Tech Concludes Non-Conference Slate With Georgia

Jan. 5, 2009

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech finishes its non-conference schedule Tuesday night by hosting its state rival, Georgia, in a 7 p.m. regionally-televised contest at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Yellow Jackets resume their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule at Maryland Saturday. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at gate 1 beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format

Tuesday’s game is being televised by FS South and also is available on NESN in the Northeastern U.S. Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, including flagship station WQXI-AM (790) in the Atlanta area, as well as WREK-FM (91.1) and WTSH-FM (107.1). The Tech radio broadcast can be heard nationally on XM Radio Ch. 191.

Tech (8-5 overall, 0-1 ACC) has lost three of its last four games following an 88-77 loss at Alabama Saturday. The Jackets are 6-3 at home this year, and are 1-1 against Southeastern Conference opponents, having defeated Vanderbilt at home on Dec. 6.

Georgia (9-5 overall) has won four of its last six games, but dropped an 83-76 decision at home to Missouri on Saturday. The Bulldogs, who open their SEC slate Saturday at home against Tennessee, have played just one game on an opponent’s home floor, a 67-63 loss to Western Kentucky on Dec. 2.

Tech is 163-13 against non-conference foes at Alexander Memorial Coliseum since the beginning of the 1981-82 season, including losses to Penn State and UIC this season, each of whom have won twice since 1981. Georgia has one of those 13 victories, coming in the 2000-01 season.

Series With Georgia

> Georgia Tech won its 100th game in the series with Georgia, which began in 1906, with a 78-69 win over the Bulldogs on Dec. 22, 2006 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Tech leads 100-84 and has played the Bulldogs more than any other opponent in its basketball history.

> The series has been played alternately on the respective schools’ campus since the 1995-96 season, and the Bulldogs have won eight of those 13 games. Tech has won the last three meetings at home, and five of the last six games played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum since the series moved back to campuses. The home team has won all but one of the 13 meetings, the exception being Georgia’s 75-70 win at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on Dec. 6, 2000.

> Tech last won in Athens on Nov. 26, 1976 (64-43), and has lost 12 straight games in Stegeman Coliseum, including a 79-72 loss last January.

> Before the December, 1995 meeting in Athens, the teams played 14 straight years at the Omni in downtown Atlanta, which was located on the site of the current Philips Arena. Tech went 8-6 against the Bulldogs in the facility, including eight of the last 10 before the neutral series ended. The teams have played on neutral sites other than the SEC or Southern Intercollegiate Championships only one other time, that coming at the 1960 Gator Bowl Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla.

> Eleven of the last 25 meetings have been decided by five points or fewer, or gone to overtime, 19 by 10 points or less. Three games have gone to overtime, one to three overtimes and one to two.

Quick Look at Tech

Head coach Paul Hewitt’s regular starting lineup for the last six games has included senior Lewis Clinch and freshman Iman Shumpert at guard, with junior Zachery Peacock, senior Alade Aminu and sophomore Gani Lawal along the front line.

Moe Miller, Tech’s sophomore point guard, has been out since Dec. 14 due to a nasal fracture sustained in Tech’s game with UIC.

Tech has been led this season by post players Lawal and Aminu, who rank 1-3 on the team in scoring (17.3 and 13.9 ppg, respectively) and 1-2 in rebounding (9.7 and 8.8 pg). The two players both rank in the ACC’s top five in field goal percentage, combining to make 57.4 percent of their shots from the floor.

Clinch has started the last six games after missing the first seven games due to academic ineligibility. He has scored in double digits in four of the six, averaging 14.2 points a game, while also logging minutes at point guard (2.7 apg). Shumpert, the primary point guard in Miller’s absence, averages 11.7 points and leads the ACC in assist average (6.5 pg).

With senior D’Andre Bell (spinal stenosis) out for the season, Clinch out for the first seven games and now Miller out, Peacock has been asked to utilize his outside shooting and defensive abilities at the small forward spot. He averages 10.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Sophomore Lance Storrs (5.0 ppg, 42.1 pct. from three-point range) and freshman walk-on Nick Foreman (2.0 ppg) have been key reserves in the backcourt, Storrs for his shooting ability and Foreman for his defense. Brad Sheehan, a 7-foot sophomore averaging 4.4 points and 2.8 rebounds, is averaging nearly 15 minutes a game off the bench in the post, and Bassirou Dieng (1.8 ppg in six games) provides additional depth.

Notable

> Four Yellow Jackets – Gani Lawal, Alade Aminu, Iman Shumpert and Zachery Peacock – have started all 13 games this season.

> Six of Tech’s 12 games have been decided by six points or fewer, two of them in overtime.

> Tech’s last six ACC home losses (last season and this year) have come by a combined 12 points.

> Tech has been inconsistent scoring the basketball in the last nine games, scoring 77 or more points five times, 66 or fewer the other four times. The Jackets rank eighth in the ACC in scoring average (75.7) and ninth in scoring margin (+9.6). Tech also ranks sixth in the conference in field goal percentage (46.3), having made 46 percent or better in all but three games.

> Lewis Clinch has taken 43 shots from behind the three-point line in six games since he became eligible. Moe Miller was 0-for-21 in Tech’s first seven games (he missed one of those) before he was injured.

> Tech’s assist-turnover ratio is 94-87 with Miller in the lineup, 112-117 without him.

> Tech has shot 46.4 percent from the floor, 30.3 percent from three-point range, since Clinch joined the lineup. The Jackets shot 46.3 percent overall, 29.6 percent on threes, before that.

> Alade Aminu (58.0 pct.) and Gani Lawal (56.8 pct.) rank third and fifth, respectively, in the ACC in field goal percentage. The rest of the team has shot 40.2 percent.

> Tech is 10th in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (39.5 pct.). The Jackets were last in 2007-08 (45.2 pct.). Tech has limited four opponents to less than 40 percent shooting from the floor overall, and five foes to less than 30 percent from three-point range. Tech is eighth in the ACC against the three (30.4 pct.).

> Tech players have achieved double-doubles 15 times through 13 games (12 in points and rebounds, three in points and assists). The Yellow Jackets produced only six double-doubles in 32 games last year.

> Tech had at least one player post a double-double in every game this year except UIC and USC.

> Tech has attempted 13.1 three-point field goals per game (14.8 pg with Clinch, 11.6 pg before). Its opponents have tried an average of 19.8 per game.

> Tech has a plus-0.9 turnover margin, sixth in the ACC, and has won the turnover battle in eight of 13 games. However, its turnover margin is minus-0.9 without Moe Miller, and the Jackets have won the turnover battle only three of six times.

> Tech has outrebounded its opponent nine times in 13 games, ranks fourth in the ACC in rebounding (41.6 pg) and sixth in rebound margin (+6.1).

> Tech’s bench has outscored that of its opponents only three times in 13 games, and averages just 11.9 points per game. Tech’s reserves also have played just 27.5 percent of available minutes.

Quoting Coach Hewitt

On Moe Miller’s progress after his injury – “He is due to practice for the first time on Thursday of this week. That would be three weeks from the date of his surgery. He was fitted for a mask on Friday, and the doctors will be giving him the clearance to practice on Thursday. From there, when he will be able to play again is really up to him. He has been doing some conditioning and exercises. He is a little out of shape, as you can imagine since he didn’t do anything for two and a half weeks. It will be a day to day thing once he gets back on the court.”

On the limitations Miller’s absence places on Tech’s backcourt – “Two things. It forces us to keep Iman (Shumpert) on the court for a very long period of time, but he has actually performed very, very well. The big thing is that once we get Moe back, we can put Zachery Peacock back at the four where I think he is most comfortable. We are playing him at the three right now, because he seems to be our best option defensively with Shumpert out there. When we get him back, it will help Iman, and it will help Zack.

On the progress of Iman Shumpert “He is playing very well. He plays with a lot of confidence, and he is doing a good job for us. His turnover numbers are good. Again, I’d like to get him a little bit of help back there handling the basketball. Lewis (Clinch) has done a good job in that manner. Lance (Storrs) is starting to help a little bit. I think when Moe comes back, it will be very positive for him. He has played very, very well for us and has met or exceeded expectation to this point.”

On the performance of Gani Lawal this season – “He is a very talented young man. I thought there were times last year when he was in a little bit of a hurry instead of taking his time. He is letting the game come to him, so to speak. I think he is doing a better job of that this year. On the offensive end, he has a plan when he catches the ball. He knows what he’s doing. People are starting to double-team him a little bit more. While he had a rocky start with that, he is starting to do better in that area as well.”

On his impressions of the ACC, and Boston College’s victory over North Carolina – “I didn’t watch the game, but I turned it on with about three minutes to go. You give them credit, especially their senior guard. And once again I didn’t watch the game, but if you look at the statistics, Tyrese Rice obviously played like an experienced veteran where he had a big part in leading that team to a win. Carolina is an outstanding team, and to lose at home, of course that’s a surprise.

On Alade Aminu’s breakout senior year – “He got the opportunity. Like Lawal, he has slowed down some. The tape-watching we have done with those guys shows them how they hurry sometimes. Last year he played behind Jeremis Smith, who was a very, very strong defender. Last game, defensively, we weren’t where we needed to be at the beginning of the game, but they both closed really strong. They both scored fifteen points apiece in the last eight minutes of that game. They are capable; it’s just a matter of being more aware when they are on the court. I think it’s just a matter of him getting an opportunity, of him understanding the game and learning the game and taking advantage of the sessions we had to get him to make the right decision more times than not.”

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