Starting Five: Georgia Tech (6-4) at Siena (3-6)

Dec. 21, 2010

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

TECH LEADING SCORER: Iman Shumpert, 15.2 ppg
SIENA LEADING SCORER: Ryan Rossiter, 20.3 ppg

TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Iman Shumpert, 5.6 rpg
SIENA LEADING REBOUNDER: Ryan Rossiter, 13.3 rpg.

TECH PPG: 69.6 ppg
OPP. PPG: 63.9 ppg.

SIENA PPG: 71.7 ppg
OPP. PPG: 74.3 ppg.

Siena Players to Watch: Ryan Rossiter/Clarence Jackson: The Saints rely on the 1-2 punch of the 6-9, 260-pound forward Rossiter and 6-4, 188-pound Jackson (16.9 ppg), who provide 52 percent of the team’s scoring (37.2 ppg) and rank second and third in scoring in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Their magic number has become 15, as the Saints are 3-0 this season when Rossiter and Jackson score at least 15 points.

Georgia Tech looks to match its season-high three-game winning streak tonight against the Siena Saints. The game is a homecoming for Head Coach Paul Hewitt, who makes his first visit back to the Times Union Center, where he coached from 1997 through 2000, putting up a 66-27 record (a .709 winning percentage).

The Jackets made it back-to-back wins in their last game, a 67-54 win over Richmond in the Battle At Atlantis in the Bahamas. Iman Shumpert had a game-high 21 points and Moe Miller matched his season high with 11 as Tech shot 60.9 percent in the second half to pull away.

The Saints are trying to create a winning streak after edging Florida Atlantic, 72-69, Monday night. Rossiter had 27 and Jackson 20 for the Saints, who nearly squandered a 15-point, second-half lead before fending off FAU and earning their first home win of the season.

This is the second game in the current three-year series between the schools. Georgia Tech won, 74-61, last Dec. 2 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum behind a career-high 26 points from freshman point Mfon Udofia. The win evened the all-time series. Siena won the first meeting between the schools, taking a 1994 NIT First-Round matchup, 74-68.

Tonight’s game will not be televised but can be heard on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network’s flagship stations WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM). Wes Durham and Randy Waters call the action. Fans also can follow the game on Ramblinwreck.com.

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

Something’s Gotta Give: Both Georgia Tech and Siena will be playing outside of their comfort zone, as Tech’s road record (0-2) and Siena’s home mark (1-4) are a combined 1-6, a .167 winning percentage. The Yellow Jackets’ road losses are by 38 points — 17 at Kennesaw State and 21 at Northwestern. The Saints have struggled as much at home, losing their first four games, two by fewer than six points, two by more than 13, before ending the skid against FAU.

Late-Arriving: Slow starts have hurt Tech in their two road losses, as in both games, the Jackets trailed by double-digits at half (15 at Kennesaw and 18 at Northwestern). Defense is a culprit, as opponents combined to shoot 63.9 percent in the first 20 minutes (39-for-61), 61.5 from three (16-for-26). Tech countered, shooting 41.6 percent (25-for-60), 27.8 from three (5-for-18). Trailing at half has been a trend away from AMC, but may be turning around, as in its last game, the Jackets led Richmond, 25-24, at the half. It marked the first time this season they led at intermission in a road or neutral-site game.

Mfonetics: Sophomore point guard Mfon Udofia had a career game the first time he saw Siena, scoring a career-best 26 points and setting career-highs for field goals in a game (9), field goal attempts (16), field goal percentage (.563), three-point field goals (5), three-point field goal attempts (8), and three-point field goal percentage (.625). As Tech prepares to meet the Saints again, Udofia is showing signs of heating up. Over his last three games he’s shot 55.6 percent (10-for-18), 60 percent from three (3-for-5). He’s been aggressive on the offensive glass, pulling down eight offensive rebounds over his last five games (he had four over his first five) and has stepped it up defensively, with five steals over his last two games, equalling his total over his previous five.

Freedom: Iman Shumpert has been deadly from the foul line of late. A career 71.9 percent shooter, Shumpert is shooting 86.0 percent on the year (49-for-57) and has made 26 of his last 29 attempts (89.6 percent). He’s had only one game in which he’s missed more than one FTA (he was 7-for-10 against Niagara on Nov. 19).

Koming On: Redshirt freshman Kammeon Holsey enjoyed his trip to the Bahamas, as he scored seven points, breaking a two-game scoreless streak, and grabbed three rebounds with an assist and two steals. The seven points were one off his best day (Nov. 15 at Kennesaw State), while his 22 minutes were one away from matching his collegiate high (vs. UTEP on Nov. 26). Holsey had a nice shooting day, making two of his three shots and canning three of his four free throw attempts (both career highs).

The Sixth Man: Holsey played a big part in the Yellow Jackets’ charge off the bench against Richmond. One game after being shut out, Tech’s reserves out-produced Richmond’s, outscoring them, 18-13 and beating them, 12-8, on the boards.

–RamblinWreck.com–

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