Jan. 17, 2018
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech starts a stretch of four games that includes three top-25 teams this week, beginning with a visit from No. 2 Virginia to McCamish Pavilion for a regionally-televised game that tips at 8 p.m. Thursday night at sold-out McCamish Pavilion.
The Yellow Jackets (10-7, 3-1 ACC), who have won four straight games and five of their last six, moved into a tie for third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference following a 69-54 win at Pittsburgh Saturday. Tech has won three consecutive ACC games for the first time since late in the 2015-16 season. In their second season under Josh Pastner, the 2017 ACC Coach of the Year, the Jackets have developed into one of the nation’s top defensive teams, ranked No. 13 nationally in scoring defense.
The Cavaliers (16-1, 5-0 ACC), ranked in the nation’s top 10 since late December, remained unbeaten in conference play Sunday evening with a 68-51 victory over NC State. Virginia’s only loss this season was a 68-61 decision on the road at West Virginia. In their ninth season under Tony Bennett, the Cavs lead the nation in scoring defense and are No. 2 in field goal percentage defense, not allowing more than 61 points in any of their conference games to date.
Thursday’s game will be televised regionally on the ACC Network (Peachtree TV in Atlanta) 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 Tech broadcast can also be heard nationally on SiriusXM satellite radio (Sirius ch. 84, XM ch. 84, Internet ch. 84).
THE STARTING LINEUP
• Josh Pastner’s Georgia Tech teams are 5-1 against top-25 teams at home (5-4 overall), including a 2-0 mark this season (2-1 overall).
• Virginia, ranked No. 2 in both polls this week, is the highest ranked team ever to visit McCamish Pavilion and the highest ranked team to play Georgia Tech on campus since top-ranked North Carolina on Jan. 16, 2008 (Tar Heels won 83-82). The Yellow Jackets’ last win over a team ranked that high was a 78-75 victory over No. 2 North Carolina in the 2005 ACC Tournament in Washington, D.C.
• Three of Tech’s next four opponents are ranked in the top 25 – No. 2/2 Virginia, No. 15/14 North Carolina, Florida State (receiving votes) and No. 20/18 Clemson. If Florida State were to return to the top 25 in next week’s rankings, the Yellow Jackets would play a stretch of four consecutive games against top-25 teams for the first time since the 2000-01 season (No. 13/14 North Carolina, No. 17/17/ Maryland, No. 10/9 Virginia, No. 6/6 Wake Forest). Tech went 2-2 against that gauntlet in its first season under head coach Paul Hewitt, on the way to an NCAA Tournament berth.
• 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).
• Georgia Tech is 9-2 at home against ACC teams under head coach Josh Pastner. Among current ACC head coaches, only North Carolina’s Roy Williams (10-1), Syracuse’s (9-2), Miami’s Jim Larranaga (9-2) and Clemson’s Brad Brownell (9-2) fashioned as good a mark through their first 11 games.
• Tech is off to its first 3-1 start in the ACC since the 2003-04 season. Tech has not gone to 4-1 to open since the 1995-96 team started 6-1.
• Tech’s current four-game winning streak matches its longest under Josh Pastner, and its three straight ACC wins are the most since a four-game run late in the 2015-16 season (four straight wins over Florida State, Notre Dame, Clemson, Boston College). The last time the Yellow Jackets won more than four straight games (ACC or otherwise) was a six-game streak in December of 2012.
• Head coach Josh Pastner needs two victories to reach 200 for his head coaching career. In nine-plus seasons, Pastner has a record of 198-96.
• Five Atlantic Coast Conference teams are currently ranked in the Associated Press poll – Virginia (2), Duke (5), North Carolina (15), Clemson (20) and Miami (25), 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, which is now No. 24.
• Against conference opposition, Virginia and Georgia Tech rank 1-2 in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense and three-point defense. According to KenPom.com, Tech ranks No. 1 in the ACC in adjusted defensive efficiency, while Virginia is No. 2.
SERIES VS. VIRGINIA
• Virginia has won 10 of the last 12 meetings, but Georgia Tech still leads the all-time series, 40-39.
• The Cavaliers have won the last two games in the series, including a 62-49 win in Charlottesville on Jan. 21 last season. Virginia captured a 72-52 win in the quarterfinals of the 2016 ACC Tournament.
• Tech is 2-1 against Virginia in McCamish Pavilion and was 21-8 against the Cavaliers in Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Overall, the Yellow Jackets are 24-12 on all home courts and 26-13 in games played in the city of Atlanta.
• Since Tech joined the ACC, the Yellow Jackets are 38-38 against Virginia.
• Tech was 11-8 against Virginia under Paul Hewitt, including wins in all three meetings in Hewitt’s first season of 2000-01. Josh Pastner is 0-2 vs. Virginia (one loss at Memphis), and Tony Bennett is 9-2 vs. Tech.
• Tech has averaged less than 54 points per game in 11 meetings against Bennett’s Virginia teams, and tallied just 77 total on its two visits to John Paul Jones Arena.
• Tech and Virginia have played to overtime seven times since the 1983-84 season, including a 72-71 triple-overtime win for Tech in Atlanta on Jan. 23, 1984, and an 88-85 double-overtime triumph for Virginia in Charlottesville on Jan. 22, 1995.
• Tech’s 69-54 win over Pittsburgh was its biggest road win in terms of margin of victory since an 80-54 victory at Wake Forest on March 3, 2011.
• Tech led wire-to-wire in a game for only the second time this season (Florida A&M on Dec. 17).
• Tech’s latest road win in the ACC came almost a year to the day since its last one, an 86-76 win last Jan. 15 at NC State.
• Tech has had its full roster to practice only for the last three 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 33 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 54 consecutive games.
• Georgia Tech’s playing rotation this season features four freshmen and a first-year graduate transfer who have combined to start 35 games and log 49 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ total minutes.
• Tech played its entire available roster (13 players) against Pittsburgh for the first time since its 79-54 win over Florida A&M on Dec. 17. Seven players scored for the second game in a row, and five Jackets scored in double figures for the first time since Tech’s 86-76 win at NC State last Jan. 15.
• Tech has averaged 67.0 points and allowed just 58.5 per game in its six games since the Christmas break (5-1 record). Opponents have shot 39.0 percent overall, 33.0 percent from three-point range. The Jackets have outscored the five opponents from the free throw line 14.0 to 9.2 per game, and outrebounded them 37.5-30.7. Tech also has averaged 5.7 blocks and 6.8 steals per game.
• ACC opponents have connected on just 37.8 percent from the floor, 29.6 percent from three-point range, and averaged 57.2 points per game against the Yellow Jackets. Tech ranks No. 2 in the ACC in all three categories behind Virginia.
• Tech held four straight opponents to 60 points or fewer (last three ACC opponents scored 54, 53 and 54 points). This is only the third Tech team in the shot-clock era to accomplish that. The Jackets are 7-0 this season when allowing 60 or less.
• The Jackets ranks 11th nationally according to Kenpom.com (now yielding 42.8 percent) in lowest two-point field goal percentage yield, and held Pittsburgh to 39.2 percent (11-for-28) from two-point range.
• Pitt’s 42 field goal attempts were easily the fewest attempted in a game against Georgia Tech this season. The previous low was 49 from Yale, and the Jackets’ previous three ACC foes attempted 60, 56 and 59 shots from the floor.
• During its four-game winning streak, Tech has outscored its opponents 106-96 in the paint, 68-40 off turnovers, 54-30 on second-chance points and 49-36 in transition. The Jackets are also plus-10 on turnovers and plus-35 on the boards.
• Tech has committed just 10.8 turnovers per game against the ACC and forced 13.3. The Yellow Jackets rank No. 2 in the ACC in turnover margin in conference games, and No. 3 in fewest turnovers committed per game. Tech has just 59 turnovers in its last six games.
• After netting no second-chance points at Notre Dame on Dec. 30, the Yellow Jackets snared 48 offensive rebounds and scored 54 points from them in their last four games.
• Tech enjoyed a healthy advantage on the boards for the fourth time in six games, outrebounding Pittsburgh, 39-20.
• Tech has rebounded from a poor game at the free throw line Dec. 30 against Notre Dame (7-of-18) to hit 57-of-76 (75.0 percent) in its last four games, improving its season conversion rate to 71.3 percent.
• Abdoulaye Gueye has averaged 9.0 points (20-of-34 FG) and 7.2 rebounds in five games since sitting out the Coppin State game with an ankle injury. Making his fifth straight start and 13th of the season at Pittsburgh, scored in double figures for the first time in an ACC game and for the second time in Tech’s last three games, finishing the game with a career-best 16 points with eight rebounds. The 6-9 junior hit his first seven shots from the floor and went 7-of-8, hit both his free throws and had a block and an assist in 29 minutes.
• Gueye has scored 45 points in the five games since sitting out Coppin State on Dec. 27. He had scored 70 points in 39 career games prior to Coppin State.
• Josh Okogie has scored 10 or more points in 25 consecutive games, dating back to last Jan. 28, when he scored just eight points against No. 15 Notre Dame but scored the game-winning layup at the final buzzer in a 62-60 victory. Only Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson has a longer streak (31 games). It is the longest streak of double digit games by a Tech player since Matt Harpring scored 10 or more in 39 consecutive games spanning the 1996-97 (last seven games) and 1997-98 (32 games) seasons.
• Okogie has averaged 18.8 points per game in his nine games back on the court, including 18.0 in ACC games so far. The 6-4 sophomore has hit 43.3 percent of his shots from three-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line. The sophomore guard has scored in double figures 41 times in 46 career games. He has scored 30 or more three times (two vs. ACC), 20 or more 13 times, six times in an ACC game.
• In six games against top-25 opponents Georgia Tech has hosted at McCamish Pavilion, Okogie has averaged 21.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He has shot 47.6 percent from the floor, 5-of-15 from three-point range and 78 percent (46-of-59) from the free throw line.
• In half the number of games, Okogie has pulled ahead of Jose Alvarado for the team lead in free throw attempts, 70 to 63. Okogie is averaging an ACC-leading 7.8 free throw attempts per game, nearly well above his average of 6.5 as a freshman, which ranked third in the ACC.
• Okogie has nine assists in his last two games, more than half his season total (16).
• Jose Alvarado reached double figures for the 11th time this season and for the third time in four ACC games, scoring all 10 of his points in the first half. The freshman point guard had no turnovers in 35 minutes, the third time this season with zero.
• After a two-game drought against Miami and Yale (nine total points), Tadric Jackson has scored 11 and 13 points in Tech’s last two games, hitting 11-of-25 shots from the floor. The 6-2 senior has had 34 double-digit scoring games off the bench as a Yellow Jacket, 25 of those since the beginning of last season. He has reached double figures 21 times in his last 25 games and 35 times since the beginning of last season.
• Jackson is hitting 56.6 percent of his shots (68-of-120) from inside the three-point arc this season, and a career-best 48.7 percent overall.
• Ben Lammers posted his seventh double-double this season against Notre Dame, getting 11 points and 16 rebounds (one shy of his career high), his fourth double-double in his last six games and the 23rd of his career, all since the beginning of last season.
• Lammers blocked two shots against Notre Dame to give him 225 blocks for his career, sitting in sole possession of fourth place in Tech history and needing 18 to catch John Salley (243 from 1982-86) for third place. The senior center is third in the ACC and 16th nationally in blocked shots per game (3.0).
• Lammers has creeped into Georgia Tech’s top 20 all-time leading rebounders, currently standing 18th with 671. He needs seven to catch Duane Ferrell (680 from 1984-88) for 17th place, 16 to reach Michael Maddox (687 from 1994-98) for 16th place.
• Lammers is averaging 36.1 minutes this season, fifth-most in the ACC (39.0 mpg vs. the ACC), while Alvarado averages 34.4, 10th in the ACC (38.5 mg in ACC games). Okogie averages 35.0 (37.2 in ACC games), but has not played enough games to qualify for the league rankings. After missing nearly the entire second half of the Coppin State game with a head injury, Alvarado has played 192 minutes in Tech’s last five games.
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.