Dec. 26, 2008
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech resumes its basketball schedule after the holiday break by hosting Virginia at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The nationally-televised game (Fox Sports Net) is the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Radio coverage is provided by 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).
Tech opens its ACC slate hoping for better luck at home that it had last year, when the Yellow Jackets lost five ACC home games by a total of eight points (one to Miami, two to Maryland, one to North Carolina, two to Florida State, two to Virginia).
Tech (7-3) is coming off a 1-1 trip to California, where it defeated Pepperdine (86-58) on Jan. 20, and fell to USC (76-57) on Jan. 22. The Yellow Jackets are 5-2 at home this year, dropping games to Penn State and Illinois-Chicago.
Virginia (5-4) defeated Hampton, 74-48, in its last game before Christmas, but has lost four of six games since a 3-0 start. The Cavaliers are 0-2 away from home this year, losing by three at Syracuse and by 10 at Minnesota).
Tech head coach Paul Hewitt is looking for his 150th win in his ninth season with the Yellow Jackets (149-115) and is 215-142 in his 12th season as a head coach. Hewitt ranks 19th all-time in victories among ACC coaches.
Tech is not done with its non-conference schedule yet. The Yellow Jackets host Tennessee State Tuesday night, visit Alabama Saturday (Jan. 3) and host Georgia (Jan, 6) before resuming ACC play Jan. 10 at Maryland.
The Yellow Jackets are 2-6 in ACC openers under Hewitt, winning only in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.
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 are not available to play due to injury.
Tech Gains One, Loses One
Senior guard Lewis Clinch made his 2008-09 debut for the Yellow Jackets against Georgia State after being academically ineligible for fall semester and missing the first seven games. Sophomore point guard Moe Miller has not played the last two games due to a mild concussion and a nasal fracture suffered in Tech’s Dec. 14 loss to UIC, and Clinch has started in his place.
Miller had successful surgery to repair the fracture Wednesday, Dec. 17, and is expected to miss three weeks. The Memphis, Tenn., native is third in the ACC in assists this season (5.7 pg) while averaging 7.8 points.
Clinch has averaged a team-high 18.3 points while hitting 36.4 (8-of-22) 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. He has shot 39.6 percent from the floor overall, and scored a career-high 25 points against USC.
Series With Virginia
> Georgia Tech has won eight of the last 11, 12 of the last 16, and 19 of the last 25 meetings with Virginia. The teams split their regular-season games last year, each team winning on the other’s homecourt, and the Yellow Jackets captured the rubber game in the ACC Tournament.
> Since Tech joined the ACC, the Yellow Jackets are 36-28 against Virginia.
> Tech has four wins in its last six trips to Charlottesville, including a 1-1 mark at John Paul Jones Arena. The Yellow Jackets were 10-16 against Virginia at University Hall, the Cavaliers’ former homecourt, Tech’s best winning percentage on an ACC foe’s home court.
> Tech is 3-2 against Virginia teams coached by Dave Leitao, and is 11-4 against Virginia under Paul Hewitt, including all three meetings in Hewitt’s first season of 2000-01.
> Tech and Virginia have played to overtime six times since the 1983-84 season, including a 72-71 triple-overtime win for Tech in Atlanta on Jan. 23, 1984, and an 88-85 double-overtime triumph for Virginia in Charlottesville on Jan. 22, 1995.
> The Jackets have won 10 of the last 12 meetings between the two teams in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, but lost the most recent game, 76-74, on Mar. 3 of this year. Overall, Tech is 21-6 against the Cavaliers in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, 22-8 on all home courts and 24-9 in games played in the city of Atlanta.
> In the ACC Tournament, Tech has won five of nine games, including a 70-61 Jacket victory in the 1990 final in Charlotte.
Quick Look at Tech
Head coach Paul Hewitt’s regular starting lineup for the laet three 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, will be out until mid-January due to a nasal fracture sustained in Tech’s Dec. 14 game with UIC.
Clinch has started the last three games after missing the first seven games due to academic ineligibility. He has scored in double digits in all three while logging minutes at point guard (3.0 apg). Shumpert, the primary point guard in Miller’s absence, averages 11.3 points and is second in the ACC in assist average (6.0 pg).
Tech has been led this season by post players Lawal and Aminu, who rank 2-3 on the team in scoring (16.7 and 13.8 ppg, respectively) and rebounding (9.7 and 9.0 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.
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 9.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Sophomore Lance Storrs (5.2 ppg, 46.2 pct. from three-point range) and freshman walk-on Nick Foreman (1.9 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 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds, is averaging more than 15 minutes a game off the bench in the post.
> Four of Tech’s 10 games have been decided by six points or fewer, one of them in overtime.
> Tech has been inconsistent scoring the basketball in the last six games, scoring 80 or more points three times, 66 or fewer the other three times. The Jackets rank fifth in the ACC in scoring average (76.0) and sixth in scoring margin (+11.4). Tech also ranks sixth in the conference in field goal percentage (46.6), having made 46 percent or better in all but two games.
> Lewis Clinch has taken 22 shots from behind the three-point line in three 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, 69-69 without him.
> Tech has shot 47.3 percent from the floor, 35.0 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 is eighth in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (39.4 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 fifth in the ACC against the three (29.1 pct.).
> Tech players have achieved double-doubles 12 times through 10 games (10 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 and USC.
> Tech has attempted 12.1 three-point field goals per game (13.3 pg with Clinch, 11.6 pg before). Its opponents have tried an average of 20.3 per game.
> Tech has a plus-1.7 turnover margin, fifth in the ACC, and has forced an average of 17.3, which is fifth in the conference.
> Tech has outrebounded its opponent seven times in 10 games, ranks fourth in the ACC in rebounding (41.6 pg) and sixth in rebound margin (+6.9).
> In Tech’s three losses this season, the Jackets have a combined 40 free throw attempts; in each of the seven wins Tech has attempted at least 20 free throws.
Last Time Out – Jackets Split Two Games in California
Georgia Tech produced its second-highest point total and its lowest of the season, routing Pepperdine 86-58 and losing to Southern California 76-57 in a two-game trip to California the weekend before Christmas.
> The Yellow Jackets shot a season-high 54.8 percent against the Waves, its fourth game at 50 percent or better this season, and its 34.9-percent clip against the Trojans was its second-lowest of the season.
> Tech’s 28-point margin of victory at Pepperdine was its largest on an opponent’s home court in nearly 38 years (Tech won 92-62 at Pittsburgh on Feb. 9, 1970).
> Tech went 10-for-28 (35.7 pct.) from three-point range in the two games, and 21-of-36 (58.3 pct.) from the foul line.