Tech Looks for First ACC Win at NC State

Jan. 16, 2009

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech returns to the road Saturday in search of its first Atlantic Coast Conference win this season, visiting NC State for a 12 noon regionally-televised game at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

Television coverage of the game is provided by ACC syndication partner Raycom, and can be seen in the Atlanta area on WATL-TV (Ch. 36). For a complete list of affiliates carrying the game, click here.

The Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network provides the radio broadcast of the game, which can be heard in Atlanta on flagship station WQXI-AM (790) and WTSH-FM (107.1).

Tech (9-7 overall, 0-3 ACC) has lost three of its last four games and has dropped its first three conference games for the second straight year. The Jackets, who fell Wednesday night at home to No. 3 Duke, 70-56, have also lost to Virginia at home and Maryland on the road.

NC State (9-5 overall, 0-2 ACC) also is looking for its first conference win after dropping a home game to Florida State, 78-65, on Tuesday and a road game at Clemson, 63-51, last Saturday. The Wolfpack have lost three straight games.

For the first time this season, Tech, with the exception of D’Andre Bell (out for the season with a spinal condition), fielded a “full” roster for its game against Duke Wednesday night. Sophomore point guard Moe Miller returned to the court Saturday at Maryland, and Zachery Peacock, who missed that game with a stomach ailment, also returned.

The Yellow Jackets have struggled to score consistently since a trip to California just before Christmas, averaging 61.3 points over its last seven games, 66.4 over its last three. Tech scored less than 60 points for the second time this year in its loss to Duke.

Tech head coach Paul Hewitt captured his 150th win in his ninth season with the Yellow Jackets on Dec. 30 against Tennessee State. Standing 19th all-time in victories among ACC coaches, Hewitt has a 151-119 in his ninth season at Tech, and is 217-146 in his 12th season as a head coach.

Georgia Tech was picked to finish eighth in the ACC by the media at the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Operation Basketball media gathering. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 15-17 season (7-9, tie for seventh in the ACC) from which only six players with starting experience return, one of whom is not available to play due to injury.

Tech Finally at “Full” Strength

With Moe Miller’s return from a broken nose at Maryland and Zachery Peacock’s return following a one-game absence at College Park due to a stomach ailment, Georgia Tech had its entire roster available to play for the first time this season in Wednesday night’s game against Duke.

Because of a spinal injury to D’Andre Bell before the beginning of pre-season practice, Tech has played this entire season with just nine scholarship players. But even without considering Bell’s absence, the Yellow Jackets played their first 15 games this season with less than the full roster that began the regular season.

Senior guard Lewis Clinch did not make his 2008-09 debut for the Yellow Jackets until Dec. 17 against Georgia State after being academically ineligible for fall semester and missing the first seven games. Miller, a sophomore point guard, missed the next seven games due to a mild concussion and a nasal fracture suffered in Tech’s Dec. 14 loss to UIC.

With Miller cleared to play Jan. 10 against Maryland, Zachery Peacock woke up ill with a stomach ailment and did not dress for the game (he was checked out at a local hospital and was fine by Sunday).

Miller had successful surgery to repair his fracture Wednesday, Dec. 17, returned to practice Jan. 8, and is wearing a specially-fitted mask. The Memphis, Tenn., native was third in the ACC in assists this season (5.7 pg) while averaging 7.8 points at the time of his injury.

Clinch has averaged 13.4 points while hitting 27.4 of his three-point attempts. The Cordele, Ga., native also has averaged 3.0 assists, having to play several minutes a game at point guard in the absence of Miller.

Tech’s current starting lineup (Clinch, Shumpert, Peacock, Aminu, Lawal) has an aggregate 148 career starts. That’s fewer than 30 per player. Alade Aminu is Tech’s active leader in games played with 90, followed by Lewis Clinch with 78 and Zachery Peacock with 73.

Not even Tech’s walk-on group has been immune this season – Derek Craig missed time in the pre-season with two concussions, Sam Shew has missed practice time recently with a concussion, and Ty Anderson has not been able to practice or play since fall semester ended due to a viral infeciton and a back injury.

Series With NC State

> NC State leads the overall series with Georgia Tech, 48-34, but Georgia Tech has won the last three meetings, including a 77-74 win last year in Raleigh. The Wolfpack had won seven straight games in the series until Tech broke the string with a 71-68 victory in Atlanta on Feb. 12, 2006.

> The Wolfpack have still won 16 of the last 23 meetings. Prior to that, Tech had won seven in a row.

> Tech’s 77-74 win last season was the Yellow Jackets’ first at NC State’s RBC Center in eight tries. Tech had lost 10 straight games to the Wolfpack on their home court, dating back to Jan. 24, 1996. The Jackets are 8-27 against NC State in Raleigh, including a 7-18 mark in Reynolds Coliseum, the former homecourt of the Wolfpack.

> Tech is 21-13 against the Wolfpack in Atlanta, including one home-court meeting that was played at the Omni in 1986.

> Tech is 6-9 against NC State under head coach Paul Hewitt, and is 2-0 against Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe.

> Since it joined the ACC, Tech is 26-35 against NC State, including regular-season and tournament.

> Tech is 2-3 against NC State in ACC Tournament games, the last meeting occurring in 2003 in a 71-65 Wolfpack victory in Greensboro. The Jackets won first-round games in 1996 in Greensboro (88-73) and 1990 in Charlotte (76-67).

Quick Look at Tech

Head coach Paul Hewitt’s regular starting lineup for eight of the last nine 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, missed seven games due to a nasal fracture sustained in Tech’s game with UIC, and returned to the court last week, but his return to the starting lineup is undetermined.

Tech has been led this season by post players Lawal and Aminu, who rank 1-3 on the team in scoring (16.1 and 13.2 ppg, respectively) and 1-2 in rebounding (10.4 and 9.3 pg). The two players ranks 1-2 in the ACC in rebounding as well, and both rank in the ACC’s top five in field goal percentage, combining to make 55.1 percent of their shots from the floor.

Clinch has started the last nine games after missing the first seven games due to academic ineligibility. He has scored in double digits in eight of the nine, averaging 13.4 points a game, while also logging minutes at point guard (3.0 apg). Shumpert, the primary point guard in Miller’s absence, averages 11.0 points and is third in the ACC in assist average (5.9 pg).

With Bell, Miller and Clinch out for extended periods of time, Peacock has been asked to utilize his outside shooting and defensive abilities at the small forward spot. He averages 10.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

Sophomore Lance Storrs (4.8 ppg, 43.2 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 4.1 points and 2.6 rebounds, is averaging more than 12 minutes a game off the bench in the post, and Bassirou Dieng (1.2 ppg in nine games) provides additional depth and has played in each of the last four games.

Notable

> Georgia Tech has five 12 noon Saturday starts this season, four of which occur on the road (Maryland last Saturday, NC State this Saturday, North Carolina on Feb. 28, Boston College on Mar. 7 still to come). Tech’s football team played six 12 noon games last season, winning five of those.

> Three Yellow Jackets – Gani Lawal, Alade Aminu and Iman Shumpert – have started all 16 games this season. Zachery Peacock, who missed the Maryland game with a stomach ailment, and Lewis Clinch, academically ineligible for the first seven games, have started every game they have played.

> Nine of Tech’s players are averaging more than 10 minutes a game.

> Eight of Tech’s games have been decided by seven points or fewer, two of them in overtime.

> Tech has lost six ACC home games over the past two seasons by four points or fewer.

> In Tech’s last three games, including a win over Georgia, the Yellow Jackets have shot just 39.7 percent from the floor and 52.7 percent from the foul line, while averaging 20.3 turnovers.

> In its last seven games, Tech has hit 41.4 percent from the floor, 29.8 percent from three-point range, and 54.1 percent from the line, while posting a minus-3.9 turnover margin per game.

> Tech has converted just 23-of-52 foul shots (44.2 pct.) in its two HOME ACC games, 47.0 percent in all three ACC games.

> Tech has hit 39.1 percent of its three-point shots in ACC games, compared to 28.2 percent in non-conference games.

> Tech has shot 44.2 percent from the floor, 31.3 percent from three-point range, since Clinch joined the lineup. The Jackets shot 46.3 percent overall, 29.6 percent on threes, before that.

> Tech’s three ACC opponents have shot just 38.1 percent from the floor.

> Alade Aminu (55.8 pct.) and Gani Lawal (54.4 pct.) rank third and fourth, respectively, in the ACC in field goal percentage. The rest of the team has shot 39.6 percent.

> Tech is sixth in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (39.3 pct.). The Jackets were last in 2007-08 (45.2 pct.). Tech has limited eight opponents to less than 40 percent shooting from the floor overall, and eight foes to less than 30 percent from three-point range. Tech is tied for fifth in the ACC against the three (30.8 pct.).

> Tech players have achieved double-doubles 19 times through 16 games (16 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 (14.5 pg with Clinch, 11.6 pg before). Its opponents have tried an average of 20.1 per game.

> Tech has a minus-0.5 turnover margin, 10thth in the ACC, and has won the turnover battle in nine of 16 games.

> Tech has outrebounded its opponent 11 times in 16 games, by double digits seven times. Tech ranks fourth in the ACC in rebounding (42.6 pg) and fifth in rebound margin (+6.3).

> Tech’s bench has outscored that of its opponents only three times in 16 games, and averages just 11.3 points per game. Tech’s reserves also have played just 26.2 percent of available minutes.

> Tech is 12-31 against teams ranked in the nation’s top 10 (in at least one of the two polls) under head coach Paul Hewitt, 28-55 vs. teams ranked in the top 25.

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