Dec. 15, 2013
THE FLATS – With a grueling week of finals behind it, Georgia Tech turns its attention back to basketball and tries to extend its current winning streak to three games when the Yellow Jackets host Kennesaw State at 7 p.m. Monday night at McCamish Pavilion.
Radio coverage of the game will be provided by the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network and can be heard in Atlanta on WYAY-FM (106.7), as well as nationally on satellite radio – Sirius channel 108 and XM channel 190. Fans can also watch online at ESPN3.
The Yellow Jackets (7-3) won twice the week prior to taking fall semester finals, a 67-64 victory over Illinois in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Dec. 3 in which they erased a 60-48 deficit over the last seven minutes, followed by an 87-57 rout of East Tennessee State on Dec. 7.
In its third season under head coach Brian Gregory, Tech returned four starters – center Daniel Miller, big forward Robert Carter, Jr., and wings Marcus Georges-Hunt and Chris Bolden – from a team that posted a 16-15 overall record last season and went 6-12 to tie for ninth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Jackets are averaging 74.1 points per game and hitting 44.8 percent of their shots from the floor so far. Tech also has out-rebounded each opponent by an average of 7.5 per game, has a plus-1.2 assist/turnover ratio and has improved vastly at the free throw line (72.2 pct.) over last year.
Kennesaw State (3-7), in its third season under head coach Lewis Preston, has already matched its win total for each of its last two seasons. The Owls, who lost at Cincinnati on Nov. 29 and at Kent State on Dec. 1, are playing their third consecutive game on the road, where they are 1-3 this season.
Following Monday’s game, Tech completes its non-conference schedule with a pair of tough road games around the Christmas break – Dec. 21 at Vanderbilt (5-3) and Dec. 29 at Charlotte (7-2).
Fast Break Points
In its last two games with regulars on the floor, Georgia Tech has displayed some closing strength at the end of each half. The Yellow Jackets erased a nine-point deficit with a 19-7 streak to end the first half of their game against Illinois to lead, 36-33, then erased a 12-point deficit with a 19-4 run over the final seven minutes to win the game, 67-64. In the first half of its game against East Tennessee State, Tech put the game away with a 20-4 run to lead 44-23.
The rally from 12 points down against Illinois was the second-largest deficit Tech has overcome to win a game in Brian Gregory’s two-plus seasons. The Jackets came back from 13 points down in the second half to win at No. 6 Miami last March, and erased a 13-point first-half deficit to beat VCU in Gregory’s first season.
Tech is 6-1 at home this season, with the only loss coming to Dayton on Nov. 20. The Owls are 1-3 on the road this season with their only win at Chattanooga on Nov. 19.
What team besides Ole Miss (North Carolina A&T, Mississippi Valley State and Dayton) has the most common opponents with Georgia Tech on its non-conference schedule? IPFW (Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne) of the Summit League, which is 8-4 this season. The Mastodons lost to Dayton by 1, to Illinois by 2, and defeated Kennesaw State by 10.
Tech’s three losses have come to teams with a combined record of 19-6 and RPI rankings of 22, 44 and 77 (CBS). Illinois had an RPI rank of 18 at the time of the Dec. 3 game.
Freshman guard Travis Jorgenson underwent successful surgery Thursday morning to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and begins his road to recovery in rehab Sunday.
Series vs. Kennesaw State
Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State are meeting for the third time in men’s basketball, although the first meeting occurred in 2004, an exhibition game when the Owls were a Division II power coming off a national championship. Tech won that game, 80-60.
Tech won the first meeting with the Division I Owls by an 80-55 score on Dec. 22, 2009, at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Owls avenged that loss a year later when the Yellow Jackets visited the KSU Convocation Center and rolled to an 80-63 win.
Noting the Yellow Jackets
Three Georgia Tech players are averaging in double figures through the first nine games. Sophomore wing Marcus Georges-Hunt (13.0 ppg), who led Tech in scoring as a freshman, assumed the team lead over senior guard Trae Golden (12.4) after scoring 20 points against Illinois on Dec. 3. Each player has scored in double digits in eight games. Sophomore forward Robert Carter, Jr. (10.6 ppg) moved into double digits after getting a career-high 21 against Illinois.
Robert Carter, Jr., (9.3 rpg) and Daniel Miller (7.9) rank 2-3 in the ACC in rebound average. Each player has grabbed 10 or more boards in four games, and Carter has three double-doubles. The last Yellow Jacket to lead the ACC in rebounding was Alvin Jones (10.4) in 2000-01.
Tech has hit the 80-point mark three times already this season after reaching that figure only once last season and three times in all of 2011-12.
Tech has averaged 15.9 assists per game (3.2 per game better than last season), and has assisted on 60.9 percent of its field goals. The Yellow Jackets recorded 26 assists (on 33 field goals) against East Tennessee State, a high for the team under Brian Gregory.
Tech recorded season highs for three-point field goals made and attempted (10-for-23) against East Tennessee State, and has hit 36.4 percent of its three-point field goal tries over the last six games.
About Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its third year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships, played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004).