Tech Returns Home to Host Florida A&M

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THE FLATS  –  Georgia Tech begins its holiday stretch of games Sunday, with seven home games in the next eight. when Florida A&M visits McCamish Pavilion for a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday.

Tech (4-3), in its third season under head coach Josh Pastner, has won all four of its home games by double digits over Lamar, East Carolina, UT Rio Grande Valley and Prairie Vew A&M, and lost all three of its games away from home, Nov. 13 at No. 5 Tennessee (66-53), Nov. 28 at Northwestern (67-61) and Dec. 1 vs. St. John’s (76-73) in Miami.

Florida A&M (3-7), in its second season under head coach Robert McCullum, snapped a seven-game losing streak Thursday night with an 80-58 victory over Fort Valley State at home. The Rattlers began the season with two wins, including a 65-50 victory in their season opener at Jacksonville, but are 1-5 on the road. Sunday’s game begins a stretch of seven straight road games for FAMU, which doesn’t play at home again until Jan. 12.

Sunday’s game will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra, available through the ESPN app. Radio coverage is provided on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, airing in Atlanta on 680 AM and 93.7 FM the Fan. The Tech broadcast is available on satellite radio (internet ch. 972).

STARTING LINEUP

  • Home for the holidays – Tech plays seven of its next eight games at home, a stretch which carries the Yellow Jackets through the pre-conference schedule and ends with ACC games against Wake Forest (Jan. 5) and Virginia Tech (Jan. 9). Tech’s only road game in that span occurs Dec. 19 at Arkansas.
  • Tough slate – Eight opponents on Georgia Tech’s schedule were ranked in the top 25 of the preseason AP and coaches polls, including No. 5 Tennessee and ACC foes Duke (4/3), Virginia (5/5), North Carolina (8/7), Virginia Tech (15/17), Syracuse (16/14), Florida State (17/15) and Clemson (22/23). Five ACC teams are currently in the top 25 of both polls, and six others are receiving votes.
  • Defending well – Georgia Tech ranks fourth in the ACC in scoring defense (No. 24 nationally) and leads the conference in field goal percentage defense (No. 6 nationally). Tech is No. 1 in three-point percentage defense (9th nationally) and third in blocked shots and steals.
  • Longer bench – Tech has deployed at least eight players for significant minutes (10 or more per game) in each of its seven games so far, nine with the injured Evan Cole available. Tech’s bench has played 37.5 percent of available minutes, 39th in the nation according to KenPom.com (national average is 30.5 pct.). Tech reserves are outscoring its opponents 204 to 94 (29.1-13.4 per game).
  • That’s a triple – Georgia Tech has averaged 6.0 three-point field goals in seven games, 42 total threes made by six different players. Tech averaged just 4.3 through its first four games last season and finished the year at 4.9, last in the ACC.
  • Creating offense with defense – Georgia Tech has forced an average of 14.9 turnovers per game, about one per game more than through five games last season, and has turned those into 17.3 points per game (24.6 percent of total points).
  • Picking up the pace – Through seven games, Tech is averaging 69.7 possessions per game to rank No. 201 in the nation, according to KenPom.com. The Jackets averaged 66.1 possessions last year (277th).

SERIES VS. FLORIDA A&M

Georgia Tech has won all seven prior meetings against Florida A&M, including a 79-54 victory in the teams’ most recent meeting last Dec. 17 at McCamish Pavilion.

  • The first five meetings all were played at Tech’s former home, Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and the teams also played at the Arena at Gwinnett to open the 2011-12 season.
  • Tech has scored 100 points or more in three of the teams’ seven games, the Yellow Jackets’ most against any opponent except Georgia State (six times).
  • Tech played three members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference teams last season, defeating Bethune-Cookman, FAMU and Coppin State. The Yellow Jackets are 33-0 all-time against members of the MEAC.
  • The Rattlers’ second-year head coach is Robert McCullum, who was a member of the Yellow Jackets’ coaching staff for the 2010-11 season.

James Banks ranks fifth in the ACC in rebound average and No. 2 in blocked shots.

TEAM NOTES

  • Georgia Tech altered its starting lineup for the first time for reasons not related to injury against St. John’s. James Banks earned his first collegiate start, replacing Abdoulaye Gueye, and Brandon Alston started in place of Shembari Phillips. Both Gueye and Phillips had started the first six games.
  • Tech led St. John’s by 16 (51-35) with 15:06 left before the Red Storm began to chip away, eventually pulling ahead, 67-66, with 3:31 left. It was the largest lead that Tech has given up at any point in a game under Josh Pastner. Previous big lead was 13 (first half) at Boston College last Feb. 4, and 11 (second half) at Clemson last Feb. 24.
  • Tech shot 45.3 percent from the floor against St. John’s, well above its season average, and hit 21-of-24 from the free throw line, but made just 4-of-21 from three-point range and turned the ball over 16 times.
  • Tech has outrebounded three of its last four opponents, bolstered by the continued improvement of James Banks III in the middle. Tech outrebounded St. John’s, 35-30.
  • Tech is holding its opponents to 36.3 percent collectively this season, tops in the ACC, No. 6 nationally. St. John’s shot just 37.9 percent from the floor for the game, the sixth opponent Tech has limited to less than 40 percent this season.
  • Tech has yielded just 32 three-point field goals in its first seven games (4.6 per game, 25.8 percent). The Jackets allowed an average of 7.1 per game and a success rate of 37.9 percent last season. The Jackets rank No. 9 nationally in three-point percentage defense.
  • Tech has connected on just 36.6 percent of its field goals in three games away from home, and 11-of-52 (21.2 percent) of its three-point attempts. But it has converted 81.2 percent of its free throw tries and scored 56 of its 187 points there. At home. Tech has hit 47.7 percent of its field goals, 36.5 percent of its threes, but just 64.4 percent of its free throws.
  • Tech has attempted 137 threes (19.6 per game) and made 42 (6.0 per game), compared to averages of 15.3 attempts and 4.9 made per game in 2018-19. Four different Yellow Jackets have made at least five three-point field goals so far this season. Tech has hit 30.7 percent of its threes for the season, below last season’s 31.8-percent clip.
  • Tech has all seven opponents under their season scoring averages – breakdown by game: Lamar 77.5 (69), Tennessee 83.7 (66), East Carolina 72.7 (54), UTRGV 69.5 (44), Prairie View A&M 67.0 (54), Northwestern 73.6 (67), St. John’s 82.0 (76), Florida A&M 61.3 (??).
  • Defensively, Tech has forced an average of 14.9 turnovers per game (up from 12.6 last season), and rank third in the ACC in blocked shots and steals (8.3 this year, 6.9 last year).
  • Tech has deployed at least eight players for significant minutes in each of its seven games so far, nine vs. Northwestern and St. John’s, despite Even Cole missing his fourth straight game with an ankle injury.
  • Yellow Jacket reserves have scored 204 points in seven games (29.1 per game). Tech’s bench outscored that of St. John’s, 11-2.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

  • James Banks has posted double-doubles in Tech’s last two games, scoring a career-high 14 points and matching his best of 12 rebounds against St. John’s, and 12/12 at Northwestern. Banks went 5-of-5 from the floor against the Johnnies and is 11-of-13 in his last two games. He has taken 33 rebounds in Tech’s last three games and averages 9.0 for the season. He played a season-high 33 minutes against St. John’s.
  • Banks has had at least one blocked shot in each of the six games he has played, averaging 2.3 for the season (2nd in the ACC, 29th nationally).
  • Moses Wright has started the last five games for Georgia Tech in place of Evan Cole, who was sidelined with a sprained left ankle suffered in the Tennessee game Nov. 13. He notched his highest scoring game (12 points, 5-8 FG, 2-2 FT) against St. John’s since getting 19 last Dec. 17 against Florida A&M, and posted his third career double-digit game. He played a season-high 25 minutes.
  • Jose Alvarado led Tech with 17 points against St. John’s, hitting 5-of-15 shots from the floor and 7-of-8 from the free throw line but missing all six of his three-point attempts. He also had four assists and just two turnovers in a season-high 38 minutes, playing most of the last 10 minutes with four fouls.
  • Alvarado has scored in double figures in four straight games, averaging 17 points over that stretch. He also has hit 20-of-26 (76.9 percent) from the free throw line in those four games after not attempting a free throw in Tech’s first three games.
  • Alvarado has averaged 36 minutes over Tech’s last three games (36, 34, 38).
  • Brandon Alston returned to double digits for the second time in three games and for the fourth time this season, scoring 14 points against St. John’s. The graduate senior connected on 3-of-4 from three-point range and is 11-of-18 from distance this season. He had converted 49.1 percent of his field goals tries overall.
  • Freshman forward Khalid Moore has given Tech solid play off the bench in the last two games, scoring a season-best six points (4-4 FT) with two assists and a steal with no turnovers in 15 minutes against St. John’s. At Northwestern, Moore had two points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals with no turnovers in 15 minutes.

REMINDERS

Clear Bag Policy – To provide a safer environment for the public and significantly expedite fan entry, the GTAA implemented a policy beginning with the 2018 football season that limits the size and type of bags that may be brought into athletics facilities. This policy continues with men’s basketball games at McCamish Pavilion. Prohibited items include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a 4.5″ x 6.5″ clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, grocery bags, cinch bags, non-approved chair backs and seat cushions, luggage of any kind, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.

Full policy | Clear Bag FAQs

Complimentary Bag Valet – A complimentary bag valet is available to fans who fail to comply with the clear bag policy. The bag valet location is located at the Byers Tennis Complex either inside the main lobby or located in a tent in the exterior courtyard. The location will be determined based on weather conditions.

Self-Service Scanning Kiosks – Self-service ticket scanning kiosks have been added to entrances at McCamish Pavilion to speed up entry procedures on game days.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL

Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its third year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.

For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com. Tickets for men’s basketball can be purchased here.

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