Men's Basketball Hosts IUPUI on Saturday

Dec. 27, 2001

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech continues its five-game homestand on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. when the Yellow Jackets host IUPUI in a regionally televised game on Fox Sports Net South.

Tech (6-6) follows Saturday*s game with home contests against Cornell (Jan. 2) and Clemson (Jan. 5). The Yellow Jackets enter the game against the Jaguars off a 79-69 loss to Tulane last Sunday night that snapped a season-long three-game winning streak. IUPUI is 5-5 following an 86-74 victory over Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 22.

The Yellow Jackets have been balanced offensively in the month of December, but are led primarily by the backcourt tandem of 5-11 Tony Akins (Sr., Lilburn, Ga.) and 6-4 Marvin Lewis (So., Germantown, Md.). Akins, Tech*s point guard who ranks among the Top 10 in the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring and assists, leads Tech in both categories with 16.1 points and 5.1 assists while shooting 41.0 percent from three-point range on the season. Lewis is Tech*s only other player averaging in double figures with 13.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He has hit 47.7 percent of his three-point attempts and is shooting 45.7 percent overall.

The rest of Tech*s starting five for IUPUI is expected to be 6-5 Clarence Moore (So., Norco, La.) and 6-5 Halston Lane (So., Oak Ridge, Tenn.) at the forwards and 6-8 Robert Brooks (So., Saginaw, Mich.) at center. That lineup has started the last three games against Davidson, Wofford and Tulane.

Moore, who notched a career-high 20 points against Syracuse and a double-double (13 pts, 10 rebs) against Davidson, averages 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds. Lane, who has started the last three games and averaged 11.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in that stretch, is 12-26 (46.1%) from three-point range in the last six games. Brooks, who averages 5.6 points and 6.4 rebounds for the season, is averaging 10.6 points and 8.2 rebounds in the last five games.

B.J. Elder (Fr., Madison, Ga.), a 6-3 guard, is Tech*s top scorer off the bench at 8.9 points per game, third on the team, followed by 6-5 forward Isma*il Muhammad (Fr., Atlanta, Ga.), averaging 7.7 points and 3.4 rebounds. Both Elder and Muhammad have scored in double figures in each of the last two games. Also coming off the bench is 6-7 power forward Ed Nelson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), who leads Tech in rebounding (6.8 per game) while scoring 5.3 points per game.

Tech Series vs. IUPUI

Georgia Tech and IUPUI are meeting for the first time on the basketball court today.

Last Time Out

Brandon Brown scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as Tulane beat Georgia Tech 79-69 Sunday night. The loss ended a three-game winning streak for Georgia Tech (6-6). Tony Akins and Halston Lane scored 13 points each for the Yellow Jackets, who shot 38.2 percent from the field.

Tulane never trailed, its largest margin coming at 50-36 on Wayne Tinsley’s basket with 14:25 left in the game. The Green Wave led 38-33 at the half on the strength of long-range shooting. Tulane connected on 7-of-10 3-point shots in the first half and 8-for-15 for the game.

Meanwhile, Georgia Tech missed nine of its first 11 shots and finished the first half shooting 35 percent. Tulane opened the second half with an 8-0 run and led 46-33 after Nick Sinville’s basket 3:25 into the half.

The Yellow Jackets hit five 3-pointers over the next five minutes and trimmed the lead to 54-52 on B.J. Elder’s layup at the 10:51 mark, but the Green Wave pushed the lead to 60-52 with a 6-0 run.

Three times in the final 5:30, Georgia Tech trimmed the lead to four, and Akins’ jumper at 3:23 cut it to two. But the Yellow Jackets could never take the lead in the second half.

A Balanced Attack

Only two Yellow Jackets, Tony Akins (16.1 ppg) and Marvin Lewis (13.4 ppg) are averaging in double-figures, as Tech features a deep lineup. Eight different players are averaging better than five points per game, including six who are scoring more than 7.5 points per game.

Eight different Yellow Jackets have scored in double figures at least once this season.

Offense Clicking Since Las Vegas

Georgia Tech has emerged from the offensive slump it experienced in the Las Vegas Invitational and against Wisconsin, averaging 81.0 points in the last six games. That includes 96 points against 13th-ranked Syracuse on Dec. 16, its highest scoring output since 97 in the season opener against Florida A&M.

The key to Tech*s success has been the ability to hit the three-point shot. Tech hit 17-34 (50.0%) from three-point range in the Yellow Jackets* back-to-back victories over Syracuse and Davidson, although they managed just a 6-23 mark in the most recent game against Wofford and struggled to a 8-26 effort in the 10-point loss to Tulane last Sunday night.

Tech Holding Its Own On The Boards

Rebounding and size were pre-season concerns for head coach Paul Hewitt, but the Yellow Jackets have gotten off to a good start on the boards despite having no player taller than 6-8 for the last six games. Tech has outrebounded its opponents by an average of nearly seven per game (42.1 to 35.7), and has beaten eight of 12 opponents on the boards.

Even with 6-11 Alvin Jones leading the ACC in rebounding a year ago, Tech struggled as a team, being outrebounded 40-to-37.5 for the season.

More impressive is the fact that Tech has averaged 16.7 offensive rebounds, which leads the ACC. Three Tech players * Clarence Moore (2.6), Ed Nelson (2.6) and Robert Brooks (2.7) rank among the ACC*s top 15 in offensive rebounds.

Shuffling the Lineup

Facing a roster with five new scholarship players, head coach Paul Hewitt used his fourth different in the first 10 games on Dec. 17 at Davidson while tinkering to find that right combination. The backcourt duo of Tony Akins and Marvin Lewis are the only players to have started all 12 games this season, while eight different players have started at least one game.

Sophomore swingman Halston Lane cracked the starting five for the first time in his career against Davidson, while freshman Ed Nelson came off the bench for the first time this season.

Clarence Moore has started 10 games, Nelson has started nine, Robert Brooks has started seven, Luke Schenscher five, Lane three, and Anthony McHenry has started two contests.

Despite who starts the game, Hewitt is still using a nine-man rotation while Schenscher is out with a foot injury. Counting Schenscher, 10 different Yellow Jackets are averaging at least 10 minutes a game.

Bench Providing a Spark for Tech

Playing with a 10-man rotation (nine now with the absence of Schenscher) since the arrival of head coach Paul Hewitt, Georgia Tech has come to rely more heavily on its bench. They have provided the Jackets some real spark offensively through the early going this season.

Tech*s bench scored 46 of 77 points Dec. 1 at North Carolina, led by 17 points each from B.J. Elder and Halston Lane and 12 from Isma*il Muhammad. Previously, the high for the bench in 37 games under Hewitt was 40 against Florida A&M on Nov. 16.

This season, Tech has gotten 25.8 points per game from its bench, roughly 35 percent of its total scoring output of 75.8 points per game. Tech has had a double-figure scorer off the bench in six games this season.

Last year, Tech received 20.4 points per game from its reserves, 25 percent of its total scoring output.

Akins At The Point

Tony Akins has been Georgia Tech*s most consistent offensive player through the early going, scoring in double digits in 11 of 12 games and leading the Jackets in scoring at 16.1 points per game (7th in the ACC) while averaging 5.1 assists (4th in the ACC).

Akins had scored in double figures in 22 straight games before being held to just five points on Dec. 21 against Wofford. Nevertheless, Akins has still hit at least one three-pointer in 24 straight games since going scoreless against Clemson on Jan. 24 last season. He has hit 41.0 percent of his three-point attempts this season.

Akins went over the 1,000-point plateau for his career at Wake Forest last Feb. 14, the 32nd Tech player to do so all-time. He now has 1,311 career points, jumping to 19th place in Tech history after beginning the year in 28th. He needs two points to move past Alvin Jones (1,312 points, 1998-01) for 18th place.

Akins also ranks eighth in career assists (445) and 9th in steals (137).

Akins For Three

Tony Akins has made his mark as one of the top three-point shooters in Georgia Tech history. Only Dennis Scott (351-for-831) and Travis Best (258-for-656) rank ahead of Akins on Tech*s career lists for three-point field goals made and attempted.

Akins, who is 244-for-669 in his career (36.5 percent), has hit a three-pointer in 24 straight games. In his junior and senior years taken together, Akins has posted an accuracy rate of 42.9 percent.

Scott, who set his records in three seasons, shot 42.2 percent from three-point range in his career.

Lewis Finds His Mark Inside the Arc

Marvin Lewis has already established himself as one of the top three-point shooters in the ACC. But over the last four games, Lewis has made his mark from two-point range.

While struggling to just a 3-for-13 mark on threee-point attempts in the last four games, Lewis has made 12 of 25 two point attempts (.600) in that stretch. He continues to show his smooth stroke at the free throw line, making 16 of his last 17 attempts from the charity stripe and shooting 87.2% for the season.

As a freshman last year, Lewis averaged 8.7 points and 4.5 rebounds, ranking third among ACC freshmen in both categories, and made the ACC all-Freshman team and the Academic all-ACC team.

Brooks, Moore Provide a Lift

After a two-game absence from the starting lineup, Clarence Moore got back in the lineup for Georgia (Dec. 9) and responded with a career-high 20 points with 7 assists against Syracuse and a double-double in the following game against Davidson. Meanwhile, Robert Brooks has responded with 53 points and 41 rebounds in the last five games against Georgia (13 and 10), Syracuse (17 and 8), Davidson (5 and 9), Wofford (12 and 9) and IUPUI (6 and 5).

Head coach Paul Hewitt inserted Brooks in the lineup Dec. 28 against Wisconsin, and the 6-8 sophomore has started the last seven contests. Moore started the first five games, came off the bench for Wisconsin and North Carolina, then has started the last five.

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