Georgia Tech/Clemson Pre-Game Notes

Georgia Tech (9-10, 2-5) at Clemson (7-13, 1-6)
February 2, 2000 * 7 p.m.
Littlejohn Coliseum Clemson, S.C.

TV: None
Radio: WGST (640 AM) in Atlanta, flagship for the Georgia Tech Radio Network (Wes Durham, play-by-play; Randy Waters, color)

Tech Record: 9-10, 2-5 ACC
Home: 7-2; Away: 0-5; Neut.: 2-3
Tech vs. Clemson: Clemson leads 47-46
vs. Clemson under Cremins: Clemson leads 20-18

Last Year’s Meetings:
12-22-98, Tech 66-64 (Atlanta)
1-31-99, UNC 75-66 (Clemson)
vs. Clemson at Littlejohn: 4-23

Nat’l Rank: Neither team ranked
Cremins Record: 450-300 (.600), 25th season
Cremins at Tech: 350-230 (.603), 19th season
Last Tech game: Jan. 29, lost to North Carolina, 70-53
Next Tech game: Feb. 5, home vs. Florida A&M, 1 p.m.

Probable StartersF       52      Jason Collier   7-0     Sr.     17.8 ppg  9.7 rpg                   2nd in ACC in scoring, 1st in reboundingF       34      Jason Floyd     6-6     Sr.     10.6 ppg  3.7 rpg                   Tech's best free throw shooter (85.7)C       4       Alvin Jones     6-11    Jr.     11.0 ppg  8.2 rpg                   5th in ACC in rebounding, 2nd in blocks (2.6)G       3       Tony Akins      5-11    So.     10.5 ppg  4.2 apg                   4th in ACC 3-pt. FG per game, 10th in 3-pt. FG pct. (.352)G       11      Shaun Fein      6-3     Jr.     10.5 ppg  3.4 apg                   2nd in ACC in 3-pt FG per game (2.4), 6th in 3-pt pct. (.365)Top ReservesG       10      T.J. Vines      5-10    Jr.     3.9 ppg 2.1 apg                   1.54 A-TO ratioF       23      Jon Babul       6-7     Jr.     4.1 ppg 4.2 rpg                   Doubtful with strained right quadriceps, missed last 3 gamesF       42      Clarence Moore  6-4     Fr.     3.9 ppg 2.9 rpg                   7 pts vs. North CarolinaG       13      Darryl LaBarrie 6-3     Jr.     0.9 ppg 0.3 rpg                   Six points vs. MercerF/C     44      Michael Isenhour 6-8    So.     1.1 ppg 0.6 rpg                   2 pts, 2 reb, 1 block vs. North Carolina

Tech Seeks to Snap Three-Game Losing Streak
Georgia Tech travels to Clemson to conclude the first half of its ACC slate. The Yellow Jackets are looking to snap a three-game losing streak against NC State, Wake Forest and North Carolina.

Tech was plagued by poor shooting in the losses to Wake Forest and UNC, both at home. In those two games, the Jackets managed to shoot just 29.5 percent (36-122) from the field, including nine-for-45 (20 percent) from three-point range.

After playing at Clemson, Tech plays its next three games at home, with a non-conference game against Florida A&M Saturday, followed by ACC contests against Virginia (Feb. 9) and Duke (Feb. 12). The Jackets are 7-2 this season at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center.

The Series with Clemson
Clemson holds a 47-46 lead in the series with Georgia Tech, which began in 1913. The two teams split last year’s meetings, with each team winning on its homecourt. Tech won, 66-62, in Atlanta, while the Tigers prevailed, 92-64, at Clemson. The home team has won 22 of the last 25 regular season games in the series.

Georgia Tech was the opponent for the first game at Littlejohn Coliseum on Nov. 30, 1968. The Tigers won that game, 76-72, and since then, the Jackets have managed just four victories at Clemson for a 4-23 record. Tech has lost six in a row and 12 of its last 13 games at Littlejohn. Since 1986, the Jackets’ only win at Clemson was a 66-59 decision in 1993. Among those 12 losses, however, are three overtime defeats (1988, 1989 and 1992) and three other games decided by three points or fewer (1990, 1995 and 1996).

Cremins Moves into Third in ACC Wins, Earns Win No. 450
With Georgia Tech’s 69-68 win over Maryland on Jan. 15, head coach Bobby Cremins moved into third place among Atlantic Coast Conference coaches in career wins while coaching in the ACC. One game later against Florida State, Cremins earned his 350th victory at Georgia Tech and his 450th career coaching win.

Cremins, now in his 19th season at Tech and 25th overall, passed former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell (348) for third place in ACC history. Only Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, 485 wins, and retired North Carolina coach Dean Smith, with 879, have won more games than Cremins.

Tech Players vs. ClemsonPlayer     G    FG      3FG     FT      RB      Avg     A    Bl   St   TP   AvgAkins      2    9-22    7-19    3-5     5       2.5     7    0    1    28   14.0Babul      4    2-11    0-1     4-9     17      4.3     3    0    1    8    2.0Collier    2    14-31   3-10    8-13    22      11.0    1    4    3    39   19.5Floyd      6    12-30   5-19    5-6     21      3.5     5    1    3    34   5.7Jones      4    12-26   0-0     11-22   25      6.3     1    7    3    35   8.8LaBarrie   2    2-5     1-3     0-0     1       0.5     3    0    0    5    2.5Vines   4       3-7     3-6     5-10    4       1.0     7    0    4    14   3.5

Collier Paces Tech in Scoring, Rebounding
Jason Collier leads Georgia Tech in both scoring (17.8) and rebounding (9.7), ranking second in the ACC in scoring and first in rebounding. One of 30 candidates for the John Wooden Award, he is fifth in the ACC in field goal percentage (50.4) and eighth in free throw percentage (.745), joining Marylands Terence Morris as the only players to rank among the leagues Top 10 in all four categories. The seven-foot senior is also seventh in blocked shots (1.3) while leading the league with nine double-doubles.

The Springfield, Ohio, native is shooting fewer threes than he did last season but has been effective from beyond the arc, hitting 19 of 49 (.388).

Babul Doubtful With Strained Quad
Junior forward Jon Babul is doubtful with a strained right quadriceps. Babul has missed the last three games after aggravating the injury in the first half of Tech’s win over Florida State on Feb. 19. Earlier he missed games against Wofford (Dec. 22), Kentucky (Jan. 5) and Virginia (Jan. 8) with the same injury.

Tech’s top frontcourt sub, the 6-7 Babul averages 4.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game and is the Jackets’ best and most versatile defensive player.

Fein Leads Tech to Wins Over Maryland, FSU
Shaun Fein put together the best two games of his Georgia Tech career to lead the Yellow Jackets to back-to-back victories over 16th-ranked Maryland and Florida State. The 6-3 guard, who had gone 4-for-23 from the field in the previous three games against Kentucky, Virginia and Duke, led Tech in scoring in both wins with 17 points against the Terrapins and 18 versus Florida State. He hit 10-of-17 three-pointers in the two contests.

A transfer from Stonehill College, Fein nailed six treys in 10 attempts against the Seminoles, along with five assists, three rebounds, two steals and no turnovers in 33 minutes.

Against Maryland, he hit four of seven three-pointers, scoring 15 points in the first half to help the Jackets pull within 39-35 at the intermission after falling behind 16-5 early in the game. Although he scored just two points in the second half, he hit two crucial free throws with 53 seconds left. Fein also contributed four assists, three rebounds and a steal while playing 36 minutes against the Terps.

Jackets Cashing In At The Line
The Yellow Jackets have made a significant improvement as a team in free throw shooting this season, ranking third in the ACC at 70.4 percent. That’s almost 10 percentage points above last year’s average (62.1).

Tech has been able to handle the pressure of close games with even better free throw shooting. Against Maryland, the Jackets hit 11-of-12 free throws in the second half, including two charity tosses by Shaun Fein with 53 seconds left that helped seal the win. Jason Collier nailed two with 16 seconds left to preserve the victory over Florida State.

The Jackets were 17-of-21 against Lafayette, including 10 straight in the final five minutes. Tech canned 10-of-10 in the final five minutes of its Dec. 22 win over Wofford, and 8-of-8 in the last five minutes against Morehead State.

In its nine victories, Tech has hit 49-of-55 free throws (89 percent) in the final five minutes.

Tech from Beyond the Arc
Georgia Tech is second in the ACC in three-point field goals per game. The Jackets, who hit 12 treys against Florida State (12-26) and nine versus Maryland (9-17), average 7.9 treys per game and rank fifth in the league in percentage (33.8).

Two Tech players rank in the ACC Top 10 in three-point field goals per game and three-point percentage. Shaun Fein is second in treys per game (2.4) and sixth in percentage (.387), while Tony Akins ranks fourth (2.0) and 10th (.359), respectively. In addition, 7-0 forward Jason Collier shoots 38.8 percent (19-49) from beyond the arc.

Home Sweet Home
Alexander Memorial Coliseum has been a friendly place for Georgia Tech this season, especially when it comes to shooting the basketball.

The Yellow Jackets, who are 7-2 in their on-campus home this season, have shot 39 percent (81-208) from three-point range at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Contrast that with games away from home, in which the Jackets have hit just 29 percent (69-236) of their threes.

The home court advantage is most pronounced for Shaun Fein, who has hit 49 percent (32-65) of his threes at the Thrillerdome, versus 23 percent (14-61) away from home. The 6-3 guard is averaging 13.8 points in Tech’s seven home games but just 7.6 points in other arenas.

Wes Durham Named Georgia Sportscaster of the Year
Georgia Tech radio voice Wes Durham has been named Georgia Sportscaster of the Year for 1999 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Durham, who has called play-by-play for Tech football, basketball and baseball since 1995, will receive the honor at the NSSA Convention May 1 in Salisbury, N.C. The award is voted on by the NSSA membership in the state of Georgia.

It is the first time Durham has been so honored, though his father, legendary North Carolina radio voice Woody Durham, has received the award for North Carolina 10 times.

Since August of 1997, Wes Durham has worked as Georgia Tech’s Director of Broadcasting. He originally came to Atlanta in July of 1995 as the Jackets’ radio play-by-play announcer. Prior to that, he served as the radio voice at Vanderbilt, where he was a 1995 finalist for the Tennessee sportscaster of the year award, Marshall and Radford.

Vines Gives a Lift off the Bench
T.J. Vines, Georgia Tech’s backup point guard, averages 18 minutes off the bench, contributing 3.9 points and 2.1 assists per game. He also has 16 steals and is a good perimeter defender.

Vines turned in two solid performances in Tech’s wins over Maryland and Florida State. Against the Seminoles, he hit two key three-pointers, scored eight points and had two assists and no turnovers in 19 minutes. Vines played 23 minutes against Maryland, when starting point guard Tony Akins was saddled with foul trouble, and he had six points (2-for-3 three-pointers), three assists and just one turnover against the Terps’ pressure defense.

The 5-10 junior also contributed seven points and four assists versus Kentucky. Earlier this season, he enjoyed one of the best games of his career in Georgia Tech’s win over Washington in the Great Alaska Shootout with season highs for points (13) and assists (6).

Akins Streak Ends at 27
Tony Akins had his streak of consecutive free throws snapped at 27 when he missed his fourth attempt against NC State. Before that, Akins’ last missed free throw occurred Nov. 27 against Kansas. He has made 31 of 37 free throws on the season (.838).

The Tech record for consecutive free throws is 33 in a row by Drew Barry during the 1995-96 season, and Tech assistant coach Mark Price, the NBA career free throw percentage leader who has been instrumental in improving the Jackets’ at the line this season, hit 31 straight in 1984-85.

Collier Makes it to 1,000
Jason Collier went over the 1,000-point mark for his career in Tech’s win over Wofford, and his career total now stands at 1,174. The 7-foot senior has scored 768 points for the Jackets, following 406 at Indiana.

Collier is the second Georgia Tech player to reach the career plateau this season. Shaun Fein reached 1,000 points with his first score in Tech’s game against Washington. Fein now has 1,171 career points, including 971 (19.7 per game) in two seasons at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass.

Senior Jason Floyd, with 935 career points, has a chance to become the 30th Tech player to score 1,000 points in a Yellow Jacket uniform. The 6-6 swingman needs to average nine points per game this season to reach the mark.

More Than a Shooter
Shaun Fein has a reputation as a shooter, but the 6-3 guard is also providing the Yellow Jackets with solid passing and floor play. In his first season of eligibility after transferring from Stonehill College, Fein ranks fifth in the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.59-1). He averages 3.4 assists per game, which ranks seventh in the league, and he is second on the team with 19 steals.

Akins Remains Steady
Point guard Tony Akins has made strides as a sophomore, averaging 10.5 points and 4.2 assists with an assist-turnover ratio of 1.46-1.

Akins currently ranks fourth in three-point field goals made per game (2.0), 10th in three-point percentage (35.2), and sixth in assists (4.2).

No Hack-A-Shaq Here
If opposing teams want to foul Alvin Jones when he gets the ball inside this year, they may have to pay. Assistant coach Mark Price, the top free throw shooter in NBA history, has made improving Alvin Jones’ free throw shooting his project, and the results have been promising.

In his first two seasons at Tech, Jones hit 53.5 percent of his free throws. This season, he has connected on 83 of 133 from the stripe (62.4 percent), shooting 35 more attempts than his closest teammate. Jones shot 73 more charity attempts than anyone else on the Tech team last year.

Jackets Spread the Scoring
Georgia Tech has had at least four players score in double figures in nine of 19 games this season, including three games in which five players reached double figures, most recently against UNC Greensboro.

All five Tech starters are averaging at least 10 points per game, ranging from 17.8 points per game for Jason Collier (2nd in the ACC) to 10.5 for Tony Akins and Shaun Fein. The last Tech team to have all five starters average double figures for a season was the 1991-92 quintet that featured future NBA players Travis Best, Jon Barry, Matt Geiger and Malcolm Mackey.

Jackets Hitting the Boards
Jason Collier leads the ACC in rebounding with 9.7 per game. Alvin Jones is second on the team and fifth in the ACC at 8.2 per game, followed by Jon Babul at 4.2.

Jones, the ACC’s career rebound leader among active players with 678, grabbed 16 against Michigan, the best for a Jacket this season, 15 against Stanford and 13 versus Duke. He is second in the ACC in offensive rebounds per game (3.26), while Collier is fifth (2.95).

The Yellow Jackets are outrebounding their opponents collectively, 39.2-36.1, a +3.0 margin.

Last Season to This SeasonStatistic                      Last Season     This SeasonScoring Average                67.3            71.9Field Goal Percentage          41.1            40.9Three-point Percentage         33.0            33.8Three-point FG per game        7.1             8.1Three-point attempts per game  21.4            23.3Free throw attempts per game   21.4            19.9Free throw percentage          62.1            70.4Assists per game               13.2            15.7Assists as a pct. of FG        58.1            62.9Rebounds per game              36.9            39.2Offensive rebounds per game    12.4            14.3Turnovers per game             17.2            16.8Pct. of offense from 2-pt. FG  48.8            47.5Pct. of offense from 3-pt. FG  31.5            32.9Pct. of offense from FT        19.7            19.5

Tough Slate
Georgia Tech played the 19th most difficult schedule in the nation last season, according to the RPI, with twenty of Tech’s 31 games against teams in the NCAA or NIT. Seven of Tech’s losses were to teams seeded third or higher in the NCAA Tournament.

This year’s slate is no easier, with as many as 11 games against teams currently in the nation’s Associated Press top 25. Outside the conference, the Yellow Jackets played Stanford, currently No. 2, Kansas, currently No. 11, and No. 18 Kentucky.

Three ACC teams are in the top 25, including No. 3 Duke, No. 21 Maryland and No. 22 NC State.

From the Left…
It has to be a rarity, if not unique, in college basketball. Georgia Tech features three left-handed players among its top eight.

Jason Collier, Tony Akins and newcomer Clarence Moore all shoot lefthanded, which is believed to be the most ever on one Tech team. According to Moore, shooting is the only thing he does lefthanded.

The Yellow Jackets have had other famous lefties on its roster, including point guard greats Kenny Anderson and Travis Best, who have both taken their southpaw success to the NBA.

Rejection Record
It took only 60 games for Alvin Jones to become Georgia Tech’s all-time leader in blocked shots, breaking the record late in his sophomore season. Jones, who surpassed the record of 243 set by John Salley from 1983-86, now has 298 rejections in 83 games, including eight in the season opener against Mercer.

Jones, who had 107 blocks in 31 games last season (3.5 per game), also continues his climb up the Atlantic Coast Conference career lists for blocked shots. He just passed Sharone Wright of Clemson (288) for seventh place against Maryland. His next target is another Tiger, Elden Campbell, who ranks sixth with 334 blocks.

Jones career average of 3.59 blocks per game is third best in ACC history. The ACC record is 4.07 set by Clemson’s Tree Rollins (1974-77).

Dialing Long Distance
Georgia Tech owns the third-longest active streak in the nation for consecutive games with at least one three-point field goal. Tech’s streak has reached 400 games. The last team to hold the Jackets without a three-point field goal was Virginia in the 1987 ACC Tournament.

UNLV held the longest streak with 416 games entering the 1999-2000 season, followed by Vanderbilt at 412 games.

Tech Bench Deeper
Georgia Tech’s bench may be the deepest of the Bobby Cremins era with 5-10 junior T.J. Vines (Woodstock, Ga.) in the backcourt, 6-7 junior Jon Babul (North Attleboro, Mass.) in the frontcourt and 6-4 freshman Clarence Moore (Norco, La.) on the wing. The trio averages between 15 and 19 minutes per game and has combined about 13 points per game.

The Jackets can also call upon 6-3 junior guard Darryl LaBarrie (Decatur, Ga.), who played in all 31 games a year ago and scored in all but six, and 6-8 junior center Michael Isenhour (Lawrenceville, Ga.), a transfer from Air Force.

Jackets Look for Depth, Balance
No Yellow Jacket has played more than 38 minutes in any of Georgia Tech’s games thus far, and that includes Tech’s overtime game with Stanford. Jason Collier lead the Jackets with 32.5 minutes per game. None of the Yellow Jackets ranks in the ACC’s top five in minutes played, contrasted to last year, when three did.

T.J. Vines, Jon Babul and Clarence Moore are getting significant minutes off the bench, ranging between 15 and 19 minutes per game.

Tech has not had eight players average more than 10 minutes per game for a full season since 1988-89.

Jackets Reach Alaska Shootout Final
For the second straight year, Georgia Tech reached the final of a Thanksgiving week tournament and lost in the championship game.

The Yellow Jackets finished second in the Great Alaska Shootout, defeating Grambling State, 100-88, and Washington, 82-65, before falling to 11th-ranked Kansas in the final, 84-70. Last season, Tech fell to the Huskies in the title game of the Big Island Classic.

Jason Collier recorded a pair of double-doubles and averaged 20.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in the three games, earning a spot on the all-tournament team. Alvin Jones also made the all-tournament team after averaging 13 points and 6.3 rebounds. All five Tech starters averaged in double figures for the tournament, including Tony Akins (11.0), Shaun Fein (10.7) and Jason Floyd (10.7).

Jackets Return Everyone, Sort Of
Georgia Tech returns all of its players who played significant minutes on last year’s NIT squad with the exception of 6-7 senior Ashley Kelly, who averaged 7.8 minutes per game as a key reserve on a thin team. Tech lost guard Dion Glover to the NBA, but Glover missed all of last season with a knee injury.

NC State is the only other ACC team to return all five starters, and only the Wolfpack, with 13, and Wake Forest, with 11, return more than Tech’s 10 letterwinners.

Tech Signs Three Early
Georgia Tech signed three players during the November early signing period. Joining the fold will be 6-4 shooting guard Marvin Lewis of Montrose Christian School in Rockville, Md., 6-2 point guard Brendan Plavich of Dalton (Ga.) High School, and 6-7 small forward Halston Lane of Oak Ridge (Tenn.) High School.

Price Has Number Retired Again
The No. 25 worn by Mark Price as a player has been retired twice. Georgia Tech retired the all-America point guard’s number in his final home game in 1986. The Cleveland Cavaliers, the team for whom he played for nine seasons in his 12-year NBA career, retired his number in November.

Price, in his first season as an assistant coach at Tech, scored 2,193 points in his four-year Tech career, still the third-best all-time total, and led Tech to the 1985 ACC championship and two NCAA Tournaments.

An NBA all-star at Cleveland, he finished his NBA career as the league’s top percentage free throw shooter and helped build the Cavaliers into a perennial playoff team. His was the sixth jersey retired by the Cavaliers.

Freshmen of Influence
With Tony Akins in the starting lineup at the point guard position for Georgia Tech last season, head coach Bobby Cremins continued his long-standing practice of giving freshmen prominent roles on his Yellow Jacket teams. Clarence Moore, a 6-5 freshman from Norco, La., has made an impact as a reserve this season.

This season marks only the fourth time in Cremins’ 19 seasons at Tech that a freshman not been in the starting lineup. Akins was the 22nd rookie to join a season-opening starting lineup for the Yellow Jackets. Eight of them have earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors, and three others have been runner-up.

Of those 22 freshman starters, Akins was the seventh freshman to start at point guard, joining a list that includes Mark Price (1983), Kenny Anderson (1990), Travis Best (1992) and Stephon Marbury (1996).

Non-Conference Foes Beware
Georgia Tech is 111-4 against non-conference opposition at Alexander Memorial Coliseum during the Bobby Cremins era including the last 10 in a row. Tech’s third-round NIT loss to Penn State to end the 1997-98 season, its last home loss to a non-ACC team, snapped a 24-game home winning streak against teams outside the conference.

Florida A&M is the only non-conference game left on Tech’s home schedule. The other non-conference teams to win at the Thrillerdome during Cremins’ tenure are Richmond (Dec. 22, 1987), Louisville (Jan. 15, 1989) and the College of Charleston (Jan. 16, 1993).

Southern Comfort
Georgia Tech’s basketball roster, which for the third consecutive year is without a player from New York, has taken on a very home-state and Southern look.

Of the 15 players on Tech’s pre-season roster, eight are native Georgians, all from metropolitan Atlanta. Freshmen Clarence Moore and Ross Chouest are both from Louisiana, while Alex Luyk, a native Spaniard, prepped in Mobile, Ala. Jon Babul (North Attleboro, Mass.), Jason Collier (Springfield, Ohio) and Shaun Fein (Centerville, Mass.) are the only Jackets not from the Southeastern United States.

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