Jan. 2, 2009
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech finishes its non-conference schedule in the next week with a pair of games against Southeastern Conference foes, beginning Saturday with a 3 p.m. Eastern time regionally-televised contest against Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The Jackets return home to host Georgia on Tuesday before resuming ACC play Jan. 10 at Maryland.
FS South will televised the game regionally, including the Atlanta area. Radio coverage will be provided on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, with flagship station WQXI-AM (790) and WTSH-FM (107.1) carrying the game in the Atlanta area.
Tech (8-4 overall, 0-1 ACC) snapped a two-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 63-58 homecourt victory over Tennessee State. The Jackets are 2-1 on the road this year, having defeated Mercer and Pepperdine while losing to Southern California.
Alabama (9-3, 0-0 SEC) has won four in a row since an overtime loss to Texas A&M on Dec. 13. The Crimson Tide and Tech have played two common opponents – Mercer (Tech won in overtime, Alabama lost by 3) and Tennessee State (Tech won by 5, Alabama by 9).
The two teams are meeting for the first time since 1997 and for the 12th time since Georgia Tech left the SEC in 1964.
With Tech’s win over Tennessee State, head coach Paul Hewitt captured his 150th win in his ninth season with the Yellow Jackets (150-116) and is 216-143 in his 12th season as a head coach. Hewitt ranks 19th all-time in victories among ACC coaches.
Series With Alabama
> Alabama leads the overall series with Georgia Tech, 39-28, dating back to the teams’ first meeting on Feb. 26, 1921. The teams were Southeastern Conference foes during Georgia Tech’s membership in the league from 1932-64.
> Alabama went 21-17 against Tech when the Jackets were members of the SEC. Tech captured a 36-24 win over the Crismon Tide during its only SEC championship season in 1938.
> Since Tech left the SEC following the 1963-64 season, the teams have met 11 times, Alabama winning the first eight, Tech the last three. The most recent encounter took place on Nov, 27, 1997, a 62-60 Tech victory in the first round of the Puerto Rico Shootout, which the Jackets went on to win.
> Tech is just 5-22 in games played in Tuscaloosa. The Jackets’ last victory on Alabama’s home court came during their final season in the SEC, a 93-81 win on Feb. 1, 1964.
Tech Gains One, Loses One
Senior guard Lewis Clinch made his 2008-09 debut for the Yellow Jackets Dec. 17 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 five 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, has resumed conditioning workouts and is expected to return to the court sometime in mid-January. The Memphis, Tenn., native is third in the ACC in assists this season (5.7 pg) while averaging 7.8 points.
Clinch has averaged 15.2 points while hitting 32.4 (12-of-37) 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 37.1 percent from the floor overall, and scored a career-high 25 points against USC.
Quick Look at Tech
Head coach Paul Hewitt’s regular starting lineup for the last five 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 five games after missing the first seven games due to academic ineligibility. He has scored in double digits in four of the five while also logging minutes at point guard (3.0 apg). Shumpert, the primary point guard in Miller’s absence, averages 11.7 points and is second in the ACC in assist average (6.3 pg).
Tech has been led this season by post players Lawal and Aminu, who rank 1-3 on the team in scoring (16.7 and 13.3 ppg, respectively) and 1-2 in rebounding (10.2 and 9.0 pg). The two players both rank in the ACC’s top seven in field goal percentage, combining to make 55.9 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 10.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
Sophomore Lance Storrs (4.9 ppg, 42.4 pct. from three-point range) and freshman walk-on Nick Foreman (2.1 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 4.4 points and 2.8 rebounds, is averaging nearly 15 minutes a game off the bench in the post.
> Six of Tech’s 12 games have been decided by six points or fewer, two of them in overtime.
> Tech’s last six ACC home losses (last season and this year) have come by a combined 12 points.
> Tech has been inconsistent scoring the basketball in the last eight games, scoring 80 or more points four times, 66 or fewer the other four times. The Jackets rank eighth in the ACC in scoring average (75.6) and 10th in scoring margin (+9.6). Tech also ranks sixth in the conference in field goal percentage (46.3), having made 46 percent or better in all but three games.
> Lewis Clinch has taken 37 shots from behind the three-point line in five 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 in the lineup, 97-102 without him.
> Tech has shot 46.2 percent from the floor, 30.6 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 (39.5 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 seventh in the ACC against the three (30.4 pct.).
> Tech players have achieved double-doubles 14 times through 12 games (12 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 12.8 three-point field goals per game (14.4 pg with Clinch, 11.6 pg before). Its opponents have tried an average of 20.0 per game.
> Tech has a plus-0.9 turnover margin, eighth in the ACC, and has won the turnover battle in seven of 12 games. However, its turnover margin is minus-2.0 without Moe Miller, and the Jackets have won the turnover battle only two of five times.
> Tech has outrebounded its opponent nine times in 12 games, ranks third in the ACC in rebounding (42.5 pg) and fifth in rebound margin (+7.3).
> Tech’s bench has outscored that of its opponents only three times in 12 games, and averages just 12.3 points per game. Tech’s reserves also have played just 27.7 percent of available minutes.