Starting Five

Dec. 9, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Georgia Tech looks to make it two in an row and complete their three-game road swing with a winning record when they take on Savannah State. Tip-off at Tiger Arena is at 6 p.m.

Tech is coming off an emotional and monumental 68-56 victory over Georgia on Wednesday night. Jason Morris scored 15 second-half points and four other Yellow Jackets hit for double figures as Tech went on an 18-4 run early in the second half to overcome a four-point halftime deficit and pulled away, breaking a 13-game losing streak at Stegeman Coliseum and recording its first win in Athens since 1976.

The Tigers are playing only their second home game all season and their first since last Saturday, when they dropped a tough 60-58 decision at Norfolk State. SSU went on a 7-0 run in the final 3:53 to overcome a six-point deficit only to see the Spartans’ Brandon Wheeless bury a three-pointer with one second left. Rashad Hassan scored 17 to lead the Tigers and Joshua Montgomery added 11 off the bench.

Today’s game can be heard on the Georgia Tech/IMG Sports Network’s flagship stations WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM). Wes Durham and Randy Waters calling the action. Fans also can hear the game on Sirius Radio, channel 117 and XM, channel 196 and follow the game and get live stats on Ramblinwreck.com.

Here now, the starting five for today’s game.

The Last (and Only Other) Time We Met: Georgia Tech and Savannah State don’t have much history, and didn’t have any until last year, when they met for the first time at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Tech won that game, 69-59. Daniel Miller scored a career-high 14 in the game and had three blocks for the Jackets, who saw a 21-point first half lead twice cut to seven but held off Savannah.

Do You Reed Me: Brandon Reed chose a good time to come alive in the second half of Wednesday night’s game. The redshirt sophomore and former Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, had 10 points on 3-for-3 shooting and 4-for-7 from the foul line, while adding two assists and a steal as the Jackets came from behind to outscore Georgia 43-27 in the second half. The double-digit outburst Wednesday was the third of the year and first in five games. He’d totaled 19 points in the previous four games.

Jason the Scorcher: Forward Jason Morris has hit his stride of the last three games. He’s averaged 16 points per game and hasn’t hit below 12 in any of the three games. He hadn’t hit 12 in any of his previous six games. The sophomore is one double-digit scoring game away from matching his total from last season. He had a total of three double-digit scoring games all last season. Morris is shooting 50 percent (15-for-30) over the last three games and and is 54.5 from three (6-for-11).

As Glen Goes: Glen Rice has been a pretty good indicator of how the Yellow Jackets fare on a given night. Rice has played in three wins (he was suspended from the team’s first two season-opening wins) and is scoring 18.0 points while shooting an unconscious 61.8 (21-for-34), 37.5 from three (6-for-16). He’s averaging 6.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists. On the other hand, in Tech’s losses, his production drops to 10.7 points per game, his shooting dips below 40 percent (39.5, on 15-for-38), and 20.0 percent from three (2-for-10). Yet his rebounds go up (7.3 rpg) as do his assists (3.7 apg).

As Glen Goes (Away): Rice also has been a force away from home. He’s leading the team with 13.3 points per game and is shooing 46.7 percent. He’s also the top three-point shooter, with six three-pointers and a 31.6 percentage. He’s grabbing a team-best 7.5 rebounds and his nine offensive rebounds are second behind only Kammeon Holsey and Daniel Miller.

The Sixth Man: Tonight is the Jackets’ third straight game on an opponent’s home floor. It’s the first time they’ve played back-to-back-to-back road games since Feb. 6, 9, and 14 of 2008, when they visited Wake Forest, Connecticut and Clemson. It’s the first time they’ve done it in non-conference play since Nov. 27, Dec. 1 and Dec. 5 of the same season, when they played at Indiana, Vanderbilt and Georgia State. The Jackets were 1-2 in both of those sets, a fate they hope to avoid tonight.

TECH LEADING SCORER: Glen Rice, 14.3 ppg
SAVANNAH STATE LEADING SCORER: Rashad Hassan, 14.3 ppg

TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Daniel Miller, 7.9 rpg
SAVANNAH STATE LEADING REBOUNDER: Arnold Louis, 6.6 rpg.

TECH PPG: 65.6 ppg; OPP. PPG: 58.8 ppg.

SAVANNAH STATE PPG: 61.0 ppg; OPP. PPG: 67.3 ppg.

Savannah State Player to Watch: Rashad Hassan. After redshirting last season, the 6-7, 215-pound junior forward has been sizzling from the field in 2010-11. He’s hitting 57.1 percent from the field and is the only Tigers player to average double-figure scoring. In his last three games he’s averaged 17.6 points in 20 minutes of play and has hit 70 percent of his shots (21-fo 30) in that time. Defensively, he’s hit the glass, pulling down 6.0 rebounds in those games.

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