Dec. 1, 2008
Georgia Tech hosts a pair of big games this week as it continues its six-game homestand, entertaining Penn State Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and Vanderbilt in an ACC-SEC battle Saturday. Tech does not leave campus again until a Dec. 20-22 trip to California. Wednesday’s game tips at 7:30 p.m. and is being nationally televised on ESPN2.
Tickets for Wednesday’s game are $30 and can be purchased at the gate. The game can also be heard on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, including flagship station WQXI-AM (790) and student station WREK-FM (91.1) in Atlanta, as well as WTSH-FM (107.1). Nationally, the Tech radio broadcast can be heard on XM Satellite Radio Channel 192.
> A Tech win Wednesday night would produce the Jackets’ first 5-0 start since the 2006-07 season (5-0 start), and even Georgia Tech’s record in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at 5-5. Wednesday’s game will be the third meeting overall between the two teams, and the second in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
> Tech head coach Paul Hewitt is in his ninth season with the Yellow Jackets (146-112) and his 12th season as a head coach (212-139). Hewitt ranks 20th all-time in victories among ACC coaches.
> Penn State (6-1) won its first five games of the season before stumbling against Rhode Island, 77-72, in the Philly Hoop Group Classic last Friday. The Nittany Lions recovered to beat Towson, 78-54, Saturday.
> Tech is 160-11 against non-conference foes at Alexander Memorial Coliseum since the beginning of the 1981-82 season, the most recent losses coming to No. 3 Kansas and UNC Greensboro last season. Penn State is one of the 11 non-ACC teams to win at the Thrillerdome during that time, defeating the Jackets in the 1998 Post-Season NIT.
> Georgia Tech was picked to finish eighth in the ACC by the media at the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Operation Basketball media gathering. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 15-17 season (7-9, tie for seventh in the ACC) from which only six players with starting experience return, two of whom are not available to play due to injury or academics.
Series With Penn State
> Both prior meetings between Georgia Tech and Penn State have taken place at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, each team winning once.
> Most recently, Tech defeated the Nittany Lions, 77-73, in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup on Nov. 28, 2006. Only one Tech player who participated in that game, junior Zachery Peacock (4 points, 2 assists, 29 minutes), is dressed and will play Wednesday night.
> In the teams’ first encounter, Penn State denied the Yellow Jackets a trip to New York in the Post-season NIT with a 75-70 victory in Atlanta. Tech had been awarded home games in each of the first three rounds of the event, but the Jackets were unable to parlay that into a trip to New York.
> Tech assistant coach John O’Connor is a 1983 graduate of Penn State.
Tech in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Georgia Tech is 4-5 in its previous ACC/Big Ten Challenge meetings, including an 83-79 loss at Indiana last December. Tech has won all three of its Challenge games at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and dropped the only neutral court meeting, an 80-77 verdict against Michigan in 1999 at Philips Arena. The Jackets are 15-29 all-time against the Big Ten.
At home in ACC/Big Ten action, Georgia Tech has defeated Wisconsin (62-61 in 2001), Michigan (99-68 in 2003) and Penn State (77-73 in 2006).
Tech has played five Challenge games on Big Ten homecourts, including an 88-86 loss at Michigan State in 2005, a 73-53 win at Ohio State in 2003, a 64-63 loss at Minnesota in 2002 and an 85-67 loss at Iowa in 2000.
Quick Look at Tech
Head coach Paul Hewitt’s regular starting lineup in the early going includes sophomore Moe Miller and freshman Iman Shumpert at guard, with junior Zachery Peacock, senior Alade Aminu and sophomore Gani Lawal along the front line.
Sophomore Lance Storrs has started Tech’s last two games, however, after Miller sustained a mild concussion in the Mercer game and did not play against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
With senior D’Andre Bell (spinal stenosis) out for the season and senior Lewis Clinch (academically ineligible) out for the semester, Peacock is being asked to utilize his outside shooting and defensive abilities at the small forward spot.
Tech still has some depth in the backcourt with Storrs and walk-on freshman Nick Foreman coming off the bench. Storrs and Foreman combined to score 15 points against Jacksonville.
In the frontcourt, Tech has good numbers with red-shirt sophomore Brad Sheehan and senior Bassirou Dieng, a transfer from St. Francis, Pa., who is enrolled in graduate school. Sheehan has added weight and strength, while Dieng can rebound, block shots and shoot from the perimeter.
> Tech has won its three games by an average of 20.3 points, third highest in the ACC. However the Jackets needed overtime to beat Mercer by six points in Macon, and lost nearly all of a 23-point lead Friday to edge Jacksonville by three.
> Tech is fourth in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (36.3 pct.). The Jackets were last in 2007-08 (45.2 pct.). Tech also is fifth in scoring defense (61.5 ppg).
> Tech has had at least one player post a double-double in every game this year, including two against Winston-Salem State.
> Tech has had at least four players score in double figures in each game. Four players average in double-figure points through four games.
> Tech has attempted just under 11 three-point field goals per game. Its opponents have tried an average of 24.3 per game.
> Tech has a plus-6.0 turnover margin through three games, second best in the ACC, and has forced an average of 21.5, which leads the conference.
Aminu Spearheading Food Drive at Tech Games
Senior Alade Aminu and his non-profit company, Brotherhood of the World, are asking Georgia Tech basketball fans to donate non-perishable foods, toiletries, blankets and New International Version Bibles at the next five Georgia Tech home basketball games to be distributed to the Atlanta Union Mission.
Bins for donated items will be located inside each gate at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at each of the next five Tech home basketball games through Dec. 17. All of these items will be donated to the Atlanta Union Mission after the game on the 17th.
Aminu started his non-profit venture this summer as a a way for he and his teammates to manage and participate in community service projects – mentoring, tutoring and youth development – with local organizations and schools.