Georgia Tech-Florida State Pregame Notes

Georgia Tech (11-13, 3-8) at Florida State (9-13, 4-7)
February 21, 2000 * 7 p.m. * Tallahassee-Leon County C.C. * Tallahassee, Fla.

TV: RSN (Fox Sports Net South in Atlanta), Dan Bonner, Mike Goldberg
Radio: WGST (640 AM) in Atlanta, flagship for the Georgia Tech Radio Network (Wes Durham, play-by-play; Randy Waters, color)
Tech Record: 11-13, 3-8 ACC
Home: 9-3; Away: 0-7; Neut.: 2-3
Tech vs. FSU: FSU leads 23-18
vs. FSU under Cremins: 8-9
First Meeting This Year: 1-19-00, Tech 65-62 (Atlanta)
Last Year’s Meetings:
1-15-99, FSU 75-56 (Atlanta)
2-11-99, Tech 111-108, 2ot (Tallahassee)
at Tallahassee-Leon Co. C.C.: 4-4
Nat’l Rank: Neither team ranked
Cremins’ Record: 452-303 (.599), 25th season
Cremins at Tech: 352-233 (.602), 19th season
Last Tech game: Feb. 16, lost at Maryland, 92-70
Next Tech game: Feb. 24, home vs. NC State, 7 p.m.

Probable Starters

F 52 Jason Collier  7-0   Sr. 16.4 ppg  9.7 rpg      Leads ACC in rebounding, double-doubles (11)F 42 Clarence Moore 6-4   Fr.  5.4 ppg  4.1 rpg      Averaging 12.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.5 spg as a starterC 4  Alvin Jones    6-11  Jr. 10.3 ppg  8.1 rpg      5th in ACC in rebounding, 1st in blocks (2.7), 7 BS vs. UVaG 10 T.J. Vines     5-10  Jr.  4.5 ppg  2.3 apg      Averaging 6.5 ppg, 3.3 apg as a starterG 11 Shaun Fein     6-3   Jr. 11.0 ppg  3.3 apg      4th in ACC in A-TO (1.56); 13.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg last 4 games

Top Reserves

G   3  Tony Akins        5-11 So. 10.9 ppg  3.8 apg        Tech's top free throw shooter at .842; 17 pts vs. MarylandF   34 Jason Floyd       6-6  Sr.  9.5 ppg  3.5 rpg        Ranks sixth in Tech history in career 3-pointers (160)F   23 Jon Babul         6-7  Jr.  4.1 ppg  4.2 rpg        Missed last 8 games with strained right quadricepsG   13 Darryl LaBarrie   6-3  Jr.  1.4 ppg  0.2 rpg        6 points vs. FAMUF/C 44 Michael Isenhour  6-8  So.  1.2 ppg  1.0 rpg        Missed Maryland game with sprained ankle

Cremins to Step Down at Season’s End

Georgia Tech head coach Bobby Cremins announced in a press conference last Friday afternoon that he will step down at the end of 1999-2000 season, concluding his 19-year career with the Yellow Jackets and ending the most successful era in Tech basketball history.

Cremins, who took over the Tech program in 1981-82 following a 4-23 season, is the third winningest coach in ACC history with a record of 352-233 (.602). Only North Carolina’s Dean Smith 8879) and Duke Mike Krzyzewski (490) have won more games as ACC head coaches than Cremins. His overall record is 452-303 (.599) in his 25th season as a head coach.

Cremins, 52, guided Tech to 14 winning seasons and 14 postseason berths in his 19 years, including 10 of the 11 NCAA appearances in school history, highlighted by a trip to the Final Four in 1990. He led the Jackets to three ACC tournament titles, one ACC regular season championship and a share of another.

His littany of great players began with Mark Price and John Salley and continued with Duane Ferrell, Tom Hammonds, Dennis Scott, Kenny Anderson, Jon Barry, Travis Best, Stephon Marbury and Matt Harpring as he coached six all-America’s, 23 all-ACC players and eight ACC Rookie of the Year honorees. Twenty of Cremins’ former Yellow Jackets have gone on to the NBA11 are currently activeincluding 11 first-round draft picks.

Jackets Fall to 22nd-ranked Maryland

Georgia Tech faces its second straight road game at Florida State after falling 92-70 at 22nd-ranked Maryland last Wednesday. Juan Dixon scored a career-high 33 points for the Terrapins, who shot 54 percent from the field. Tony Akins scored 17 points off the bench for the Yellow Jackets, who hit 10 three-pointers in the game. Akins had four treys and Shaun Fein had five for 15 points, while freshman Clarence Moore grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds.

The Series with Florida State

Georgia Tech has won two in a row and three of the last four meetings with Florida State, but the Seminoles lead the series, 23-18. FSU won the first six meetings after joining the ACC in 1991-92, but since then, Tech has won eight of the last 11.

Last month in Atlanta, Shaun Fein had a game-high 18 points and five assists and Jason Collier contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead Tech to a 65-62 victory. (See page 8 for complete boxscore).

The Seminoles’ last win in the series was 75-56 victory last season in Atlanta.

Tech has won two in a row and four of the last five games at Tallahassee. The Jackets are 4-4 at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center and 7-11 in all games on FSU’s homecourt.

Last year’s meeting in Tallahassee was a memorable one as Tech earned a 111-108 double-overtime victory, led by 58 points and 27 rebounds from the duo of Jason Collier (career-high 30 points, 10 points) and Alvin Jones (career-high 28 points, 17 rebounds). After FSU’s Adrian Crawford sent the game into overtime with a running jumper with 4.5 seconds left, Jason Floyd rescued the Jackets with a three-pointer with 32.9 seconds left in the first overtime to force the second extra session. The game was second-highest scoring ACC game of the 1990s and the highest since Duke defeated Maryland, 114-110, in overtime in 1990.

Moore of a Good Thing

Clarence Moore is making the most of his opportunity to start for the Yellow Jackets. The 6-4 freshman from Norco, La., has averaged 12.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals, 2.0 assists and 1.3 blocked shots in his first four starts. He has hit 16 of 31 shots from the field (53.3 percent) and 15 of 20 from the free throw line (75 percent).

In his first start against FAMU, Moore responded with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists. He hit six of eight shots from the field, was 5-for-5 from the free throw line and also contributed three steals and a blocked shot.

Moore was even better against Virginia, recording his first double-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and one block. Against third-ranked Duke, he contributed nine points, five rebounds and two steals, and then against Maryland he grabbed a career-best 15 rebounds, along with eight points, four steals, three assists and two blocks.

As a reserve, Moore’s highs were eight points against Morehead State and seven rebounds against UNC Greensboro.

A Fein Find

Junior Shaun Fein has scored in double figures in his last four games, averaging 13.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists in that stretch. The 6-3 junior transfer from Stonehill College is coming off a 15-point performance at Maryland in which he hit five three-pointers on nine attempts, his best performance of the season in a road game.

Earlier this season, Fein put together two of his best games in back-to-back ACC wins over Maryland and Florida State, in which he hit 10-of-17 three-pointers, contributing 17 points and four assists against the Terrapins and 18 points and five assists versus the Seminoles.

Fein averages 11.0 points, 3.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game and is fourth in the ACC with an assist-turnover ratio of 1.54. He is second in the league with 2.4 three-pointers per game and sixth in three-point percentage at .365. He also leads Tech with 27 steals, including six against Florida A&M.

Tech Players vs. Florida State

Player   G  FG     3FG   FT    RB Avg  A  Bl St TP AvgAkins    3  11-44  6-27  2-4   8  3.7  18 0  7  30 10.0Babul    5  4-14   0-3   6-9   17 3.4  7  3  1  14 2.8Collier  3  20-36  7-12  14-20 26 8.7  5  6  2  61 20.2Fein     1  6-11   6-10  0-0   3  3.0  5  0  2  18 18.0Floyd    7  20-53  10-31 9-10  26 3.7  7  2  8  59 8.4Jones    5  18-31  0-0   18-31 44 8.8  6  14 3  54 10.8LaBarrie 2  3-8    1-3   0-0   1  0.5  0  0  1  7  3.5Moore    1  0-2    0-0   0-0   2  2.0  2  0  1  0  0.0Vines    5  9-21   6-12  0-0   3  0.6  6  0  2  25 5.0

Lineup Changes Pay Dividends

After using the same starting lineup for the first 20 games of the season, head coach Bobby Cremins made two changes against Florida A&M, inserting freshman swingman Clarence Moore and junior point guard T.J. Vines into the starting five in place of Jason Floyd and Tony Akins, respectively.

Moore has averaged 12.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals as a starter. Vines, who started 11 games last year, has averaged 6.5 points and 3.3 assists.

Akins has averaged 11.3 points in a reserve role while Floyd has averaged 6.5 points. The two combined for 17 points off the bench against Virginia and 26 versus Maryland.

Tech Holds Cavaliers to 47 Points

In its 68-47 victory over Virginia on Feb. 12, Georgia Tech allowed its fewest points in an ACC game since a 48-43 victory over Maryland on Feb. 19, 1985. Tech’s 21-point win was its largest margin of victory against an ACC opponent in 72 games, since a 21-point victory over Florida State on Jan. 27, 1996.

Tech held Virginia to 27.6 percent shooting from the field, a season-low for the Cavaliers, and the Jackets’ best defensive performance against an ACC team since limiting Virginia to 24.7 percent in a 68-56 victory in the 1992 ACC Tournament quarterfinals.

Collier Enjoying All-Round Season

Jason Collier leads Georgia Tech in both scoring (16.4) and rebounding (9.7), ranking fourth in the ACC in scoring and first in rebounding. He is bidding to become the first Tech player to lead the ACC in rebounding.

One of 30 candidates for the John Wooden Award, Collier is eighth in the ACC in field goal percentage (.473) and eighth in free throw percentage (.748), joining Maryland’s Terence Morris as the only players to rank among the league’s Top 10 in all four categories. The seven-foot senior is also eighth in blocked shots (1.1) while leading the league with 11 double-doubles, including six of the last 10 games.

The Springfield, Ohio, native is shooting fewer threes than he did last season but has been effective from beyond the arc, hitting 22 of 60 (.367).

Babul Questionable

Junior forward Jon Babul is questionable for the Florida State game with a strained right quadriceps. He has missed the last eight 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.

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 9-3 in their on-campus home this season, have shot 37.4 percent (99-265) from three-point range at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Contrast that with games away from home, in which the Jackets have hit just 29.9 percent (86-288) of their threes. Overall, Tech shoots 42.6 percent from the field at home and 38.7 percent away from home.

The home court advantage is most pronounced for Shaun Fein, who has hit 45 percent (36-80) of his threes at the Thrillerdome, versus 28 percent (21-76) away from home. The 6-3 guard is averaging 13.7 points in Tech’s nine home games but just 8.3 points in other arenas.

Jackets Cashing In At The Line

The Yellow Jackets have made a significant improvement as a team in free throw shooting this season, tied for second in the ACC at 70.2 percent. Last year’s team shot 62.1 percent.

Tech has been able to handle the pressure of close games with even better free throw shooting. In Tech’s win over 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 11 victories, Tech has hit 58-of-67 free throws (87 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), nine versus Maryland (9-17) and eight against Virginia (8-14), average 7.6 treys per game. Four Tech playersShaun Fein (57), Tony Akins (46), Jason Floyd (33) and Jason Collier (22)have hit more than 20 treys, while T.J. Vines has added 18.

Fein is second in the ACC treys per game (2.4) and sixth in percentage (.365), while Akins ranks fifth (1.9) and ninth (.341), respectively

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.

Akins Takes Advantage of Charity

Tony Akins is Tech’s top free throw shooter at 84.2 percent, which would lead the ACC if he had enough attempts to qualify. The 5-10 guard has managed to get to the free low line more frequently in recent games, going 17-for-20 in the last five games after shooting just six free throws in the previous eight games.

Earlier this season, Akins made 27 consecutive free throws, five away from the school record of 33 in a row by Drew Barry during the 1995-96 season. 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 1,230. The 7-foot senior has scored 824 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 1,234 career points, including 971 (19.7 per game) in two seasons at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass.

Senior Jason Floyd, with 961 career points, has a chance to become the 30th Tech player to score 1,000 points in a Yellow Jacket uniform.

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 fourth in the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.54-1). He averages 3.3 assists per game, which ranks eighth in the league, and he leads Tech with 27 steals.

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 95 of 157 from the stripe (60.5 percent), shooting 31 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 10 of 24 games this season, including four games in which five players reached double figures, most recently against Florida A&M.

Four Tech players are averaging at least 10 points per game, ranging from 16.4 points per game for Jason Collier (4th in the ACC) to 10.3 for Alvin Jones, while Jason Floyd is just under double figures at 9.5. The last Tech team to have five players 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 8.1 per game, followed by Jon Babul at 4.2. Clarence Moore, who has averaged 9.5 boards in the last four games, is averaging 4.1 for the season

Jones, the ACC’s career rebound leader among active players with 716, grabbed 16 against Michigan, the best for a Jacket this season, 15 against Stanford and 13 versus Duke.

Collier (3.04) and Jones (2.96) rank third and fourth, respectively, in the ACC in offensive rebounds per game.

The Yellow Jackets are outrebounding their opponents collectively, 39.7-36.1, a +3.6 margin.

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 312 rejections in 88 games, including eight in the season opener against Mercer and seven against Virginia.

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. After becoming just the seventh player in league history to reach 300 blocked shots, his next target is former Clemson Tiger Elden Campbell, who ranks sixth with 334 blocks.

Jones career average of 3.55 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 405 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.

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 leads the Jackets with 31.9 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.

Tech’s top eight players all average at least 15 minutes per game. Tech has not had eight players average more than 10 minutes a 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).

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 career as the league’s top free throw shooter and helped build the Cavaliers into a perennial playoff team. His was the sixth jersey retired by the Cavaliers.

Non-Conference Foes Beware

Georgia Tech is 112-4 against non-conference opposition at Alexander Memorial Coliseum during the Bobby Cremins era including the last 11 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.

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).

Freshmen of Influence

Freshman swingman Clarence Moore is the latest rookie to join the Georgia Tech starting lineup under Bobby Cremins. Last year, Tony Akins was the 22nd rookie to join a season-opening starting lineup for the Yellow Jackets, and he started every game of 1998-99.

In all but three of Cremins’ 19 seasons at Tech, at least one freshman has been in the starting lineup. Eight of them have earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors, and three others have been runner-up.

The list of freshman starters under Cremins includes seven rookies who have started at point guard,including Mark Price (1983), Kenny Anderson (1990), Travis Best (1992) and Stephon Marbury (1996).

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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