Nov. 8, 2007
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team opens its regular season Friday night at 6 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum as the Yellow Jackets host one of the top teams in the Southern Conference, UNC Greensboro.
The game is the opener of a double-header in which the Tech women’s team hosts Davidson 30 minutes after the men’s game.
Radio coverage for the men’s game is on WQXI-AM, 790 the Zone. There is no television coverage. All of Tech’s basketball games are sold out except for a limited number of “single” seats that will go on sale at the gate beginning at 4:30 p.m. Those tickets are $20 and must be purchased with cash.
Tech, which went 20-12 last year and made the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years, defeated Carson-Newman, 126-86, in its exhibition game a week ago.
The Spartans under head coach Mike Dement are coming off a 16-14 campaign in which they finished second in the North division at 12-6 and are projected to win that division this year. UNCG defeated Greensboro College, 84-63, in an exhibition game Tuesday.
Head coach Paul Hewitt is expected to start the same five players who were on the floor for the opening tip of the exhibition game – freshman Maurice “Moe” Miller at point guard, senior Anthony Morrow and junior Lewis Clinch on the wings, senior Jeremis Smith at strong forward, and junior Alade Aminu at center.
The Jackets will be without sophomore center Zack Peacock, who is recovering from a stress reaction in his right foot, for Friday night’s game and for Sunday night’s game at Tennessee State.
Morrow, a 6-5 guard from Charlotte, N.C., who is the Yellow Jackets’ top returning scorer at 9.9 point a game, scored 18 points with eight rebounds against Carson-Newman. One of Tech’s all-time three-point shooters with 177 for his career, Morrow knocked down three triples against the Eagles. Smith, the team captain and a 6-8 forward from Fort Worth, Texas, is the Jackets’ top returning rebounder at 5.9 per game and the top returning percentage shooter (59.6 pct.).
Clinch, a 6-3 guard, led the way for Tech against Carson-Newman with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting. The Cordele, Ga., native was Tech’s leading scorer through 10 games last season before missing the spring semester due to a violation of Institute policy. Aminu, a 6-10 center from Stone Mountain, Ga., who enjoyed a solid final month to the 2006-07 campaign, had a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) in the exhibition game.
Miller, a 6-1 point guard from Memphis, had nine points and six rebounds with three assists and four steals in 17 minutes against Carson-Newman. His backup, 6-0 senior Matt Causey, played 13 minutes and had nine assists.
In reserve, Tech has 6-5 junior D’Andre Bell from Los Angeles, Calif., and 6-4 freshman Lance Storrs of Decatur, Ga., in the backcourt. Bell plays some minutes at the point guard position and scored nine points with four assists and three steals in the exhibition game. Storrs has impressed coaches with his long range shooting ability in practice.
Point guard development is the top priority for Hewitt and his staff as the early part of the season unfolds.
“Matt’s played a little bit (on the Division I level), Moe never has,” said Hewitt this week. “You’ve got D’Andre who has played some minutes, but not significantly. So, that’s the obvious question. After that, I don’t think the questions are different from any other team in the country. You know, how do these guys blend, how do they develop?”
In the frontcourt, Hewitt can go to 6-10 sophomore Mouhammad Faye of Dakar, Senegal, 6-8 freshman Gani Lawal of Norcross, Ga., and 6-11 red-shirt freshman Brad Sheehan of Latham, N.Y. They combined for 39 points and 17 rebounds against Carson-Newman.
Following Friday’s game, Tech has a quick turnaround, traveling to Nashville to take on Tennessee State at 7 p.m. Sunday. The Yellow Jackets then travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam, which begins Friday, Nov. 16.