Tech Makes West Coast Trip to Play Pepperdine, USC

Dec. 19, 2008

Malibu, Calif. –

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format

Georgia Tech plays its final two games before the Christmas break, making a trip to the West Coast to visit Pepperdine (5 p.m. Eastern time) Saturday and Southern California (10:30 p.m. Eastern) on Monday. The trip marks the Yellow Jackets’ seventh trip out West for a tournament or games since Paul Hewitt became Tech’s head coach. The Jackets are 5-6 in their previous ventures West, which includes four games in two events played in Las Vegas.

Both game can be heard on radio over the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, including flagship station WQXI-AM (790) in Atlanta, as well as WREK-FM (91.1) and WTSH-FM (107.1). Monday’s game will be televised regionally on FSN South and FSN West.

Tech (6-2) has split its last four games following a 4-0 start, having won its last outing Wednesday night at home against Georgia State, 84-64. The Yellow Jackets have played just one road game to date, an 82-76 overtime win at Mercer on Nov. 22.

Pepperdine has begun its season 1-9 (pending a Thursday game against Cal State Northridge), dropping nine straight games since a season-opening, 91-82 win over Cal State Monterey Bay. This will be just the second meeting between the Jackets and Waves, the first occurring in the 1983 Casaba Club Classic (a 67-56 Tech win).

Southern California is 6-3 pending a Saturday date with North Dakota State, having defeated Pepperdine in its most recent outing, 91-77 on Dec. 15. The Jackets and Trojans also are meeting for the second time, the first a 79-78 Tech triumph in the 1992 NCAA Tournament.

“These are two critical ball games and then we come back and get right into ACC play,” said head coach Paul Hewitt. “We’ll have to make an adjustment to the time and play a tough Pepperdine team in their building. We’ve got to be ready to play and then of course after that, we have Southern California. They are one of the better teams in the Pac 10.

“After dropping that game last week to Illinois-Chicago, I think this is important trip for our team. Give UIC credit – they came in with their senior guard and did a great job, but we made way to many mistakes. We need to go out West and play well on Saturday and then come back and see where we are against USC. We have to play well on Saturday though.”

Tech head coach Paul Hewitt is in his ninth season with the Yellow Jackets (148-114) and his 12th season as a head coach (214-141). Hewitt ranks 19th all-time in victories among ACC coaches.

Hewitt served as a graduate assistant under head coach George Raveling at USC during the 1989-90 season. Raveling is one of the principal influences for Hewitt in his coaching career.

Tech Gains One, Loses One

Senior guard Lewis Clinch made his 2008-09 debut for the Yellow Jackets Wednesday night against Georgia State after being academically ineligible for fall semester and missing the first seven games. Sophomore point guard Moe Miller did not play due to a mild concussion and a nasal fracture suffered in Sunday’s loss to UIC, and Clinch started in his place.

Miller had successful surgery to repair the fracture Wednesday, Dec. 17, and is expected to miss three weeks.

Clinch scored 18 points, making 4-of-8 shots from three-point range, against the Panthers. Miller is third in the ACC in assists this season (5.7 pg) while averaging 7.8 points.

Series With Pepperdine, USC

> Georgia Tech has met Pepperdine and Southern California once each in its history, winning both.

> Tech downed the Waves, 67-56, in the first game of the 1983 Casaba Club Classic in Stockton, Calif., when Yellow Jacket legends Mark Price and John Salley were sophomores. Tech went on to win the tournament with a victory over Central Michigan.

> Tech’s previous meeting with USC produced one of the great moments in Yellow Jackets basketball annals, the “Miracle in Milwaukee” in the second round of the NCAA Midwest Regional at the Bradley Center. James Forrest took an inbounds pass and made a 25-foot jumper from the sideline to give the Jackets a stunning 79-78 victory and a berth in the Midwest semifinals in Kansas City, where they lost in overtime to Memphis.

Quick Look at Tech

Head coach Paul Hewitt’s regular starting lineup in the early going has included sophomore Moe Miller and freshman Iman Shumpert at guard, with junior Zachery Peacock, senior Alade Aminu and sophomore Gani Lawal along the front line.

Miller, however, has missed two starts due to a mild concussion suffered in the Mercer game, and will miss the next three weeks due to a nasal fracture sustained in Tech’s Dec. 14 game with UIC.

Lewis Clinch started Wednesday night’s game against Georgia State, making his first appearance of the season after missing the first seven games due to academic ineligibility.

Tech has been led this season by post players Lawal and Aminu, who rank 1-2 on the team in scoring (19.1 and 13.6 ppg, respectively) and rebounding (10.3 and 9.0 pg). The two players both rank in the ACC’s top five in field goal percentage, combining to make 57.8 percent of their shots from the floor.

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 10.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

Shumpert has made his mark as one of the top freshmen in the ACC, averaging 11.4 points and 6.3 assists while also leading the Jackets in minutes (32.2 pg).

Storrs (5.1 ppg, 45 pct. from three-point range) and freshman walk-on Nick Foreman (2.4 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 5.1 points and 2.6 rebounds, is averaging nearly 14 minutes a game off the bench in the post.

Notable

> Four of Tech’s eight games have been decided by six points or fewer, one of them in overtime.

> Tech has scored 80 or more points in four of eight games, ranks sixth in the ACC in scoring average (77.1) and scoring margin (+13.1). Tech also ranks fifth in the conference in field goal percentage (47.0), having made 46 percent or better in all but one game.

> Gani Lawal and Alade Aminu rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in the ACC in field goal percentage, hitting 57.8 percent from the floor, The rest of the team has shot 42.4 percent.

> Moe Miller is 0-for-21 this season from three-point range. The rest of the team has made 38.8 percent from that distance.

> Tech is sixth in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (38.9 pct.). The Jackets were last in 2007-08 (45.2 pct.). Tech has limited three opponents to 30.5 percent shooting or less overall, and three foes to less than 30 percent from three-point range.

> Tech players have achieved double-doubles 10 times through eight games (eight in points and rebounds, two 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.

> Tech has attempted 11.6 three-point field goals per game. Its opponents have tried an average of 21.5 per game.

> Tech has a plus-1.5 turnover margin, sixth in the ACC, and has forced an average of 17.6, which is fourth in the conference.

> Moe Miller (2.6-1) and Iman Shumpert have combined to post a 2.1-1 assist-turnover ratio. They rank 2-3 in the ACC in assist average.

> Tech has been outrebounded only twice in eight games, ranks third in the ACC in rebounding (42.8 pg) and fourth inrebound margin (+8.0).

> In Tech’s two losses this season, the Jackets have a combined 25 free throw attempts; in each of the six wins Tech has attempted at least 20 free throws.

> Tech is 162-13 against non-conference foes at Alexander Memorial Coliseum since the beginning of the 1981-82 season, including a Dec. 3 loss to Penn State and Sunday’s loss to UIC. Penn State and UIC have each won twice at the Thrillerdome during that span of time.

Last Time Out – Jackets Run Away From Georgia State

Georgia Tech held Georgia State without a score for the first 5:04 of the game and defeated its crosstown neighbor, 84-64, Wednesday night at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Gani Lawal led four Tech players in double figures with 23 points and 10 rebounds, and the Yellow Jackets shot 67.9 percent from the floor in the second half.

> Senior Lewis Clinch, academically ineligible for the fall semester, made his season debut with 18 points and 4-of-8 shooting from three-point range.

> Georgia State’s first points of the game came with 14:56 left in the first half.

> Tech had more assists than in any game this season (previously 20 assists vs. Penn State).

> Tech also had a season-high for turnovers, committing more than 19 turnovers for the first time this season.

> Tech shot over 50 percent for the first time since shooting 54.2 percent in the season opener.

> The Jackets had a season-high for total rebounds (48).

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