throw line this season. Okogie has at least one three in 12 of his 15 games this season, including his first seven straight.
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). At his present rate, Okogie will become the fifth Tech player to reach 1,000 career points by the end of his sophomore season.
Okogie is averaging 7.0 rebounds per game in ACC play, third best among league guards, and 6.3 for the season, after grabbing eight against Boston College. He has snared 43 rebounds in his last five games (8.6).
Okogie has 27 assists in his last eight games, a 3.4 average, and has matched his career high of five twice (second meeting vs. Notre Dame and at Florida State) in that stretch.
Despite missing eight games, Okogie leads the Jackets in free throw attempts with 103, an average of 6.8 per game that leads the ACC. He averaged 6.5 as a freshman, which ranked third in the ACC.
Abdoulaye Gueye has averaged 9.4 points (57.1 percent FG) and 6.2 rebounds in 11 games since sitting out the Coppin State game with an ankle injury. He has scored in double figures six times during that stretch, and also has blocked 16 shots.
Gueye has scored 103 points in the 11 games since sitting out Coppin State on Dec. 27. He had scored 70 points in 39 career games prior to Coppin State.
Brandon Alston scored 13 points at Boston College, his highest-scoring effort since the season’s third game, a 20-point night against Texas-Grande Valley. He scored Tech’s first two baskets of the game against the Eagles, had 11 of his 13 in the first half and finished the game 6-for-8 from the floor, matching his season high for field goals made. He has five double-digit games this season.
Alvarado and Lammers each played the full 45 minutes against Boston College, giving them 12 complete games combined this season (seven for Alvarado). They became the first Tech players to log every minute of an overtime game since Alvin Jones played 45 minutes against New Orleans on Nov. 27, 1998.
Alvarado ranks seventh in the ACC averaging 35.7 minutes per game, fifth in the ACC in average minutes per conference game (39.2). After missing nearly the entire second half of the Coppin State game with a head injury, Alvarado has played 430 minutes in Tech’s last 11 games, sitting out just 15 minutes. He ranks fifth among all freshmen nationally in minutes played and percentage of possible minutes played.
Lammers is averaging 36.6 minutes this season, sixth-most in the ACC (38.4 mpg vs. the ACC), and ranks No. 1 among centers nationally in average minutes played and percentage of possible minutes.
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.