Jackets Host Boston College to Begin Final Push

Feb. 26, 2010

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech, fresh from a week off since it last played, begins its final week of the regular season Saturday by hosting Boston College in a 12 noon Atlantic Coast Conference game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The game is being regionally televised on the ACC’s regional cable network and broadcast on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Radio Network.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (18-9, 6-7 ACC) vs.
Boston College Eagles (14-13, 5-8 ACC)
Date:
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Tipoff: 12 noon Eastern time
Site: Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex
Television: FS South and other regional cable outlets in the ACC region – Bob Rathbun play-by-play, Eddie Fogler color
Radio: Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, live on flagship station WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY-FM (106.7). Wes Durham play-by-play, Randy Waters color.
Satellite Radio: XM 190, Sirius 220
On the web: Audio and live stats available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Tickets for Tech home games: available at www.Ramblinwreck.com/tickets
Series History: Tech leads, 7-4
Tech at Alexander Memorial Coliseum: Tech is 13-1 in its home arena this year, 545-188 all-time.
National Rankings: Tech is receiving votes in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Boston College is not ranked.

Tech, 18-9 overall, 6-7 in the ACC, had a bye in the conference schedule following its heart-breaking 76-74 loss at Maryland last Saturday. The Yellow Jackets begin the last week of the regular season alone in seventh place in the ACC standings, but are within a game and a half of Clemson and Florida State, who are tied for fifth. Tech is 2-9 under head coach Paul Hewitt following byes in the conference schedule.

The Jackets lost at Maryland on a three-point shot at the buzzer by Cliff Tucker, dropping them to 1-6 on the road in the ACC this year. Tech, 13-1 at home this year and 5-1 in ACC play, has won eight straight at home since an overtime loss to Florida State on Dec. 20.

Boston College is 14-13 overall, 5-8 in the ACC following its 80-60 homecourt win over Virginia Tech Wednesday night. The Eagles have won two straight games after dropping four in a row, and are tied with Virginia for eighth place in the ACC standings.

Saturday’s game is the only time Tech and BC will meet in the regular season. The Eagles won both meetings last year, 80-76 in overtime in Atlanta and 67-66 decision in Chestnut Hill.

Tech has dropped out of both the Associated Press writers poll and the ESPN/USA Today polls last week after having appeared in at least one of them each week this season. The Jackets began the season No. 22 in the AP poll, No. 20 in the coaches poll.

Next Up for Tech

Georgia Tech’s final week of the regular season includes an 8 p.m. game at Clemson Tuesday night, and a 4 p.m. home game against Virginia Tech next Saturday.

Series History with Boston College

> Boston College captured its first-ever victory at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in three tries last season with an 80-76 overtime win on Jan. 20, then completed the regular-season sweep with a 67-66 win in Chestnut Hill on March 7.

> Nine of the games in the short series have been decided by less than 10 points, seven of them by four points or less, and two by overtime.

> Tech won the only regular-season meeting between the two teams in the two seasons before 2008-09, 74-60 in Atlanta in 2006-07 and 86-78 in Chestnut Hill in 2007-08.

> The teams split two meetings in 2005-06, each team winning at home in BC’s first season in the ACC.

> The four meetings in Boston were played at three different venues. The Jan. 29, 2005 game was Tech’s first visit to the Conte Forum, BC’s current home court. The first game in the series on Dec. 31, 1946, was played at Boston Arena, and the teams also played in the Boston Garden on Jan. 19, 1980.

> Prior to the 2005-06 season, 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.

Last Time Out

After one buzzer-beating shot by Maryland was waved off because a timeout was called by the Terrapins, Maryland’s Cliff Tucker made good on a second chance by draining a three-pointer as the clock expired to lift the Terps past Georgia Tech, 76-74, in College Park.

The shot ended a sequence in which the lead changed four times in the final minute (there were 12 ties and 12 lead changes in the game). Derrick Favors, who played his best game of the year with 21 points and 18 rebounds, both career highs, gave the Yellow Jackets both of their leads in the final minute with tip-ins after offensive rebounds.

It was the sixth time this year that Tech saw a conference game decided by exactly two points, and the second time in four games that the Yellow Jackets lost on a last-second shot.

Tech played one of its best games of the year, but fell short on the road against a team also playing very good basketball. Iman Shumpert rebounded from a couple of poor games by scoring 17 points with five rebounds and three assists (no turnovers) while hitting 3-of-4 three-point tries. Gani Lawal added 12 points and five rebounds.

Defense Remains Bedrock of Tech Success

Georgia Tech has been one of the better defensive teams in the ACC and the nation this season, a consistent reason why the Yellow Jackets have won 18 games.

> Tech is No. 2 in the ACC behind Florida State and No. 4 in the nation in field goal percentage defense (37.2 pct.) in all games this season, and are also No. 2 in the ACC in league games only (39.5 pct.). Against the three, the Jackets are sixth in the conference and 40th in the nation (30.9 pct.).

> Head coach Paul Hewitt’s team also ranks in the upper half of the ACC in rebound average (3rd) and rebound margin (6th, 36th nationally), while also ranking in the top 55 nationally in blocked shots (23rd) and steals (55th).

> In ACC games only, Tech is No. 2 in the conference in blocked shots, fourth in steals, second in rebound average and sixth in rebound margin.

> The Yellow Jackets have allowed 70 points in a game only seven times in the last 22 games, and have not allowed an opponent to shoot better than 44.6 percent from the floor this year. Tech has a streak of 32 straight games without an opponent shooting 50 percent against it.

> Only eight opponents – all in Tech losses – have shot as high as 40 percent from the floor against the Jackets this year.

> Tech is 17-1 this season (Miami the exception) when the opponent shoots under 40 percent from the floor, 106-22 in the Paul Hewitt era.

Paul Hewitt Quotes – February 25

On how difficult it is to deal with a team that has lost two games on buzzer-beaters in a 10-day span:

“I told them after the game – because they were pretty upset after the game – the shame would be if we don’t play at that level come Saturday against Boston College. I don’t think there’s any shame in losing a game like that. To give everything you have and put yourself in a position to win a basketball game against a team that’s playing very well. When you put it that way to them, they realize now that we get past that and keep playing at the level we’ve been playing at the last 10 or 15 days. If we continue to keep playing like that, it’ll work out fine.”

On if there is any thought on what might have been if Tech pulled out the Miami or Maryland contests:

“You can’t lie to yourself at this time of the year. They’ve done a good job of it. I have to give credit to D’Andre [Bell] and Zach [Peacock]; for the young guys, its really been an interesting experience for them. Iman [Shumpert] was really telling Brian [Oliver] about how they didn’t realize how tough and how important every possession is, but that’s part of the growth process. Again, at this time of the year when you are close to something, you can’t look back. You have to look to Boston College and beat them. “

On Boston College:

“They played really well [in their 80-60 win over Virginia Tech on Wednesday]. We have to get these guys to really focus on what we’re doing. You just have to come out and play. I’m confident that if we play like we have in the last 10 to 12 days, we can play with anybody in this league.

“[Against Virginia Tech] Their guards played great. [Rakim] Sanders and [Corey] Raji are big strong kids, but [Reggie] Jackson is the one who has really come on strong. He’s a sophomore, and he cracked the stating lineup a few games ago. He wasn’t in the starting lineup until the North Carolina game, but since then he has come in and played very, very well.”

On the support the team has received from some:

“Well, they’re appreciative, very appreciative. We all are appreciative. That’s the thing that you try to get people to focus on, especially the guys in the program. But, the majority of people are behind you and they know that their supporters are supporting them, especially as we come down the stretch here.”

On the negative reactions the season has brought about amongst some:

“They have their right, you don’t say anything. They have their right to voice whatever they want to voice, but at the same time, come game time, the people that want to see this out and finish out what we’re on the verge of to show up. People who don’t want to see them do it, that’s fine. It’s part of the business.”

On Gani Lawal being nominated for the Naismith Trophy:

“He’s worked so hard. This year, I’ve seen him make more progress than I saw him make the last two years combined. I’m happy for him that he’s enjoying this type of season, but he’d be the first to tell you that there is a big goal in mind, and that is to get to the [NCAA] Tournament and that’s what we have to do to make sure that this year is a successful one for him and the rest of the team.”

On Derrick Favors’ game against Maryland:

“Well it was the first game in the ACC that he didn’t have any fouls in the first half, so when he stays out of foul trouble, he’s a great player. He’s a game-changing player. It’s been frustrating seeing how many fouls he’s picked up. I personally think some of them were warranted, others were a little ticky-tack. Hopefully, we’ve talked enough to him and the powers that be to just watch him and make sure he doesn’t pick up any cheap fouls. If he’s stays out of foul trouble, he’s a game-changing guy.”

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