Dec. 25, 2007
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech continues a five-game homestand Thursday when the Yellow Jackets host Tennessee Tech at 7 p.m. in a regionally-televised game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Yellow Jackets look to even their home record at 2-2 after defeating Centenary, 86-41, last time out on Dec. 22.
Radio coverage of the game 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). The game is sold out save for a limited number of “single” tickets which will go on sale at 5:30 p.m. Thursday night at the gates of the Coliseum. These tickets may be purchased with cash only.
Tech is 5-5 for the season, having lost three of its last five games, all to teams in the current top 25 (No. 3 Kansas, No. 17 Vanderbilt and No. 13 Indiana). The Yellow Jackets open Atlantic Coast Conference play Sunday when they host Florida State at 5:30 p.m.
Tennessee Tech is 4-8 overall, having lost 69-47 to Kentucky in its last game on Dec. 22. The Golden Eagles are 1-2 in Ohio Valley Conference play.
The Yellow Jackets have not had a .500 record 10 games into the season since 2001-02, when they also were 5-5 and finished 15-16. That team included a freshman class of B.J. Elder, Anthony McHenry, Isma’il Muhammad and Luke Schenscher that would carry Tech to the national championship game two years later.
Georgia Tech and Tennessee Tech have met twice, but not since the 1984-85 season. The Yellow Jackets have won both games, both at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Quick Look at Tech
Head coach Paul Hewitt’s starting lineup for the last three games has include senior Matt Causey at point guard, senior Anthony Morrow and junior Lewis Clinch on the wings, senior Jeremis Smith at strong forward and freshman Gani Lawal at center.
Tech has used three different starting point guards this season, beginning with freshman Moe Miller in the first two games, then Causey for one game and D’Andre Bell for four after Miller was injured in a practice just before the Paradise Jam. Causey returned to the starting lineup for Tech’s Dec. 5 at Georgia State and has started each game since.
Morrow, Clinch and Smith have started all 10 games.
Causey, a 6-0 senior from Gainesville, Ga., has averaged 6.7 points and 4.3 assists in his three starts. He ranks seventh in the ACC in assist average (4.10) and assist-turnover ratio (2.41-1) while averaging 5.6 points for the season.
Clinch, a 6-3 guard from Cordele, Ga., has reached double-digits in scoring in nine straight games, including an average of 18.0 in his last five and a season-high 22 against both GSU and Kansas. He is Tech’s second-leading scorer at 14.5 points per game (10th in the ACC), and has hit 42.9 percent of his three-point attempts.
Morrow, a 6-5 guard from Charlotte, N.C., who is the Yellow Jackets’ top returning scorer from 2006-07, currently ranks ninth in the ACC with 15.4 points a game. One of Tech’s best all-time three-point shooters with 200 for his career, Morrow has hit 43.4 percent of his three-point attempts this season.
Smith, the team captain and a 6-8 forward from Fort Worth, Texas, made the all-tournament team at the Paradise Jam. Tech’s fourth-leading scorer at 9.0 points per game and its leading rebounder at 7.1 per game, Smith has four double-figure rebound games this season, including a pair of double-doubles.
Lawal, a 6-8 rookie from Riverdale, Ga., has averaged 6.6 points and 3.0 rebounds this year while hitting a team-high 62.8 percent of his shots from the floor.
Backcourt reserves — Moe Miller, a 6-1 native of Memphis, Tenn., had his best game of the season Dec. 22 vs. Centenary (13 pts., 3 assists), and averages 5.5 points and 2.7 assists for the season. Bell, a 6-5 native of Los Angeles, averages 5.5 points for the season with 22 assists and has hit 56.3 percent of his shots from the floor. Six-foot-4 freshman Lance Storrs of Decatur, Ga., averaging 2.3 points per game, also had his best game of the season against Centenary (8 pts.).
Frontcourt reserves — Hewitt can go to 6-10 junior Alade Aminu of Stone Mountain, Ga., 6-8 sophomore Zack Peacock of Miami, Fla., and 6-11 red-shirt freshman Brad Sheehan of Latham, N.Y. Aminu is Tech’s sixth-leading scorer (8.6 ppg) and third-leading rebounder (4.7 rpg), and Peacock scored 17 points (12-of-18 from the field combined) against both Vanderbilt and Georgia State. Sheehan has seen limited action, but played 21 minutes in a reserve role at Vanderbilt.
Last Time Out — Georgia Tech 86, Centenary 41
Responding in fine fashion to a close loss against No. 3 Kansas, Georgia Tech broke 80 points for just the third time all season and posted its largest margin of victory since last Jan. 3 with an 86-41 victory over Centenary on Dec. 22.
The 45-point margin was Tech’s third-highest, and the 41-point yield was the fourth-lowest under head coach Paul Hewitt. Thirteen players played, and 12 scored, for the Yellow Jackets, who outscored the Gentlemen, 45-18, in the second half.
Lewis Clinch and Moe Miller led the way with 13 points apiece, while Anthony Morrow added 11. Tech forced 23 turnovers while committing a season-low 13 and posting a season-best 42-28 margin on the boards. Tech made 11-of-27 shots from three-point range, both season high figures.
Win or Lose, Last Five Minutes Kind to Tech
Georgia Tech, statistically at least, has had the upper hand over its opponents in the final five minutes of the first 10 games, outscoring them 14.4 to 10 points a game over the period. Tech also has shot 50.7 percent from the floor to 40.5 percent for its opponents in the final five minutes, and has hit 40.5 percent of its threes to 27.3 percent for the opponents.
The same pattern exists in other categories, including rebounds (5.7 to 3.8), free throw percentage (71.9 to 65.8 percent) and assist-turnover ratio (22/14 for Tech, 10/26 for its opponents).
Interestingly, Tech’s advantage holds even in the five games lost (16.2 to 11.6 points per game, 44.1 to 41.7 percent on field goals, 29.6 to 25.0 percent on threes, 72.4 to 66.7 percent on free throws, 7.4 to 4.0 rebounds per game, 9/6 to 3/12 on assist-turnover ratio).
Quick Personnel Notes
> Since scoring just five points in the season opener, Alade Aminu put together four straight double-figure games (16.3 ppg) before Indiana. He has scored a total of 21 points, however, in his last five games.
> Walk-on players Ty Anderson and Gary Cage finally saw their first action of the season Dec. 22 against Centenary. Tech had not won or lost a game by more than 14 points in the first nine games of the season.
> D’Andre Bell went 7-for-9 from the floor in the Virgin Islands, and has shot 56.3 percent for the season.
> After hitting just 3-of-14 shots in his first three games, Matt Causey has gone 17-for-31 (10-for-19 on threes) in his last seven games.
> Lewis Clinch has hit double figures in nine straight games and has averaged 18.0 points in his last five games.
> Clinch’s 22 points against Kansas equalled his career high first set against Clemson his freshman year, matched at Miami last year and against Georgia State this year.
> Clinch surpassed the 500-point plateau for his career against Kansas, and now has 534.
> Tech’s win over Centenary left head coach Paul Hewitt (198-127 career record) two wins shy of 200 for his career, and left Tech six wins shy of 1,200 all-time.
> Hewitt stands 19th for career victories by an ACC coach with 132.
> Gani Lawal is shooting a team-high 62.8 percent from the floor, including 18-of-25 in his last five games.
> Lawal has seven blocked shots this season, six of them against Indiana and Centenary (3 each).
> Moe Miller had his best game of the season against Centenary, scoring a season-high 13 points with three assists, no turnovers and five steals in 19 minutes.
> Anthony Morrow made the 200th three-point field goal of his career against Centenary. 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.
> Morrow became the 37th Tech player to score 1,000 career points on Nov. 16 against Charlotte. He now stands 33rd all-time with 1,098 points and needs eight to move into 32nd place.
> Morrow has made at least one three-point basket in 19 straight games dating back to last season.
> Morrow has played the second-most minutes (288) for Tech this season, and committed the fewest turnovers (8).
> Morrow is hitting 92.0 percent of his free throws (23-of-25), which would lead the ACC if he had enough free throws made to qualify.
> Morrow played in his 100th career game Dec. 18 vs. Kansas.
> Jeremis Smith has four double-figure rebound 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 7.1 rebounds per game, and ranks 11th 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 30 assists, second on the team behind Matt Causey, and the team’s best assist-turnover ratio (just 12 turnovers). Smith and Causey rank 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the ACC in assist-turnover ratio.
> Smith surpassed 500 rebounds for his career against Charlotte, and now has 552. He ranks fourth in that category among the ACC’s active players.
Tech Stock Tips
> Tech practiced twice a day between the Kansas and Centenary games, and head coach Paul Hewitt also gave the team a written exam on offensive sets.
> Only three times had Tech allowed fewer points in a game under Paul Hewitt than the 41 it surrendered to Centenary on Dec. 22. Only twice had Tech beaten a team by more than the 45-point margin under Hewitt.
> Tech had made just 32.8 percent of its three-point tries in the last four games before hitting 11-of-27 against Centenary. Tech has made 42.7 percent of its threes in the first five games.
> Tech has shot 51.2 percent from the floor, 41.8 percent from three-point range, in its five wins, while holding its foes to 39.6 percent from the floor overall and 34.5 percent from bonus range. It’s just the opposite in the five losses, 43.9 percent from the floor overall (35.9 percent from three) to 51.0 percent for the opponents (40.2 percent from three).
> Scoring averages are mirror opposites in the wins and losses as well (81.8 to 67.8 in the victories, 74.2 to 81.6 in the defeats).
> Tech’s bench players have logged 36.4 percent of available minutes, compared to 29.0 percent for its opponents. Tech’s reserves have shot 45.1 percent from the floor and averaged 23.2 points a game.
> Tech’s opponents have made nearly as many free throws (182) as Tech has attempted (209) this season. The Yellow Jackets have been on the short end of the free throw parade in seven games (Tennessee State, Georgia State, Centenary).