Tech Hosts Kennesaw State in Matinee

Dec. 21, 2009

Complete Game Notes

ATLANTA – Looking to rebound from a loss in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener, Georgia Tech closes its pre-Christmas schedule with an afternoon meeting against Kennesaw State at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8-2, 0-0 ACC) vs.
Kennesaw State Owls (4-6, 1-1 A-Sun)
Date:
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Tipoff: 2 p.m. Eastern time
Site: Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex
Television: none
Radio: Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, live on flagship station WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY-FM (106.7). Wes Durham play-by-play, Randy Waters color.
Satellite Radio: XM 190, Sirius 211
On the web: Audio and live stats available at Ramblinwreck.com
Tickets: $20, available at www.Ramblinwreck.com/tickets
Series History: Tech leads, 1-0

Tech is 8-2 following Sunday’s 66-59 overtime defeat to Florida State, which snapped a seven-game Yellow Jacket winning streak. It was the fourth straight year Tech has lost its conference opener, and the third straight year to lose the opener at home. Head coach Paul Hewitt’s team now will play four more non-conference games before resuming ACC play on Jan. 9 against Duke.

Kennesaw State is 4-6 overall, 1-1 in the Atlantic Sun Conference, and comes to Tech having lost its last two games at Maine and Western Michigan. This is the Owls third straight road game.

Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State have met once before on the hardwood, an exhibition game during the 2004-05 season before the Owls joined the Division I ranks. The Yellow Jackets won 80-60.

The Jackets have, on the strength of strong inside play, shot the ball well early in the season, hitting 51.1 percent of their shots from the floor through their first eight games. But has struggled to find the basket the last two times out, hitting just 35.4 percent from the floor against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Florida State.

Tech will play without sophomore guard Iman Shumpert for the fifth straight game as he recovers from surgery to repair a damaged meniscus in his right knee. He is expected back toward the end of December.

The Yellow Jackets began the season ranked 22nd in the Associated Press writers poll, and 20th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Tech fell out of the AP poll Monday following the loss to Florida State, and fell from No. 15 to No. 22 in the coaches poll. The Jackets have been in the coaches top 25 each week of the season.

Jackets Struggling Offensively

After not shooting less than 46.9 percent from the floor in any one game over the first eight, and averaging better than 80 points a game during that stretch, Georgia Tech has struggled to put the ball in the basket in its last two games, which includes a 66-59 overtime loss to Florida State Sunday.

Tech poured in 60.8 percent of its field goal tries and scored 95 points at Chattanooga last Monday night, but in its last two games, the Yellow Jackets have shot just 35.4 percent from the floor and averaged 62 points.

Tech’s starting big men, Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors, combined to make 16 of 42 shots from the floor in the Yellow Jackets’ last two games.

Focus on the Bigs

There’s no question where the focus of Georgia Tech’s offensive plans rest, not to mention its opponents’ defensive schemes – post players Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors. They have been called the best front line in the ACC and one of the best in the nation.

Lawal, a 6-9 junior, and Favors, a 6-10 freshman, each posted a double-double Wednesday night in a win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Lawal getting 15 points and a season-high 15 rebounds, and Favors scoring 15 with 11 boards. The duo took 27 shots between them, a season high.

Lawal has five double-doubles this year and ranks fourth in the ACC in field goal percentage (60.4 pct.), while Favors has double-doubles in three of his last four games and has shot 61.4 percent from the floor (third in the ACC).

They are Tech’s top two scorers and rebounders, combining to produce 36.7 percent of the Yellow Jackets scoring.

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