Dec. 21, 2001
ATLANTA – After playing in Alexender Memorial Coliseum just three times in the first 10 games of 2001-02, Georgia Tech opens a five-game homestand on Friday at 3 p.m. against Southern Conference foe Wofford.
Tech (5-5) follows Friday’s game with home contests against Tulane, IUPUI, Cornell and Clemson. The Yellow Jackets enter Friday’s game following back-to-back wins over 12th-ranked Syracuse and Davidson, while Wofford is 6-5 after a 77-55 win over Reinhardt on Tuesday.
The Yellow Jackets have been balanced offensively in the last four games, 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 has averaged 20.0 points and 7.4 assists in the last five games, leads Tech in both categories with 17.5 points and 5.3 assists while shooting 45.1 percent from three-point range on the season. Lewis is Tech’s only other player averaging in double figures with 13.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He has hit 52.6 percent of his three-point attempts and is shooting 46.9 percent overall.
The rest of Tech’s starting five for Wofford 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 started together for the first time against Davidson on Wednesday night.
Moore, who notched a career-high 20 points against Syracuse and a double-double (13 pts, 10 rebs) against Davidson, averages 8.4 points and 5.7 rebounds and is shooting 47.6 percent from the floor. Lane, who made his first career start against Davidson and netted 10 points and six rebounds, is 9-17 (52.9%) from three-point range in the last four games. Brooks, who averages 4.9 points and 6.3 rebounds, is averaging 11.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in the last three games.
B.J. Elder (Fr., Madison, Ga.), a 6-3 guard, is Tech’s top scorer off the bench at 8.1 points per game, fourth on the team. Other key reserves include 6-5 forward Isma’il Muhammad (Fr., Atlanta, Ga.), averaging 7.1 points and 3.2 rebounds, and 6-7 power forward Ed Nelson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Nelson leads Tech in rebounding (7.2 per game) while scoring 5.5 points per game.
Tech Series vs. Wofford
Georgia Tech leads its series with Wofford, which dates back to 1921, 11-2. All 13 games between the Yellow Jackets and the Terriers have been played in Atlanta. Wofford’s last win in the series came in the form of a 49-44 win in 1980, and the Terriers also claimed a 20-18 win in 1921.
Tech and Wofford met last season on Nov. 17 when the Yellow Jackets claimed a 92-49 victory in what was Paul Hewitt’s first game as Tech’s head coach. Shaun Fein led the way for the Yellow Jackets with 32 points in 22 minutes, while Alvin Jones added 14 points and Tony Akins 10 points. Tech built a 15 point halftime and held Wofford to just 25.5% shooting from the floor en route to the 43-point victory.
Offense Clicking Since Las Vegas
Georgia Tech has emerged from the offensive slump it experienced in the Las Vegas Invitational and against Wisconsin, averaging 84.5 points in the last four games. That includes 96 points against 13th-ranked Syracuse last Sunday, 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 has hit 17-34 (50.0%) from three-point range in the Yellow Jackets’ back-to-back victories over Syracuse and Davidson, while the Jackets tied a season high with 14 treys against Georgia on Dec. 9.
Last Time Out
Tony Akins scored a season-high 25 points on 8-for-10 shooting, including a perfect 5-for-5 from three-point range to lead the Yellow Jackets to a 83-69 win over Davidson on Wednesday night at the Charlotte Coliseum. Tech held a narrow 32-31 lead at the half before lighting the lamp for 51 points in the second period to cruise to the 14-point victory.
The Yellow Jackets shot just 38.1% from the floor, but 7-for-14 shooting from three-point range and a 28-for-39 mark from the free throw line proved to be the difference.
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 four games. Tech has outrebounded its opponents by an average of more than seven per game (42.8 to 35.7), and has beaten seven of 10 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 17.1 offensive rebounds, which leads the ACC. Three Tech players – Clarence Moore (2.8), Ed Nelson (2.8) and Robert Brooks (2.5) 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 10 games on Wednesday night 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 10 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. Nelson has started nine games, Clarence Moore has started eight, Robert Brooks and Luke Schenscher have started five apiece, Anthony McHenry has two starts, and Lane has started one contest.
Despite who starts the game, Hewitt is still using a nine-man rotation while Schenscher is out with a foot injury (see below). Counting Schenscher, 10 different Yellow Jackets are averaging at least 10 minutes a game.
Georgia Tech (5-5) vs. Wofford (6-5)December 21, 2001 * 3 p.m. * Alexander Memorial Coliseum * Atlanta, Ga.
TV: none Radio: WQXI-AM (790), WMAX-FM (98.1), Wes Durham, pbp, Randy Waters, color, also on Ramblinwreck.com Tech Record: 5-5, 0-1 ACC H: 2-1, A: 0-2, N: 3-2 Series vs. Wofford: Tech leads, 11-2 Last meeting: Nov. 17, 2000, Tech d. Wofford, 92-49, at Alexander Memorial Coliseum Tech vs. Wofford in Atlanta: 11-2 Hewitt Record: 88-45 (.662), 5th season Hewitt at Tech: 22-18 (.550), 2nd season Last game: Dec. 19, Tech d. Davidson, 83-69, at the Charlotte Coliseum Next game: Dec. 23, vs. Tulane, 8 p.m., Alexander Memorial Coliseum
Probable Starters F 5 Clarence Moore 6-5 So.-R 8.4 ppg 5.7 rpg career-high 20 pts. vs. Syracuse, double-double vs. Davidson F 33 Halston Lane 6-5 So. 8.1 ppg 3.2 rpg 11.0 ppg, 9-17 3FG last 4 games C 34 Robert Brooks 6-8 So. 4.9 ppg 6.3 rpg started last 5 games, 11.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg last 3 games G 3 Tony Akins 5-11 Sr. 17.5 ppg 5.3 apg 22-41 3FG (53.7%) last 5 games, two 10-assist games G 24 Marvin Lewis 6-4 So. 13.9 ppg 4.8 rpg leads Tech in 3FG% (20-38, 53.6%)
Top Reserves G 1 B.J. Elder 6-3 Fr. 8.1 ppg 2.0 rpg top scorer off bench F 32 Ed Nelson 6-7 Fr. 5.5 ppg 7.2 rpg leads Tech in rebounding F 55 Anthony McHenry 6-6 Fr. 1.0 ppg 0.9 rpg has started two games, averaging 10.8 minutes F 2 Isma’il Muhammad 6-5 Fr. 7.1 ppg 3.2 rpg 8.6 ppg, 18-37 FG last 5 games C 12 Luke Schenscher 7-0 Fr. 3.7 ppg 2.5 rpg out 4-6 weeks with broken foot