Tech Visits Vanderbilt as Road Tour Continues

Nov. 29, 2007

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech plays its sixth consecutive game away from home Saturday when it visits Vanderbilt of the Southeastern Conference for a 1 p.m. Eastern time game at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville. The game is being regionally televised on FSN South.

Radio coverage is provided on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, and can be heard in Atlanta on WQXI-AM (790), WREK-FM (91.1) and WTSH-FM (107.1).

Tech is 3-3 for the season, most recently falling 83-79 Tuesday night at No. 15 Indiana in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. That game came at the end of an 8-day layoff following the Yellow Jackets’ third-place finish in the Paradise Jam just prior to Thanksgiving. Tech defeated Notre Dame (70-69) and Charlotte (82-77) in that event.

Vanderbilt is undefeated (5-0) pending a home game against South Alabama Thursday night.

The Commodores are the first of two SEC teams on Tech’s schedule this year. The Yellow Jackets will visit in-state rival Georgia in Athens on Jan. 9.

Georgia Tech is in the midst of a 38-day stretch between home games at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, the longest such stretch since the 1986-87 season, when the Jackets played their home opener on Dec. 1 then did not play at home again until Jan. 14, a period of 43 days. After Vanderbilt, Tech visits cross-town rival Georgia State on Wednesday, then takes a break for exams before hosting Kansas on Dec. 18.

Tech is in its 92nd season of men’s basketball at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have an all-time record of 1,192-1,040, dating back to Feb. 17, 1906. Tech is in its eighth season under head coach Paul Hewitt (130-98).

SERIES VS. VANDERBILT

> This year’s game is the third of a four-game series the former Southeastern Conference rivals will play. The Commodores will return to Atlanta for a game in 2008-09.

> Vanderbilt took a 73-64 victory over a 25th-ranked Tech team last December, 2006, at Memorial Gymnasium, the Yellow Jackets’ first visit to Memorial Gym since 1964. The Yellow Jackets defeated the Commodores 76-67 on Jan. 3, 2006 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, the first time an SEC team other than Georgia visited Tech’s home court since Feb. 1, 1978. The teams have played just three times since Tech left the SEC in 1964.

> The Commodores hold a 37-32 overall lead in the series which began in 1914. Tech holds a 21-13 lead against the Commodores in Atlanta, and is 7-2 against Vanderbilt at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Vanderbilt is 24-8 against Tech in Nashville.

> Among SEC teams, Tech has played only Georgia (183 games), Auburn (114 games) and Tennessee (69 games) more times than it has Vanderbilt. The Yellow Jackets are 50-81 against SEC teams since leaving the conference in 1964, including a 23-23 mark against the league at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

INJURED PLAYERS RETURN

> Sophomore center Zack Peacock returned Tuesday night from a foot injury to play eight minutes and score two points with one rebound at Indiana. The 6-8 Miami native missed the first five games of the season, as well as a significant amount of pre-season practice, with a stress reaction (a precursor to a stress fracture) in his right foot. He has participated in every practice since the team returned from the Virgin Islands. > Moe Miller, Tech’s freshman point guard who started the first two games of the season, also played Tuesday night after missing all three games Paradise Jam with a back injury. Miller, a 6-1 native of Memphis, Tenn., took a spill into the base of a goal standard in practice the day before the first round of the tournament, sustaining a bone bruise in his lower back. He played nine minutes against Indiana and had one assist and one steal.

QUICK LOOK AT TECH

With the injury to Moe Miller in the Paradise Jam, head coach Paul Hewitt started senior transfer Matt Causey at point guard against Charlotte in the first round of the Paradise Jam, then went with junior D’Andre Bell at the position for Tech’s last three games. The rest of the starting lineup has remained the same for all six games — senior Anthony Morrow and junior Lewis Clinch on the wings, senior Jeremis Smith at strong forward, and junior Alade Aminu at center.

Morrow, a 6-5 guard from Charlotte, N.C., who is the Yellow Jackets’ top returning scorer from 2006-07, currently ranks fourth in the ACC with 18.7 points a game. One of Tech’s best all-time three-point shooters with 195 for his career, Morrow has hit 48.6 percent of his three-point attempts this season, and ranks second in the ACC in three-pointers per game (3.0). He also is rebounding at a 6.2-per-game clip.

Smith, the team captain and a 6-8 forward from Fort Worth, Texas, made the all-tournament team at the Paradise Jam and has recorded two straight double-doubles, 12 points and 13 rebounds against Notre Dame and 10 points and 11 rebounds at Indiana. Tech’s fourth-leading scorer at 11.8 points per game and its leading rebounder at 8.2 per game, Smith has four double-figure rebound games this season, twice as many as he had last year.

Clinch, a 6-3 guard, picked it up in the Paradise Jam after a slow start, hitting 12-of-21 threes in his last four games while also giving out 14 assists. The Cordele, Ga., native is Tech’s third-leading scorer at 12.2 points per game, and has hit 50 percent of his three-point attempts, fourth-best in the ACC.

Aminu, a 6-10 center from Stone Mountain, Ga., who enjoyed a solid final month to the 2006-07 campaign, currently stands second on the team in both scoring (12.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.7 per game), while ranking third in the ACC in field goal percentage (59.6).

Bell, a 6-5 native of Los Angeles, scored 12 points with eight rebounds against Charlotte and has been solid at the point guard position. He averages 5.3 points for the season with 14 assists and seven steals and has hit 64.7 percent of his shots from the floor.

Backcourt reserves — Miller, a 6-1 native of Memphis, Tenn., averaged 9.0 points and 3.5 assists in Tech’s first two games. Causey, a 6-0 native of Gainesville, Ga., who hit the game-winning three-point shot against Notre Dame in the Paradise Jam, leads the team and ranks sixth in the ACC in assists (4.5 per game). Six-foot-4 freshman Lance Storrs of Decatur, Ga., has excellent long-range shooting ability but has played limited minutes thus far.

Frontcourt reserves — Hewitt can go to 6-8 freshman Gani Lawal of Norcross, Ga., 6-8 sophomore Zack Peacock of Miami, Fla., 6-11 red-shirt freshman Brad Sheehan of Latham, N.Y., and 6-10 sophomore Mouhammad Faye of Dakar, Senegal. Lawal had his best game of the season at Indiana with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting, and Peacock played Tuesday night after missing the first five games with an injured foot. Sheehan has seen limited action, and Faye has played mostly in situations where Tech needs his length on defense.

LAST TIME OUT

Georgia Tech fell to 4-5 in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge in a game that saw 10 lead changes and six ties, falling to Indiana, 83-79, at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. The Yellow Jackets started off quickly in each half, leading by as many as eight (26-18) early and by as many as six (49-43) in the second half before the Hoosiers rallied behind freshman guard Eric Gordon (29 points) and center D.J. White (18 points, 14 rebounds).

Gordon and White were able to neutralize Tech’s depth advantage (22-2 on bench points, 53-22 in minutes played) by getting to the free throw line. They combined to make 19 of 28 from the stripe, while Indiana was 28-of-38 overall compared to Tech’s 11-of-20.

Four Tech players reached double figures in scoring, led by Lewis Clinch’s 18. Anthony Morrow and Gani Lawal each added 17.

TECH CARRIES ON OFFENSIVELY

Head coach Paul Hewitt has said repeatedly this season that his Yellow Jackets can score, but the team’s success will depend on defense and rebounding the basketball.

> Tech is averaging 79.5 points per game (4th in the ACC), is hitting 47.7 percent of its shots from the floor (5th in the ACC) and 41.9 percent of its three-point attempts (also 5th in the ACC). Last season, the Jackets’ season scoring average of 78.6 points per game (3rd in the ACC) and its field goal percentage of 49.0 percent (also No. 3) were the best figures the Jackets have achieved in seven seasons under head coach Paul Hewitt.

> Tech leads the ACC in assist-turnover ratio (1.14-to-1) and assist average (18.0 per game). The Jackets have assisted on 62.1 percent of their made field goals.

> Four Yellow Jackets are averaging in double figures, led by Anthony Morrow (18.7 ppg). In the Paradise Jam, four Tech players averaged between 12.0 and 13.7 ppg over three games, and the Jackets have had at least four players in double digits in each victory.

> Without Zack Peacock, Tech has not been as dominant on the boards as it was last year, but the Yellow Jackets still hold a rebounding edge of 2.0 per game this year.

> Defensively, Tech ranks at or near the bottom of the league in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense, three-point percentage defense and blocked shots.

QUICK PERSONNEL NOTES

> Tech’s win over Notre Dame left head coach Paul Hewitt (196-125 career record) four wins shy of 200 for his career, and left Tech eight wins shy of 1,200 all-time.

> Anthony Morrow, who has 18 three-point field goals in six games, has moved into 7th place on Tech’s all-time list for three-point field goals with 195. A comparable year to his last two, when he averaged 70 three-pointers, would vault him into fourth place, ahead of B.J. Elder, Marvin Lewis and Matt Harpring.

> With his first basket against Charlotte in the Paradise Jam, Morrow became the 37th Tech player to score 1,000 career points. He now stands 36th all-time with 1,056 points and needs 25 to move into 34th place.

> Morrow has made at least one three-point basket in 15 straight games dating back to last season, and has scored in double figures in 10 straight games.

> Jeremis Smith has four double-figure rebounds games this season, twice as many as he had all of last year when he led the team with 5.9 boards per game. He currently paces Tech with 8.2 rebounds per game, and ranks 6th in the ACC.

> Smith has 16 double-figure rebound games in his career, and has led the team in rebounds 37 times.

> Smith, a strong forward, has 23 assists, second on the team behind Matt Causey, and just nine turnovers in six games.

> Smith and Causey actually rank 5th and 6th, respectively, in the ACC in assist-turnover ratio.

> Smith surpassed 500 rebounds for his career against Charlotte, and now has 530.

> After hitting just 3-of-14 shots in his first three games, Matt Causey went 8-for-16 (5-for-11 on threes) in his last three games.

> Since scoring just five points in the season opener, Alade Aminu put together four straight double-figure games (16.3 ppg) before Indiana. He ranks third in the ACC in field goal percentage (62.0 pct.).

> D’Andre Bell went 7-for-9 from the floor in the Virgin Islands, and has shot 64.7 percent for the season.

> Lewis Clinch has hit double figures in five straight games (13.6 ppg) while hitting 14-of-25 three-point attempts and 48 percent from the floor overall.

> Gani Lawal scored a season-high 17 points at Indiana after getting just 14 in the previous four games. He is shooting 56.7 percent from the floor

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