Jan. 27, 2018
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech finishes a stretch of three ranked opponents in four games Sunday night with a nationally-televised game against No. 18/17 Clemson at 6 p.m. at sold-out McCamish Pavilion. The game is the first of two straight at home for the Yellow Jackets.
The Yellow Jackets (10-10, 3-4 ACC) look to their home court to help them stem a three-game losing streak that includes a 64-48 home loss to No. 2 Virginia and road defeats to No. 15 North Carolina (80-66) and Florida State (88-77). Tech started the ACC 3-1 for the first time since the 2003-04 season, including home victories against No. 15 Miami and No. 25 Notre Dame. The Jackets entered the weekend tied for seventh place in the ACC standings.
The Tigers (16-4, 5-3 ACC), ranked in the top 25 for seven straight weeks, come to Atlanta on the heels of a 61-36 road loss to Virginia Tuesday night. Clemson has lost three of five since opening conference play with victories over NC State, Boston College and Louisville and has lost its No. 2 scorer, Donte Grantham, for the season with a knee injury. The Tigers entered the weekend tied for fourth in the ACC standings.
Sunday’s game will be televised nationally on ESPNU and streamed live on the ESPN app. Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network and can be heard in Atlanta on flagship station 680 the Fan (680 AM/93.7 FM). The game can also be heard nationally on SiriusXM satellite radio (Sirius ch. 81, XM ch. 81, Internet ch. 81).
THE STARTING LINEUP
Head coach Josh Pastner‘s Georgia Tech teams are 5-6 against top-25 teams (5-2 at home), including a 2-3 mark this season (2-1 at home).
Tech is finishing a four-game stretch that includes three teams ranked in the top 25 — No. 2/2 Virginia, No. 15/14 North Carolina, Florida State (receiving votes) and No. 18/17 Clemson.
In the last two seasons (since Pastner arrived), no team has more wins at home over AP Top 15 teams as an unranked opponent than Georgia Tech (Tech and Colorado with four each, Syracuse with three).
Pastner needs two victories to reach 200 for his head coaching career. In nine-plus seasons, Pastner has a record of 198-99.
Georgia Tech has lost three straight games twice this season and also has won four straight games twice.
Five Atlantic Coast Conference teams are currently ranked in the Associated Press poll – Virginia (2/2), Duke (4/4), North Carolina (10/10), Clemson (18/17) and Miami (24 in coaches poll), while Florida State, Louisville and Notre Dame are receiving votes. The Jackets have already faced UCLA (No. 21 in preseason) and Northwestern (No. 20 in preseason), as well as Tennessee (now No. 22).
SERIES VS. CLEMSON
This is the oldest and longest-running series the Yellow Jackets have with an ACC member. The 130 all-time meetings are 34 more than Tech has played with any other ACC opponent. The series dates back to the 1912-13 season, when John Heisman coached the Tech basketball team.
Clemson is one of two permanent home-and-away opponents on Tech’s schedule each year (Notre Dame is the other).
Georgia Tech has won three of the last four meetings in the series, including a 75-63 victory in the teams’ first meeting last season on Jan. 12 in Atlanta. It was Tech’s longest winning streak in the series since a five-game streak from 2003 to 2005.
The Yellow Jackets trail 45-34 to the Tigers since joining the ACC.
Tech has an all-time record of 42-24 against the Tigers at home, including a 27-15 record at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and a 3-2 mark at McCamish Pavilion.
Tech is 1-1 under head coach Josh Pastner against Clemson, and 4-12 vs. Tiger teams coached by Brad Brownell.
Tech’s 111-108 win against the Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum on Jan. 24, 2001 is the highest-scoring regulation game Tech has had with any ACC opponent. The Jackets defeated Florida State by the same score in Tallahassee (in two OTs) on Feb. 11, 1999, and lost to Wake Forest in the 2007 ACC Tournament, 114-112 in double-overtime.
The Yellow Jackets have won three of four ACC Tournament meetings with the Tigers, including a 69-61 semi-final decision on the way to the 1993 conference title in Charlotte.
COACH PASTNER AUDIO FROM FRIDAY
Tech has had its full roster to practice only for the last six games and played a solid 7-man rotation for the first time in ACC play against Notre Dame Jan. 10. Injuries or other absences have forced Tech players to miss 38 games cumulatively this season, and the Jackets had not played a game with all 11 scholarship players healthy and available until the Yale game on Jan. 6.
Alvarado and Lammers have started every game this season. Lammers has started Tech’s last 57 consecutive games.
Georgia Tech’s playing rotation this season features four freshmen and a first-year graduate transfer who have combined to start 46 games and log 47 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ total minutes.
Tech allowed 80 points for the fourth time this season and for the second straight game (80 to North Carolina, 85 to Wright State, 80 to Georgia). Tech has held every opponent except Georgia, Wright State and Florida State under its scoring average this season. FSU’s 88 points and 32 made field goals were season highs against the Yellow Jackets.
Tech entered the Florida State game No. 1 in the ACC in lowest three-point percentage yield against ACC teams at 27.6 percent. The Jackets limited the Seminoles, who lead the ACC in three-point attempts, to just 13 attempts, making five.
Florida State’s 59.3-percent from the floor was the highest allowed by Tech this season and the highest by a Tech opponent since North Carolina converted 62.3 percent against the Yellow Jackets on Feb. 21, 2015.
Tech has committed 49 turnovers in its last three games (18 vs. Virginia, 15 at North Carolina, 16 at Florida State) after averaging just 10.8 turnovers per game in its first four ACC games. For the season, Tech has committed 13.1 turnovers per game this season, and 13.1 vs. ACC teams.
Tech outrebounded the larger Seminoles, the ACC’s leading rebounding team in conference games (42.6 per game), by 34-26, and matched its season high for offensive boards (16) first set in the second game of the season against Bethune-Cookman.
Tech went 24-of-30 from the free throw line, its most free throws made this season, and its fourth-most attempts. It was the most free throws made and attempted in a road game for Tech since hitting 29-of-34 at NC State on Jan. 27, 2016. Tech’s best free throw performance in a road game this season had been 14-of-19 at Pittsburgh.
Josh Okogie has scored in double figures in his last two games after having a 25-game streak of double-digit games snapped against Virginia (nine points). The sophomore guard has scored in double figures 43 times in 49 career games. He has scored 30 or more three times (two vs. ACC), 20 or more 13 times, six times in an ACC game.
Okogie has averaged 17.7 points per game in his 12 games back on the court, including 16.9 in ACC games so far (seventh-best in league rankings). He averaged 16.1 points as a freshman, 17.1 against the ACC. The 6-4 sophomore has hit 40.5 percent of his shots from three-point range and 80.7 percent from the free throw line.
In two career games against Florida State, Okogie has come down with 30 rebounds. The sophomore set a career best with 16 against the Seminoles Wednesday night, nine of them on the offensive end, after having grabbed 14 to go with 35 points in last year’s meeting. Okogie is averaging 7.1 rebounds per game in ACC play, 6.2 for the season.
Okogie has 18 assists in his last five games, a 3.6 average, and has matched his career high of five twice (second meeting vs. Notre Dame and at Florida State).
Ben Lammers has 15 double-digit scoring games this season after scoring 13 against Florida State, hitting 5-of-6 shots from the floor and 3-of-4 from the line. It was his best shooting effort, by percentage, this season.
Lammers blocked one shot against Florida State, improving his career total to 233 blocks, good for sole possession of fourth place in Tech history and needing 10 to catch John Salley (243 from 1982-86) for third place.
Abdoulaye Gueye has averaged 9.8 points (32-of-52 FG, 61.1 percent) and 6.1 rebounds in eight games since sitting out the Coppin State game with an ankle injury. Making his eighth straight start and 16th of the season against Florida State, he scored 14 points (4-6 FG), his fourth double-figure game over the eight-game stretch. He hit 6-of-7 free throw attempts, matching his best for free throws made and setting a career high for best percentage.
Gueye has scored 78 points in the eight games since sitting out Coppin State on Dec. 27. He had scored 70 points in 39 career games prior to Coppin State.
In eight fewer games, Okogie has pulled ahead of Jose Alvarado for the team lead in free throw attempts, 83 to 72. Okogie is averaging 6.9 free throw attempts per game, second highest in the ACC, above his average of 6.5 as a freshman, which ranked third in the ACC.
Jose Alvarado tied his career best with 23 points at FSU, also setting a career best for an ACC game, hitting 8-of-18 shots from the floor and matching his season high of four three-point field goals in nine attempts (he had four each vs. Grambling State, Yale and North Carolina) in 36 minutes.
Alvarado is hitting 40 percent of his threes in ACC games, 37 percent for the season. He is 8-of-16 in Tech’s last two games.
Alvarado ranks ninth in the ACC averaging 34.8 minutes per game, eighth in the ACC in average minutes per conference game (38.1). After missing nearly the entire second half of the Coppin State game with a head injury, Alvarado has played 305 minutes in Tech’s last eight games, sitting out just 15 minutes.
Tadric Jackson missed double figures for just the fourth time this season (0-for-4 from the floor, two points), his fewest points since scoring two last season at Tennessee (Dec. 3, 2016). The 6-2 senior has had 35 double-digit scoring games off the bench as a Yellow Jacket, 26 of those since the beginning of last season. He has reached double figures 22 times in his last 26 games and 36 times since the beginning of last season.
Jackson is hitting 55.0 percent of his shots (77-of-140) from inside the three-point arc this season, and a career-best 48.6 percent overall.
Lammers is averaging 36.0 minutes this season, sixth-most in the ACC (37.4 mpg vs. the ACC), while Okogie averages 34.5 (35.4 in ACC games), but he has not played enough games to qualify for the league rankings.
Lammers has creeped into Georgia Tech’s top 20 all-time leading rebounders, currently standing 17th with 685. He needs two to catch Michael Maddox (687 from 1994-98) for 16th place, and 19 to catch Lenny Horton (704 from 1977-80) for 15th place.
Jackson surpassed 900 career points with his performance against Coppin State and has 983 currently. At his current career-best average of 12.6 points per game, it will take him two more games to become the 44th Georgia Tech player to reach 1,000. Ben Lammers has 915 career points, and would need eight games at his current 11.8 per game rate to reach 1,000.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its second year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.