Dec. 1, 2009
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech continues a three-game homestand leading into fall semester finals by hosting Siena at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex. It is the teams’ first meeting since 1994 and the first time Yellow Jackets’ head coach Paul Hewitt has faced the school where he coached for three seasons prior to taking over the reins on the Flats.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-1, 0-0 ACC) vs. Siena Saints (4-2, 0-0 MAAC)
Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Eastern Time
Site: Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex
Tickets: $20, available at the gate 90 minutes before tip
Radio: Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, including Atlanta flagship station WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and Atlanta FM station WYAY (106.7). Wes Durham is in his 15th season calling the play-by-play, Randy Waters is in his 16th season providing analysis.
Satellite Radio: XM 190, Sirius 216
On the web: Audio and live stats available at www.Ramblinwreck.com
Series History: Siena leads, 1-0
Tech is 4-1 following a tight 85-74 homecourt victory over Mercer on Friday, and the Yellow Jackets are 2-0 at home this season. Siena comes to Atlanta with a 4-2 mark after splitting a pair of games over the weekend in the Philly Hoop Group Classic. The Saints, under fourth-year coach Fran McCaffery, have lost only to Temple (by 4) and St. John’s (by 8).
The Jackets are shooting 50.3 percent from the floor as a team, having exceeded 50 percent in three of five games, have outscored their opponents by an average of 14.8 points a game and outrebounded them by an average of 10.6. They have struggled, however, with turnovers, committing 17.8 per game.
Georgia Tech has a 166-13 record against non-conference teams in Alexander Memorial Coliseum since the 1981-82 season.
The Yellow Jackets began the season ranked 22nd in the Associated Press poll, and 20th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. The Jackets dropped out of the AP rankings last week but remain in the coaches poll at No. 23.
Series With Siena
> Wednesday’s game is only the second meeting between Tech and Siena. The first occurred in the first round of the post-season NIT on March 16, 1994. The Saints led wire-to-wire and won 76-68 at the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany.
> Tech is 8-6 all-time against current members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Jackets’ last meeting with a MAAC team was a 90-40 win over Marist in December of 2003.
> The Yellow Jackets will play Siena in Loudonville next season, a homecoming game for center Brad Sheehan, who is from Latham, N.Y. The teams complete the three-game series in Atlanta during the 2011-12 season.
> Tech head coach Paul Hewitt posted a 66-27 record in three seasons at Siena from 1997-2000, leading the Saints to an NCAA and an NIT bid, one MAAC Tournament championship and one MAAC regular-season title.
Freshmen Making Solid Debuts
Four freshmen, two of whom have started each game, have been impressive in the early going for Georgia Tech. Derrick Favors, a 6-10 forward, and Mfon Udofia, a 6-2 point guard, have been in the starting lineup from the opener against Florida A&M, while Brian Oliver, a 6-6 forward, and Glen Rice, Jr., a 6-5 guard, have made solid contributions off the bench.
Favors has scored in double figures in each game so far, and has made 72.2 percent of his field goal tries. Udofia cracked double figures for the first time in his last two games (15.5 per game 11-of-23 FG, 3-of-9 on threes). Oliver has given the Jackets a three-point shooting threat, hitting 4-of-6 in his debut against FAMU and 10-for-21 for the season. Rice, Jr., has been active on both ends of the floor, contributing in every column of the stat sheet.
Neither of Tech’s other two freshmen will play this season. Kammeon Holsey, a 6-8 forward from Sparta, Ga., also will not play this season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Aug, 1. He underwent successful surgery on Aug. 11 and is undergoing rehabiliation on the knee. Daniel Miller, a 6-11 center from Loganville, Ga., will red-shirt this season. Miller and his family made that decision and informed head coach Paul Hewitt the week of the opener.
> Tech’s inclusion in the Associated Press top 25 was short-lived. The Yellow Jackets began the year at No. 22, inched up to No. 21 after their win over Florida A&M, then dropped out the Monday after the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Tech is No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today poll after beginning the season at No. 20.
> Tech ranks fourth in the ACC in rebound average (42.8 pg) and rebound margin (+10.6). The Jackets also rank fifth in field goal percentage defense (37.4 pct.) and three-point percentage defense (27.7 pct.).
> Tech has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in three of five games. The Jackets shot 50 percent in seven games all of last season.
> Mercer was the first team this season to out-rebound Tech (39-35).
> Only one Tech opponent (Dayton at 32.1 pct.) has shot 30 percent from three-point range.
> Tech has the top two players in the ACC in field goal percentage – Derrick Favors at 72.2 percent and Gani Lawal at 60.4 percent. Zachery Peacock has hit 67.7 percent of his tries, but he does not have enough field goals to qualify.
> In Tech’s last two games, Favors, Lawal and Peacock have made 38 of 50 shots from the floor (76 percent).
> In Tech’s season-opener against FAMU, each team attempted 20 three-point field goals. In four games in Puerto Rico, Tech’s opponents tried 110 to the Jackets’ 51.
> Tech has been on the plus side of the turnover battle twice in five games, and it has had a positive assist-turnover ratio three times. The Jackets have committed the same number or fewer fouls in four of five games.
> Tech has made at least two three-pointers in every game this season, averaging 4.6 to rank 11th in the ACC … The Jackets have not been held without a three-point field goal since Feb. 23, 2005 against Duke, a streak of 136 consecutive games with at least one.
> No Tech player has averaged more than 27.6 minutes per game (Iman Shumpert).
Quoting Coach Hewitt
On Siena — “I have a lot of fond memories from coaching there [at Siena]. I know a lot of the administrative staff up there. The main reason we signed up for this game is because they are a strong program. Next year we’ll go back up there, so that will be more emotional for me because I will get to see some of those people and play in their old building,”
“They have a good team. They have two guys that are big-time players that can play at any level. Clarence Jackson is a big-time shooter, and Ronald Moore is a big-time guard. He creates their tempo on the floor and gets a lot of easy baskets. He’s really, really tough.”
On Iman Shumpert’s performance the last two games — “Well, the last two games he has 15 assists and four turnovers. I’m very pleased with how he is playing right now.”
On the Mercer game — “It came down to the one thing we’ve been talking about all year. It came down to our defense in terms of intensity and execution. We have stretches where we guard, and when we do that, we’re devastating. But, then we’ll get up and commit a silly foul or take an unnecessary chance that can become momentum stopping plays. We thought we had a chance to put them away in the first half. We were up 10, they couldn’t score. But then D’Andre [Bell] commits a foul and Gani [Lawal[ commits a foul, we don’t get a loose ball and we hand them five or six points to make it a game at the half.”
On shooting 77 percent from the foul line in the Mercer game — “I’ll take that. We always work on it. It’s the funny thing about free-throw shooting. When I was at Siena we led the nation two years in a row and were in the top ten the third year. When I got here, we were a good free throw shooting team. It’s kind of like hitting in baseball when a couple of guys get some hits and the guys behind them see that and swing with more confidence. If you make your first couple of free throws in a game, then everyone relaxes. The key thing is to get off to a good start with your free throws.”