ATLANTA – Hoping to add to its postseason resume, Georgia Tech opens the 48th annual Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament by facing 12th-ranked Virginia on Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Tech, 16-11 overall, earned the tournament’s fifth seed with an 8-8 mark in ACC games, its best conference mark since winning the regular season title with a 13-3 record in 1995-96. The Yellow Jackets have been off since falling at Florida State, 69-59, on Feb. 28. Virginia is the tournament’s fourth seed by virtue of a 9-7 ACC record along with a 20-7 overall mark. The Yellow Jackets captured both regular season meetings, winning 73-68 at Charlottesville on Jan. 9-the only home loss of the season for the Cavaliers-and then 62-56 in Atlanta on Feb. 11.
Junior guard Tony Akins, 5-11, is on a hot streak for Tech offensively, averaging 18.9 points in his last eight games while shooting 50 percent from three-point range. Tech continues to get strong inside play from 6-11 senior center Alvin Jones, who averaged 13.1 points and 10.6 rebounds and posted seven double-doubles in ACC play.
Akins leads the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game along with 4.1 assists. Senior guard Shaun Fein, 6-3, averages 13.7 for the season. Jones averages 13.6 points per game and leads the ACC in rebounding with an average of 10.1 per game. Freshman forward Marvin Lewis, 6-3, (9.3 points per game) and 6-7 senior forward Jon Babul (6.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game) complete the starting lineup.
Quoting Head Coach Paul Hewitt
[On Alvin Jones] “I couldn’t be more pleased with him. I remember telling my staff early in the year that if we were going to be as good as we could be, Alvin Jones would have to have a first-team all-ACC type of season. He’s responded in a big way. He’s taken the added responsibility of being a threat in our half-court offense.
“I expect [Hewitt’s first ACC Tournament] to be very exciting, very intense. I’m really looking forward to it. I like the format of the tournament with four games on Friday. It’s great for fans. We feel like we need to win Friday to solidify our case for the NCAA Tournament. If we can get that win, it’s another quality win for us and our 17th win overall.
“We’re confident going into every game. In the case of Virginia, both of the games we played could’ve gone either way. Shaun Fein made a miraculous shot at Charlottesville to put us up for with about a minute to go. The game here was a hard-fought, very ugly ball game. Neither team shot the ball well. We just got a couple of loose balls here and there to help us win. The other thing is that Donald Hand will not have another 0-for-9 shooting day against us like he did here. He’s too good a player.
“We’ll have to play our best game to win Friday. It will be a fast-paced game, very intense. It’ll be hard-fought, with a lot of scrapping. But I imagine the offense will be at a higher level.”
Tech in the ACC Tournament
Georgia Tech enters its 22nd ACC Tournament with a record of 15-18, including a 9-9 mark since 1990. Even though Tech has played in fewer than half of the ACC Tournaments, the Jackets have won more titles-three-than Clemson (0), Florida State (0), Virginia (1) and Maryland (2). In addition to winning the ACC Tournament in 1985, 1990 and 1993, the Yellow Jackets had runner-up finishes in 1986 and 1996, both times losing by a single point.
Tech has been the fifth seed four times (1987, 1989, 1991, 1995), but has never won a first-round game from that position.
Atlanta was the site of Tech’s first ACC Tournament title as the Jackets claimed the trophy at the Omni in 1985, behind Mark Price and John Salley. Tech has a 4-2 record in ACC Tournament games in Atlanta, all at the Omni.
Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Series Notes
- Georgia Tech captured both meetings with Virginia this season. The Yellow Jackets were the only team to defeat Virginia on its home floor, defeating the then 10th-ranked Cavaliers 73-68 on Jan. 9 behind 25 points from Shaun Fein. Tech completed the sweep with a 62-56 win in Atlanta on Feb. 9 as Tony Akins scored 19 points.
- Freshman Halston Lane came up big in both games against Virginia, averaging 12.5 points and shooting 67 percent (10-15) in the two wins. He scored 10 points in 16 minutes at Charlottesville, including a three-pointer with 3:10 to play that gave Tech a 66-65 lead they would not relinquish. In Atlanta, he scored nine of his 15 points in the second half, including seven straight points in the final four minutes. He hit a jumper with 2:34 left that put Tech ahead for good at 55-54, and then a three-pointer that gave the Jackets a four-point lead with 1:16 left
- Georgia Tech has won three in a row over Virginia, 10 of the last 12 and 19 of the last 25 meetings to lead the overall series, 29-25. Virginia’s last win was an 83-65 decision in Charlottesville on Jan. 8, 2000.
- Tech coach Paul Hewitt is 2-0 against Virginia. UVa coach Pete Gillen is 1-5 against Tech.
Tech vs. Virginia in the ACC Tournament
Georgia Tech has played Virginia in the ACC Tournament seven times, more than any other team. The Yellow Jackets are 3-4 against Virginia in ACC Tournament play. The teams last met in the 1995 Tournament, when the fourth-seeded Cavaliers won 77-67. Tech’s last ACC Tournament win over Virginia was a 68-56 victory in the 1992 quarterfinals. Tech also defeated Virginia in two of its three ACC Tournament title runs, knocking off the Cavaliers in the 1985 quarterfinals, 55-48, and the 1990 championship game, 70-61.
Tech in the Georgia Dome
Georgia Tech has a record of 6-3 in the Georgia Dome. Tech’s only appearance at the facility this year was an exhibition game against the California All-Stars. The Yellow Jackets’ last regular season game at the Georgia Dome was an 80-39 loss to Kentucky on Dec. 19, 1998, while their last victory there was a 94-86 win over Louisville in 1997-98.
Georgia Tech is the host institution for the NCAA South Regional, March 23-25 at the Georgia Dome, as well as the 2002 and 2007 NCAA Final Fours.
Jones Named All-ACC, All-Defensive
Center Alvin Jones was named to the five-member all-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team, as selected by the Atlantic Coast Sportswriters Association.
Jones is the eighth different Yellow Jacket to earn first-team all-ACC honors but the first center. The only other Tech center to receive an all-ACC recognition was John Salley, who was named to the second-team in 1986.
Jones was also named to the ACC All-Defensive Team for the fourth straight year.
Tony Akins and Shaun Fein were both named honorable mention all-ACC.
A Look at Tech’s Record
- Tech has four wins over ranked teams in conference play – Virginia twice, Maryland and Wake Forest. Three of those wins came when the teams were ranked in the Top 10 (both vs. Virginia, first meeting vs. Wake Forest).
- Tech is 3-1 head-to-head against Virginia and Maryland, the two teams directly ahead of the Jackets in the ACC standings.
- Tech is 6-2 at home in conference play, 2-6 on the road (wins vs. Virginia and Clemson). Tech is the only team to win at Virginia, which is 13-1 at home.
- Tech’s 2-8 overall on the road this season includes losses at Iowa, Stanford, Maryland, NC State, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke and Florida State. All but NC State and Florida State are or have been in the top 25.
- Including neutral courts, Tech is 5-8 away from home.
- Tech has exceeded its total win and conference win totals from last season, and has its most conference wins since 1996.
- Tech is guaranteed a winning season for the first time since 1998 (19-14, third round of the NIT).
- Five of Tech’s losses this season have come against teams who have held the No. 1 ranking at some point during this season – Stanford, North Carolina (twice) and Duke (twice).
- Tech has played 14 games against teams currently in the CollegeRPI.com Top 30, including non-conference games against Stanford (away), Kentucky (neutral), UCLA (neutral) and Georgia, posting a 6-8 mark.
- Tech has played 13 games against the Sagarin Index’s Top 30-more than any other Division I team-and is 6-7 in those games, including three wins on opposing or neutral courts. The Jackets have two victories in eight games against Sagarin Top 10 teams.
Hewitt Can Tie Mundorf With Win
A win for Georgia Tech would give Paul Hewitt 17 wins in his first season on the Flats, tying him with Roy Mundorf for the most wins ever by a first-year coach at Tech. Mundorf led the Yellow Jackets to a 17-10 mark in 1926-27.
He already is guaranteed of being the fourth Tech coach to enjoy a winning season in his first year, joining Mundorf, Dwight Keith (14-4 in 1943-44) and Roy McArthur (12-11 in 1946-47).
Road Jinx Ends
After losing 16 straight road games over three seasons, Georgia Tech is 2-6 in ACC play this season, including its first win at Clemson in eight years on Jan. 24 (111-108). Tech also is the only team that has won this year at Virginia, which has a 13-1 mark at University Hall.
With a 73-68 win at No. 10 Virginia on Jan. 9, Georgia Tech ended a 16-game losing streak in games on opponents’ home courts that dated back to Feb. 11, 1999, when the Jackets defeated Florida State, 111-108, in double-OT in Tallahassee. The string included 11 ACC games.
The Yellow Jackets are now 2-8 overall on the road this season with losses coming at Iowa, Stanford, Maryland, NC State, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke and Florida State. All but Iowa, NC State and Florida State are currently in the top 25.
Including neutral courts, Tech is 5-8 away from home.
Following its two wins over No. 10 Virginia and No. 6 Wake Forest in January, Georgia Tech zoomed as high as No. 20 in the Sagarin NCAA Basketball Rankings. Tech is currently No. 36, and its strength of schedule is rated 9th in the Sagarin rankings.
Tech has played 13 games against the Sagarin Index’s Top 30-more than any other Division I team-and is 6-7 in those games, including three wins on opposing or neutral courts. The Jackets have two victories in eight games against Sagarin Top 10 teams.
College RPI.com, which is supposed to mirror the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index but is produced independently without NCAA input, has Tech ranked 42nd and its strength of schedule 21st. The Jackets have played 14 games against teams currently in the CollegeRPI.com Top 30, including non-conference games against Stanford, Kentucky and UCLA, posting a 6-8 mark.
Hewitt Among Naismith Nominees
Tech head coach Paul Hewitt has been added to the list of finalists nominated for the Naismith College Coach of the Year Award, the Atlanta Tip-Off club.
Hewitt has guided a Yellow Jacket team picked to finish eighth in the Atlantic Coast Conference to a 16-11 overall record and a 8-8 conference record, good for fifth place.
Hewitt joins North Carolina’s Matt Doherty and Virginia’s Pete Gillen as ACC coaches on the list of 20 nominees.
Having depended on its capable three-point shooters this season, Georgia Tech is second in the ACC and 21st nationally in three-point percentage (38.5 overall, 37.1 in ACC games). The Jackets rank 2nd in the ACC and among the Top 10 nationally in three-point field goals per game (8.85).
Two Tech players rank officially among the ACC’s top 10 in three-point field goal percentage, led by Tony Akins (4th, 42.2), and followed by Shaun Fein (5th, 41.5). Freshmen Marvin Lewis (38.8 percent from three) and Halston Lane (39.5) have shot well but do not have enough attempts to make the league rankings.
Shooting and Defense
Georgia Tech is 5-1 this season when it has topped the 50-percent mark from the field, is 6-0 when scoring 90 points or more and 9-1 when scoring 80 or more.
At the same time, the key to Tech’s ability to win this year has been defense. So far this year, Tech is 13-1 when holding opponents under 70 points, and 9-0 when holding them under 40 percent on field goals. The Jackets held NC State to 31.7 percent on Feb. 17, and Virginia to under 40 in both meetings, all three wins for Tech. Tech is 7-11 when its opponent has shot 40 percent or higher.
Tech ranks third in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (40.9) and second in three-point defense (32.5).
Shaun Fein made his final home game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum one to remember with 22 points against Clemson. After missing his first six shots, he went 7-for-10 after that, including three treys, and went 5-for-5 at the free throw line for his highest scoring game since Tech’s first meeting with Clemson (23 points).
He punctuated the performance with his first career dunk on a breakaway with 1:54 left.
The senior guard has posted 20-point games against three ACC opponents, vs. Virginia (25) and both Clemson games. All were Tech wins. He has reached double figures in 19 of 27 games this season, and Tech is 13-6 in those games, 6-4 in the ACC.
Fein ranks 13th in the ACC in scoring at 13.7 points per game. He also ranks 5th in three-point percentage (41.5) and 4th in three-pointers per game (2.52).
He also ranks 5th in three-point land in ACC games at 40.9 percent. That includes a 7-of-9 performance at Clemson, which tied a career high for threes in an ACC game.
One of Tech’s best ballhandlers, Fein has just 36 turnovers in 27 games and has played without committing a turnover seven times this season. He has one turnover for every 20.4 minutes played overall.
Fein made the all-tournament team in the Stanford Invitational by averaging 18.5 points, making 14 of 18 field goal attempts and 7 of 9 from three-point range. He scored 24 in the championship game against Stanford, making 6 of 8 from three-point range and 9 of 13 overall.
Akins Ain’t Achin’
Tony Akins enjoyed a hot February for Georgia Tech, averaging 18.9 points in eight games. He led Tech in scoring for seven of those.
The 5-11 junior point guard shot 52.0 percent from the floor (51-98), 50.0 percent from three-point range (24-48) and 80.6 percent from the free throw line (25-31).
Akins has scored in double figures in nine straight games since going scoreless against Clemson on Jan. 24, the first scoreless game of his career. He owns Tech’s top scoring average against ACC teams at 15.4, which is 6th in the league.
For the season, Akins averages 14.3 points and 4.1 assists, and is shooting 44.5 percent from the floor and 42.2 from three-point range. All except his assist average are career bests. He ranks 4th in the ACC in three-point percentage, and 4th in three-point field goals per game (2.52).
The Lilburn, Ga., native enjoyed perhaps his best game of the season in Tech’s second meeting with Maryland, matching his season high with 28 points (8-of-11 FG, 3-of-3 3FG, 9-of-12 FT) with four assists and four rebounds. Against Virginia, he snuffed out the Cavaliers’ Donald Hand, who went 0-for-9 from the floor, scored just 2 points and had 6 turnovers.
Babul is the Rock
Jon Babul has been called “the glue” and “the rock” of Georgia Tech’s team by Wake Forest coach Dave Odom.
The 6-7 senior has stepped forward in conference play this season, averaging 6.8 points and 3.9 rebounds and getting almost 40 percent of his points at the free throw line (40-of-53, 75.5 percent). He has committed just 27 turnovers, a team low which translates into one every 20.3 minutes.
In his last 10 games, Babul has averaged 7.2 points and 4.4 rebounds, hitting 23 of 45 field goals (51.1 percent) and dishing out 13 assists. Left open on many occasions against Virginia, Babul scored nine points, including a critical second-half three-pointer. He hit two more treys against Duke, and has five for the season.
Undersized for a power forward, Babul turned in the best game of his career against an ACC team at Clemson, scoring 14 points in Georgia Tech’s 111-108 victory. Babul went 5-of-7 from the floor, including a three-pointer, and 3-for-3 from the free throw line. He also matched a season high with six rebounds and dished three assists before fouling out.
Jones Gets 1,000 on the Boards
Alvin Jones has become only the second player in Georgia Tech history to accumulate 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his career. His 14 rebounds against NC State (Feb. 17) put him over the milestone and alongside Malcolm Mackey (1990-93) as the only two Tech players to accomplish the feat.
Jones, who stands second in career rebounds at Tech with 1,035, is 20th in Tech history with 1,277 points. Mackey finished his career with 1,734 points and 1,205 rebounds.
Jones arrived at the rebound milestone quickly, reaching double digits in seven consecutive games and averaging 13.6 caroms in those games, including 18 boards North Carolina, a season high for any ACC player and one off his career best.
Jones Joins Select ACC Company
Alvin Jones is only the fourth player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to surpass 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 400 blocked shots in a career. The first three were Clemson’s Tree Rollins, Virginia’s Ralph Sampson and Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan.
The 6-11 senior has risen to 20th all-time among ACC players in rebounds at 1,035, and needs 17 to pass Duke’s Mike Lewis for 19th place.
Alvin Jones is enjoying his finest season as a Yellow Jacket, capped by his selection to the all-ACC first team.
The 6-11 senior leads the ACC in rebounding at 10.1 per game (10.7 in ACC games). He had reached double digits in rebounds in seven straight games before getting nine in the final two games, and he is averaging 12.6 over the last nine games. That includes an 18-board effort at North Carolina, the most by any ACC player this year.
Jones has led the Jackets in scoring seven times this season, and is third on Tech’s squad and 14th in the ACC with a 13.6 points per game average (13.1 in ACC games).
He is one of only three ACC players (Joseph Forte of North Carolina and Delvon Arrington of Florida State are the others) to have led their teams in scoring, rebounding and assists in a single game this season. Jones turned the trick at Clemson with 26 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
Akins Third Tech Player With 1,000 Points
Tony Akins went over the 1,000-point plateau for his career at Wake Forest on Feb. 14, the 32nd Tech player to do so all-time. He now has 1,081 in two-plus seasons (29th in Tech history), joining Alvin Jones in passing the milestone this year.
Alvin Jones went over the 1,000-point barrier for his career on Dec. 6 against Georgia, becoming the 31st Tech player to do so. The 6-11 senior center has 1,277 career points (20th in Tech history).
Three players on Tech’s current team have 1,000 career points. Shaun Fein, including two years at Stonehill College, has 1,659.
Lane Comes Up Big in Wins
Freshman Halston Lane continues to come up big in big games for Georgia Tech. In Tech’s last three ACC wins, the 6-4 rookie has come off the bench to score 15 points against No. 6 Virginia, 13 against NC State and 8 against Clemson.
The Oak Ridge, Tenn., native has averaged 11.1 points and shot 58.0 percent (29-of-50) in Tech’s eight ACC wins this season.
On Feb. 17 against NC State, Lane scored five of his 13 points in a key second-half stretch in which the Yellow Jackets came from a 35-32 deficit to lead 42-35. Lane’s layup and free throw tied the game at 35-35, and he added a pair of foul shots to put the Jackets ahead, 37-35, and assisted on a subsequent basket by Alvin Jones for a 39-35 lead. He hit 4-of-6 field goals and 4-of-6 free throws in the game.
Lane hit 6-of-10 field goals to help Georgia Tech to a 62-56 win over the No. 6 Cavaliers. He scored 7 of his points in the final five minutes of the game while the Jackets were holding the Cavaliers to just four points during that stretch.
All of Lane’s biggest games this season have come in key wins against important opponents, starting with 9 against UCLA on Dec. 2. He scored 23 vs. Kentucky, 10 in the first meeting at Virginia, 21 in a win over Wake Forest, 17 at Clemson and 15 in the second meeting with Virginia. Only two of his eight double figure scoring efforts have come in Tech losses (11 vs. North Carolina on Jan. 2 and 12 vs. Duke on Feb. 21).
A Case for the Defense
Georgia Tech has held 30 of its last 33 opponents under 50 percent. Only Clemson (51.7 percent on Jan. 24), Wake Forest (50 percent on Feb. 14) and Florida State (51.0 percent on Feb. 28) have managed to hit the mark against the Jackets in that stretch.
Dating back to last season’s regular season finale against Clemson, Georgia Tech has held 11 opponents under 40 percent shooting from the floor, including both meetings with Virginia this season (35.1 and 38.6) and NC State (31.7 percent) on Feb. 17.
Tech has twice held opponents under 30 percent this season: UCLA managed just 28.6 percent in Tech’s 72-67 win, and Wofford with 25.5 percent in the season opener, and came close to that with Idaho State (30.6) and Harvard (30.1).
Tech has defended the perimeter well. Eleven opponents have managed no better than 30 percent from three-point range, including Stanford (6-of-20), North Carolina (4-of-14), Maryland (3-of-13), Virginia (6-of-25 and 3-of-18), Wake Forest (4-of-19), NC State (4-of-18) and Clemson (5-of-19).
For the season, Tech has allowed opponents just 40.9 percent from the floor, 3rd in the ACC, and 32.5 percent from three-point range, 2nd in the ACC.
All is Fein in the End
Four times this season, all in big games, Shaun Fein scored arguably the biggest basket of the game, most recently against 13th-ranked Maryland.
Fein nailed a three-point field goal at the 2:39 mark that gave the Yellow Jackets a 64-60 lead over the Terrapins in a game Tech would win 72-62. The shot followed two key plays on the defensive end for Fein, who blocked a baseline jumper by Juan Dixon and stripped the ball from Terence Morris.
Earlier, on Jan. 13, he came up with a running one-hander and foul shot with 43 seconds left against No. 6 Wake Forest. His three-point play put Tech ahead 80-78 in a game the Jackets won 95-89 in overtime.
His three-point basket as the shot clock hit zero at No. 10 Virginia gave the Jackets a 71-65 lead with 48 seconds left in the 73-68 win. On Dec. 9, he sank the game-winning field goal from the left baseline with 1.3 seconds left as Tech downed Kentucky, 86-84.
Toeing the Line
Georgia Tech averaged 27.4 free throw attempts in its first 10 conference games this season, but has been to the line an average of 16.7 times in its last five games, making 71 of 100 for 71.0 percent.
Tech is shooting 69.7 percent for the season. The last Tech team to shoot 70 percent for a season was the 1995-96 edition that finished the ACC regular season in first place and reached the NCAA round of 16. One of the hallmarks of Paul Hewitt’s teams at Siena was excellent free throw shooting. The Saints shot 77.8 percent from the charity stripe in his three seasons, and led the nation twice.
Alvin Jones (61.0 percent overall, 61.4 percent in ACC games), Jon Babul (80.5, 75.5), Tony Akins (76.1, 77.0) and Shaun Fein (71.2, 75.9) are all at career-high levels from the free throw line. Freshman Marvin Lewis has outshot all of them at 87.8 percent overall and 88.9 percent in conference games.
Jones Causes High Attrition Rate
Eight post men have fouled out guarding Alvin Jones this season, Lonny Baxter of Maryland becoming the 8th on Feb. 6. The list includes Jared Reiner of Iowa, Marvin Stone of Kentucky, Michael Canady of Morgan State, Travis Watson of Virginia, Ray Henderson of Clemson, and Mike Mathews and David Anderson of Florida State.
Another group of seven players, including Anthony Evans of Georgia, Doug Silva of Idaho State, Onnie Mayshak of Harvard, Brendan Haywood of North Carolina, Baxter (on Jan. 6), Shoemaker and Carlos Boozer of Duke, have finished the game with four fouls each.
In two games vs. Tech, Baxter scored a total of 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting from the floor and 2-of-4 from the line. Jones held Haywood scoreless (0-for-6 FG) in Tech’s first meeting with North Carolina and to 7 points (2-of-5 FG) in the second meeting.
Bench a Necessary Component for Tech
Playing with a 10-man rotation this year, Georgia Tech has come to rely more on its bench for scoring. Tech is getting 19.8 points per game from its reserves this season, roughly 25 percent of its total scoring output.
The Yellow Jackets got 35 and 38 from the bench in their two games with Clemson, the team’s best efforts of the season behind a 39-point night in Tech’s 86-84 win over Kentucky in December.
When the Jackets win, the bench average is 24.5. In losses, the bench has averaged 14.4. Tech is 10-3 this season when its bench outscores the opposition’s reserves, 6-8 when it does not.
Different Guy Every Night
Tech has had six different players lead the team in scoring this season, another design of the Yellow Jackets’ style of play.
Tony Akins has topped Tech in 11 games, including seven of the last eight games. Alvin Jones has led Tech seven times, including four straight games against NC State, Duke, Clemson and Florida State.
Shaun Fein has led Tech on six occasions, including his 22-point effort against Clemson on Senior Day, which was the first time since Jan. 9 at Virginia. Jon Babul is the only starter who has not led Tech in scoring in a game this season.
Three times this season, Tech has been led in scoring by a reserve, and the Jackets won each time. Halston Lane came off the bench to score 21 points in Tech’s first meeting against Wake Forest and had 23 against Kentucky. Darryl LaBarrie led the Jackets with 13 points against Idaho State.
With the Assist
All of Tech’s players have participated in the Yellow Jackets’ high scoring efforts not just by scoring, but by distributing the ball.
Tech’s average of 16.33 assists per game ranks 4th in the ACC, but its percentage of assists to field goals (62.6) is second in the ACC. Tech’s season high is 31 on 34 field goals vs. Morgan State. In ACC games, Tech has assisted on 58.8 percent of its field goals, including a season high 24 on 34 field goals at Clemson.
Only three Tech teams have ever assisted on as many as 65 percent of the team’s field goals for an entire season.
You Can’t Stop Him …
… You can only hope to contain him. Darryl LaBarrie continues to give Georgia Tech offense off the bench, averaging 4.8 points on 47.7 percent shooting this season.
Though he ranks 7th on the team in scoring average, he ranks 5th in points per 40 minutes (14.4).
The 6-3 senior started the season averaging 6.0 points in the first three games, then went scoreless in three straight games and didn’t get off the bench against Kentucky.
Since then, LaBarrie has given the Jackets a 13-point effort against Idaho State, 14 against Morgan State, a career-high 15 against No. 17 Maryland and 7 points at No. 10 Virginia. He canned 7-of-8 field goals against the Terps and played 23 minutes, the second highest of his career, then hit 3-of-5 against Virginia. He scored 7 points, including a key basket at the 1:05 mark and three free throws at Clemson, and added 4 and 6, respectively, in Tech’s wins over Maryland and Virginia.
Vines Solid off the Bench
T.J. Vines matched a career high against an ACC team with 12 points against Clemson on Feb. 25, hitting 5 of 8 shots (2-of-4 from three). Vines has averaged 5.6 points and shot 11-for-24 from the floor in his last five games after going 0-for-11 in the four games prior to that.
Against NC State, he hit 2-of-4 from the floor, both field goals coming on layups in the final minute of the first half to give Tech a 31-29 lead at halftime over NC State. Vines also scored 8 at Wake Forest, 9 at Clemson and has a 10-point game against Duke to his credit.
But the 5-10 senior isn’t counted on for scoring normally, but he provides lots of intangibles to help Georgia Tech. In fact, Vines has been scoreless in eight games this season, but had 22 assists and nine steals in those games.
The Woodstock, Ga., native has averaged 4.0 points and 1.9 assists this season. He is also the most tenacious defender Tech has on the perimeter, and leads the team with 37 steals.
Lewis Shows Poise Beyond Years
Freshman Marvin Lewis has grabbed a starting role and made the most of it, averaging 9.3 points and 4.7 rebounds while making 38.8 percent of his three-point field goal attempts.
The 6-3 freshman, playing small forward for the Jackets, helped lift the Jackets over Clemson on Feb. 25 with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor. It was his highest scoring game since getting 15 in a Tech win over Wake Forest on Jan. 13.
Among his top games this year have been 13 and 11 in wins over Clemson and Florida State in January, and 12 against No. 13 Maryland on Feb. 6. He went scoreless against NC State for the first time this year, but did an excellent defensive job on Damien Wilkins, helping hold the Wolfpack’s second-leading scorer to just 2 points.
Named ACC Rookie of the Week four times, he is second among conference freshmen in scoring, and third in rebounding and assists. Lewis would 2nd in free throw percentage (87.8) among all players, but falls just below the ACC minimums to be listed. He has made 88.9 percent of his free throws (24 of 27) in ACC games.
He has reached double figures in 15 games overall this season, with a season high of 22 against Davidson (6-of-7 from three-point range). Despite a height disadvantage, Lewis has reached double figures in rebounds three, recording 10 each against Wofford, UCLA and Duke, and has led the Jackets in five games. His 4.7 rebounds per game is second on the team only to Alvin Jones.
Lewis came to Tech from Montrose Christian School in Germantown, Md., where he was coached by Stu Vetter, who was the high school coach of former Tech great Dennis Scott, Tech’s all-time three-point field goal leader.
Georgia Tech has gotten solid contributions from its freshmen this season, with Marvin Lewis grabbing a starting role and forwards Robert Brooks and Halston Lane making contributions off the bench.
The ACC’s Rookie of the Week honor has gone to a Tech freshman seven times this season. Lewis earned the recognition four times, most recently on Jan. 29, and Lane garnered the honor for the third time on Feb. 13. No one else has received the honor more than twice.
Brooks, a 6-9 native of Saginaw, Mich., has given the Jackets much-needed help on the front line, averaging 3.1 rebounds with 11 blocks and 15 steals while shooting 50.0 percent from the floor. Having gained 20 pounds to 215 since his arrival at Tech, Brooks is averaging almost 15 minutes off the bench.
Lane, a 6-4 native of Oak Ridge, Tenn., leads the Tech reserves in scoring (fifth overall) with 7.1 points per game, has shot 39.5 percent from three-point range and 74.5 percent from the free throw line. He was named ACC Rookie of the Week three times.
Ten Players in Rotation
Tech has started the same five players in every game but one this season: 5-11 junior Tony Akins and 6-3 senior Shaun Fein at the guards, 6-3 freshman Marvin Lewis and 6-7 senior Jon Babul at the forwards, and 6-11 senior Alvin Jones at center.
The one exception was Tech’s final home game against Clemson when head coach Paul Hewitt started all five Yellow Jacket seniors, replacing Akins and Lewis in the lineup with T.J. Vines and Darryl LaBarrie.
Hewitt has used a regular rotation of 10 players, with all of them averaging at least nine minutes a game, and actually used 11 while sophomore forward Clarence Moore was in the lineup.