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2020-21 Season Tips Off with GT Showcase

 THE FLATS – Georgia Tech begins its 2020-21 season by hosting a two-game multi-team event at McCamish Pavilion against a pair of in-state teams. The Yellow Jackets face crosstown foe Georgia State at 9 p.m. Wednesday night, and Mercer (from Macon, Ga.) at 8 p.m. Friday.

The Panthers and the Bears complete the MTE by facing each other on Dec. 16 at the GSU Sports Arena.

Returning four starters from last year’s fifth-place ACC team (17-14 overall, 11-9 ACC), including a pair of All-ACC honorees in guards Jose Alvarado and Michael Devoe, Georgia Tech has its most experienced and deepest roster yet under head coach Josh Pastner, beginning his fifth season on The Flats. The Yellow Jackets won six of their last seven games in 2019-20 and have been picked to finish ninth in the ACC according to the official preseason poll of ACC media.

Georgia State also returns a pair of all-conference honorees – guards Kane Williams and Justin Roberts, who finished No. 1-3 on the team in scoring – from head coach Rob Lanier’s first Panther team, which went 19-13 overall and finished fourth in the Sun Belt Conference with a 12-8 record. GSU has been picked to win the East Division of the Sun Belt in 2020-21.

Like Tech and GSU, Mercer is also led by a pair of veteran guards in senior Ross Cummings and junior Jeff Gary, who are the top two returning scorers for the Bears under second-year head coach Greg Gary. Mercer went 17-15 overall and finished fourth in the Southern Conference at 11-7, and have been projected to finish fourth again in 2020-21.

Both games this week will be televised regionally on the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Regional Sports Network, which includes Fox Sports South in Georgia and 13 Southeastern states. Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech Sports Network by LearfieldIMG College, with flagship station WCNN-Radio (680 AM, 93.7 FM) in Atlanta. The Tech broadcasts can be heard on satellite radio (SiriusXM Ch. 383 for Georgia State, Ch. 371 for Mercer) and the TuneIn app.

Senior guard Jose Alvarado speaks with the media ahead of Wednesday's season opener against Georgia State.

SERIES VS. GEORGIA STATE

  • The last meeting between Georgia Tech and Georgia State occurred when the NCAA waivers to schools wishing to stage an additional exhibition game to raise money to aid ongoing hurricane relief efforts that year. The Panthers won the game at McCamish Pavilion, 65-58.
  • Only seniors Jose Alvarado (0-for-10 FG, 2 points) and Moses Wright (6 points, 5 rebounds) were on the Yellow Jacket team that played in the exhibition vs. the Panthers. Kane Williams is the only current Panther to have played in that game (o points in 8 minutes).
  • Wednesday’s meeting begins a three-game series agreed to by the two programs last summer. The Panthers return to McCamish Pavilion in the 2021-22 season, while the Yellow Jackets pay a visit to GSU’s home arena in the 2022-23 season.
  • Tech and GSU have not played a regular season game since December 17, 2008. The Yellow Jackets won that game, 84-64, and have won 17 of 19 games in a series that dates back to 1970, including the last 14 in a row.
  • The Panthers’ two wins in the series occurred on March 10, 1973 season at Georgia State (77-73), and January 21, 1976 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum (69-62).
  • Georgia Tech has never faced the Panthers’ Rob Lanier as a head coach, Lanier, in his second season at Georgia State, also four seasons as head coach at Siena (2001-05). Lanier was an assistant coach for Rick Barnes at Tennessee for all four of the Yellow Jackets’ recent meetings against the Volunteers.
  • Tech-GSU connections: Panther assistant coaches Cliff Warren and Chris Kreider both worked at Georgia Tech for former head coach Paul Hewitt. Warren was on the Tech staff from 2000-05 before becoming the head coach at Jacksonville University. Kreider was a graduate assistant from 2007-09.

Junior guard Michael Devoe speaks with the media ahead of Wednesday's season opener against Georgia State.

SERIES VS. MERCER

  • The 45 meetings between Georgia Tech and Mercer are the most for the Yellow Jackets against any non-conference opponent (ACC or SEC) in program history. Among all non-ACC foes, they rank No. 9.
  • Tech holds a 28-17 all-time lead in a series that dates back to the 1908-09 season, when the teams’ split two games. The first 33 meetings occurred between 1909 and 1944, after which the schools did not face each other for 23 years.
  • Tech has won 11 of the 13 games played in the series since 1967, but lost the last meeting, 65-59, on Dec. 22, 2011 at Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth, Ga.
  • The teams met in one NCAA Tournament game, a 65-58 Tech win in the first round of the NCAA East Regional at the Omni in downtown Atlanta. It is one of four NCAA Tournament games the Bears have played as a Division I program.

Head coach Josh Pastner's Monday press conference

Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the A-T Fund’s Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes, and Athletics Initiative 2020, Georgia Tech athletics’ ongoing $125 million initiative to allow Tech to recruit the nation’s most elite student-athletes, build a better student-athlete once they arrive on The Flats and, ultimately, win! To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.   

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL

Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its fifth year under head coach Josh Pastner, having finished fifth in the ACC in 2019-20, the program’s highest finish since 2005. 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.

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