Nov. 14, 2004
ATLANTA – B.J. Elder scored 25 points to lead five players in double figures for third-ranked Georgia Tech Sunday in a 103-66 exhibition basketball victory over LeMoyne Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
It was the final preseason opportunity for the Yellow Jackets, who open the regular season Friday, hosting Alabama State at 5:30 p.m. The men’s game will be followed by the Tech women’s home opener against Georgia State at 8 p.m.
“We’re looking forward to getting started Friday,” said head coach Paul Hewitt. “I think we definitely are (ready). One of the things I have tried to do this preseason is not run their legs off, keep them fresher. We’re trying not to keep them out on the court for a long period of time, stay away from the long practices. We want high intensity, not drudgery.”
The leading scorer for Tech’s 2004 Final Four team, Elder hit five of Tech’s eight three-point field goals (9-of-15 overall) and also had four rebounds, three assists and a steal.
“I think what you’re seeing is a big-time scorer entering his senior year,” said Hewitt of Elder, who spent much of the summer rehabilitating a severe ankle sprain he suffered in the St. Louis Regional semifinals. “Those guys tend to step it up another level. He understands better how to create shots for himself. He’s at a point in his career where he can stamp himself as a consistent, big-time scorer at this level.
“The only thing that can stop him, really, is he has to watch his weight. If he gets heavy, then he starts to get a little show and put stress on his ankles. He’s done a great job of getting his weight down. If he stays healthy, then he could have one of the best years in our league.”
Luke Schenscher added 19 points, followed by Isma’il Muhammad with 17, and Anthony McHenry and Jarrett Jack with 11 each. Schenscher, Tech’s 7-1 center, was a perfect 8-for-8 from the field, helping the Jackets shoot 60.9 percent (42-69). The senior from Hope Forest, South Australia was 14-for-15 from the floor combined in Tech’s exhibition wins.
Defensively, Tech continued its energetic pace, forcing 17 first-half turnovers and 27 for the game. Sophomore guard Mario West came off the bench to grab a team-high six rebounds and seven of Tech’s 15 steals.
The Jackets also were efficient with the ball, getting 29 assists in 42 field goals against just 14 turnovers. Jack had six assists and no turnovers, McHenry seven assists and just one turnover, Muhammad five assists and two turnovers, Bynum four assists and one miscue, and Elder three and zero.
Tech’s poor free throw shooting continued, however, as the Jackets made just 11 of 21 tries from the line after going 9-for-28 against Kennesaw State.
“I keep telling these guys that they’re nice kids, but they have to keep that nice guy off the court, and come out with the mentality to dominate,” said Hewitt. “Leave the nice kid in the locker room. We can’t allow someone to be more aggressive than us.”
Freshman guard Trent Morgan led the LeMoyne, an NCAA Division II program that was 17-11 last year, with 19 points, while Sid Pond added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Corey Smith added 11 for the Dolphins, who open their 2004-05 slate Saturday against Queens College.
The Dolphins shot 42.3 percent from the floor in the game, and were 9-of-24 from behind the three-point stripe.