Feb. 14, 2003
Tallahassee, Fla. – Georgia Tech enters Saturday’s game at Florida State with seven wins in its last 11 games, but still looking for its first win on the road in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Yellow Jackets (12-9 overall, 5-5 ACC) and Seminoles (11-10, 2-8) tip off at 12 noon Saturday at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center in a game regionally televised on Fox Sports Net South, the Sunshine Network and Comcast Sportsnet. The Georgia Tech-ISP network provides the radio coverage, which airs in Atlanta on WQXI-AM (790) and WMGP-FM (98.1).
Tech, which is tied with Virginia for fifth place in the ACC standings, 2 1/2 games behind conference leader Wake Forest, has won all five of its ACC home games this season (NC State, Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland) by an average of 15.4 points, but is 0-5 on the road in the ACC after its 63-57 loss at NC State Wednesday night. Tech limited the Wolfpack to 40 percent shooting (4-22 from three-point range), but shot just 40.7 percent itself and was 2-of-16 from three-point land.
“From three, we struggled again [at NC State],” said head coach Paul Hewitt. “It’s not something you can spend a lot of time dwelling on. Most of the shots we had were good looks. We moved the ball pretty well, except for one stretch in the first half where we were out of character. We put ourselves in position to win down the stretch.”
“If there’s one thing that I keep clinging to, we’re staying within striking distance of the NCAA Tournament. This thing is far from over when you look at how the road games stack up. If we’re going to reach some of the goals we set, which are still within reach, we have to get going.”
The Yellow Jackets have limited seven of their last 11 opponents to 40 percent or less shooting from the floor, including NC State Wednesday, which held the Jackets to their lowest point total of the season.
Georgia Tech’s starting lineup includes 6-3 freshman Jarrett Jack at the point, 6-4 junior Marvin Lewis and 6-4 sophomore B.J. Elder on the wings, and 6-8 sophomore Ed Nelson and 6-10 freshman Chris Bosh in the frontcourt. This lineup has started four games together this season, including the last three against Clemson, Maryland and NC State. Head coach Paul Hewitt has used four different starting lineups this season, with Bosh and Jack the only players to start every game.
Tech has three players ranked among the ACCs top 15 in scoring, led by Bosh, who notched his 10th double-double this season against NC State with 15 points and 12 rebounds. The ACC Rookie of the Year candidate ranks eighth in the ACC in scoring at 15.9 points per game, leads the ACC in field goal percentage (59.0) and blocked shots (2.0 per game) and is second in rebounding (9.5).
Elder ranks ninth in the conference 15.7 points a game overall. He and Lewis are tied for second in the ACC in three-point shooting percentage at 40.4 percent, and Elder ranks fifth in overall field goal percentage at 47.8 percent. The Madison, Ga., native scored 23 against Maryland, but was held to eight (all in the second half) at NC State. Lewis, who has averaged 19.7 points in Techs last three ACC wins, ranks 15th in the ACC overall at 13.2 points per game and is tied for second in three-point percentage (40.4).
Jack, Tech’s fourth-leading scorer at 8.9 points along with 6.0 assists (fifth in the ACC), has averaged 10.8 points and 6.1 assists against the ACC. Nelson, the ACCs seventh-leading rebounder at 7.0 per game along with 7.9 points a game, has provided Tech with solid rebounding all season and more scoring of late.
Tech gets reserve help in the post from Schenscher, averaging 4.9 points and 3.7 rebounds while hitting 49.5 percent of his shots. Ismail Muhammad, a 6-6 sophomore forward averaging 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds, and Anthony McHenry, a 6-7 sophomore averaging 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds, provide excellent defense on the wing.
TECH SERIES VS. FLORIDA STATE
*Georgia Tech has won three in a row and 12 of the last 18 meetings in its series with Florida State, but the Seminoles still hold a 26-22 lead in the all-time series which dates back to 1963.
*The teams had split the regular-season series five straight years (1997-2001) before Tech won both games last season (the only team the Jackets swept). In that span, FSU also won the schools only ACC Tournament meeting (63-62) in 2000.
*Tech is 8-13 in games played in Tallahassee, including a 5-6 mark since FSU joined the ACC.
*Tech defeated FSU earlier this year, 81-74, on Jan. 14 in Atlanta. Marvin Lewis scored a career-high 33 points, hitting 11 of 13 shots from the floor and 6-of-8 from three-point range.
*Tech defeated FSU, 77-46, last year at home on Jan. 30, the largest margin of victory ever against an ACC opponent. The Jackets completed the season sweep with an 86-78 decision in Tallahassee on Mar. 2.
*Since FSU joined the ACC, the two teams have split 24 games. Florida State won the first six in a row, Tech followed by winning five straight, and is 7-6 against the Seminoles since then.
*In those 24 games, 10 have been decided by four points or less, 15 by 10 points or less. One of those games went to double-overtime, which the Yellow Jackets won 110-108 on Feb. 11, 1999 in Tallahassee.
*Tech and Florida State were both members of the old Metro Conference from 1976-78, and the Seminoles won three of those four meetings.
ROAD STILL UNKIND
The Yellow Jackets are still looking for their first road win this season. Tech is 0-8 on opponents home courts this year, including an 0-5 mark in the ACC. Techs only win away from home this season is a 67-53 decision against Marist at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 7, and the Jackets lost their only other neutral court game to Tennessee on Dec. 15.
Statistically, at least, the problems for Tech have stemmed more from poor shooting than from poor play or poor execution. In its last two road games at Clemson and NC State, Techs defense limited the two teams to to 42 percent shooting from the floor, but the Yellow Jackets connected on just 4-of-31 from three-point range and missed key shots in the final minutes.
Tech has also fallen behind early in each of those two losses, by as many at 13 points at Clemson and by as many as 12 at NC State. The Jackets recovered at Clemson to lead by four late in the second half, and got within one point of NC State late in the second half with chances to tie or take the lead.
By the numbers: Tech has held its five ACC foes on the road to 43.2 percent shooting, but the Jackets themselves have shot just 41 percent, including 19.3 percent from three-point range.
A BETTER START
Georgia Tech has won 12 of its last 19 conference games and are at .500 after the halfway point of the ACC schedule for the first time since 2001, when Tech was 7-6 and 8-7.
The Yellow Jackets finished the 2001-02 ACC slate at 7-9 after dropping their first seven, which was the biggest turnaround in conference history. Techs seven ACC wins broke the previous record of four straight wins by a team beginning the season 0-7 or worse, held by NC State in 1996-97 and Florida State in 2001-02. Tech wound up defeating every team in the ACC during the season except Duke and Maryland, who handed the Jackets their only two losses after January.
TRIO FUELS TECH OFFENSE
When Georgia Tech has B.J. Elder, Chris Bosh and Marvin Lewis going at the same time, the Yellow Jackets have been hard to stop. The trio has accounted for 57.9 percent of the Yellow Jackets scoring this season, a total of 44.0 points a game, and have combined to make 50.2 percent of their field goal tries, 41.5 percent of their three-point tries, and 74.9 percent of their free throws.
They are the highest scoring trio for Tech since 1997-98, when Matt Harpring, Michael Maddox and Dion Glover combined to average 53.2 of Techs 76.3 points a game (69.7 percent).
All three players rank among the top 15 in the ACC in scoring average. Bosh and Elder rank first and fifth, respectively, in field goal percentage. Elder and Lewis are tied for second in three-point percentage (40.4 percent combined) and rank fourth and sixth in three-pointers made per game (4.29 combined).
Tech is 6-2 this season when all three score in double figures, and against only Marist (a 67-53 win) have two of the three failed to reach double figures.
Tech’s scoring average of 76.1 points a game this season is its best since the 1995-96 season, when the Yellow Jackets 80.2 per game and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
PUTTING THE CLAMPS ON
Georgia Tech has tightened its defense of late, holding seven of its last 11 opponents to 40 percent or under from the floor. Techs field goal percentage defense (41.6) against the ACC is third-best in the league, and its three-point percentage defense (32.3) against the conference ranks No. 1.
In spite of allowing 91 points and 50.8 percent shooting by Duke in Durham, Tech has limited its last 11 foes to 40.8 percent from the floor and 31.2 percent from three-point range.
Tech has managed to shut down five of the ACCs top scorers in that stretch: NC State’s Julius Hodge (No. 1, 19.2 ppg before Tech), Florida State’s Tim Pickett (No. 4, 18.0 before Tech), Duke’s J.J. Redick (No. 6, 17.2 before Tech), North Carolina’s Rashad McCants (No. 2, 19.4 before Tech), and Virginia’s Travis Watson (No. 11, 14.9 before Tech). The Jackets held Hodge to just nine points in each of the two games (2-13 FG combined), Pickett to 13 (5-16 FG, 3-11 on threes), Redick to 11 (2-of-10 FG, 1-6 on threes), McCants to 12 (5-18 FG, 2-7 on threes) and Watson to four (2-8 FG).
Worth noting: Tech’s scoring defense of 69.5 points a game is its third-best figure since the three-point shot was institute permenantly for the 1986-87 season. Its field goal percentage allowed (41.1) has been bettered by only one Tech team since 1960.