Jan. 9, 2018
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech completes a three-game homestand and looks to even its season series with 25th-ranked (coaches poll) Notre Dame Wednesday night when the Yellow Jackets and Irish square off in a nationally-televised Atlantic Coast Conference game at 7 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion.
The Yellow Jackets (8-7, 1-1 ACC), who have won three of their last four games, improved to 8-3 at home Saturday night with a 74-60 victory over Yale in their final non-conference game of 2017-18. That came on the heels of a 64-54 victory over No 15 Miami last Wednesday, making Tech 8-2 at home against ACC teams under head coach Josh Pastner. The Jackets are in their second season under Pastner, the 2017 ACC Coach of the Year, after going 21-16 and reaching the championship game of the NIT last season.
The Fighting Irish (13-3, 3-0 ACC) have won five straight games and remained unbeaten in conference play Saturday with a 51-49 victory at Syracuse despite playing without their two stars, forward Bonzie Colson and guard Matt Farrell, absent due to injuries. Notre Dame also has beaten Tech, 68-59 on Dec. 30, and NC State, 88-58 on Jan, 3, both at home. The Irish are in their 18th season under head coach Mike Brey, who surpassed legendary Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps in coaching victories at the school with their victory over the Wolfpack.
Wednesday’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 Tech broadcast can also be heard nationally on SiriusXM satellite radio (Sirius ch. 138, XM ch. 193).
THE STARTING LINEUP
• Georgia Tech is 8-2 at home against ACC teams under head coach Josh Pastner, a record which includes a 4-1 mark against top-15 teams. Among current ACC head coaches, only North Carolina’s Roy Williams (9-1), Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (8-2), Miami’s Jim Larranaga (8-2) and Clemson’s Brad Brownell (8-2) fashioned as good a mark.
• Six Atlantic Coast Conference teams are currently ranked in the Associated Press poll – Virginia (3), Duke (7), Miami (18), Clemson (19), North Carolina (20) and Florida State (23). Notre Dame is No. 25 in the coaches poll but not ranked in the AP poll, while FSU is not ranked in the coaches poll. 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.
• Head coach Josh Pastner needs four victories to reach 200 for his head coaching career. In nine-plus seasons, Pastner has a record of 196-96.
• Tech was projected to finish ninth in the ACC in the preseason voting by conference media. The Jackets finished 11th last season at 8-10.
• Tech has yet to play a game with its entire roster healthy and available. The Yellow Jackets played their first eight games without its leading scorer and ACC All-Freshman player from last season, Josh Okogie. They played without senior guard Tadric Jackson for the first three games; without sophomore point guard Justin Moore for six games; and without freshman guard Curtis Haywood II to a knee injury for six games prior to Saturday’s win over Yale. Tech players have missed 31 games to various injuries and other absences this season.
SERIES VS. NOTRE DAME
• Georgia Tech holds a 9-8 lead in the all-time series with Notre Dame that began in the 1940-41 season. Tech and Notre Dame split their two meetings the last two seasons, both Yellow Jacket wins coming on last-second baskets at McCamish Pavilion (62-60 last season, 63-62 in 2015-16).
• The Yellow Jackets are 3-6 against Notre Dame since the Fighting Irish joined the ACC, with the nine meetings decided by a total of 42 points. Notre Dame’s 68-59 win in South Bend earlier this season is the widest.
• At McCamish Pavilion, Tech is 3-1 against the Irish, and the games have been decided by a total of 11 points.
• Notre Dame has won all five meetings at South Bend since the Fighting Irish became a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, including a 68-59 decision earlier this season on Dec. 30.
• The Yellow Jackets won five straight meetings between the two teams from 1972 through Tech’s 74-69 victory in McCamish Pavilion on Jan. 11, 2014, the team’s first meeting as ACC foes.
• All but one game in the series has been played on the two campuses, the exception being a 2007 meeting in the third-place game of the Paradise Jam. The Yellow Jackets erased a 9-point deficit in the final 5:11 and won the game on a three-point basket by Matt Causey with two seconds remaining.
• Tech is 2-7 in games played in South Bend, and 1-6 in Purcell Pavilion, including an 88-80 overtime win on Feb. 24, 1990, with the Jackets headed toward an ACC title and Final Four berth later that season.
• That game and a 90-80 Tech victory in Atlanta a year earlier were the only two face-offs ever between legendary coaches Bobby Cremins and Digger Phelps.
• Tech is 6-1 all-time against Notre Dame in Atlanta, three of those wins at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and three at McCamish Pavilion.
• Four of the five meetings before that were played with Whack Hyder as Tech’s head coach, and the Jackets won three of those, including an 82-62 win in 1972 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Phelps’ first season as the Fighting Irish head coach.
AUDIO FROM COACH PASTNER’S TUESDAY MEDIA SESSION
• Curtis Haywood II returned to action after missing six games with a shin injury, but Justin Moore missed his fourth straight game for personal reasons. Injuries or other absences have forced Tech players to miss 31 games cumulatively this season, and the Jackets have yet to play a game with all 11 scholarship players healthy and available.
• Alvarado and Lammers have started every game this season. Lammers has started Tech’s last 52 consecutive games.
• Georgia Tech’s playing rotation this season features four freshmen and a first-year graduate transfer who have combined to start 33 games and log 49 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ total minutes.
• Tech placed four players in double figures for the seventh time this season, and is 4-3 in those games.
• Tech came into the game ranked No. 28 in the nation in scoring defense, and held Yale, who had averaged 77.4 points per game, to just 60. It was the Bulldogs’ lowest output this season (was 61 at Wisconsin) and was the Yellow Jackets’ fifth-lowest yield. The Jackets also held Yale (47.9 percent from the floor this season) to 42.9 percent.
• Tech has averaged 70.3 points and converted 43.7 percent of its field goal attempts in the seven games since Josh Okogie’s return.
• Ben Lammers is averaging 35.7 minutes this season (6th in the ACC), Josh Okogie 35.0 (not enough games played to qualify for rankings) and Jose Alvarado 33.9 (11th). Only Alvarado came close to playing 40 minutes against Yale (38), though Lammers logged 35.
• The Jackets dropped to No. 14 nationally according to Kenpom.com in lowest two-point field goal percentage yield after Yale hit 12-of-22 from two-point range. Tech is yielding 43.1 percent from inside the arc.
• Tech has forced an average of 13.6 turnovers per game this season, down slightly from the same point a year ago (13.9).
• Tech has committed 12.5 turnovers per game this season, down more than two from 14.7 at the same point (15 games) last season. Tech has just 34 in its last four games (10 vs. Yale).
• Tech connected on 7-of-13 three-point attempts against Yale, its best effort of the season in terms of percentage. The Jackets had made just 16 threes in 67 attempts in its last previous five games against (3.2 per game and 23.9 percent).
• After netting no second-chance points at Notre Dame, the Yellow Jackets snared 23 offensive rebounds and scored 23 points from them in their last two games.
• Tech enjoyed a double-digit advantage on the boards for the second time in four games, outrebounding Yale 34-23. Tech had a 41-24 advantage on the boards against Coppin State.
• Tech rebounded from a poor game at the free throw line at Notre Dame (7-of-18) to hit 38-of-51 (74.5 percent) combined against Miami and Yale, improving its season conversion rate to 71.0 percent.
• Pastner meter 1 (assists to made field goals): Tech assisted on 10 of 23 field goals made and 54 of 146 in its last three games (37.0 percent), falling short its nightly goal of 60 percent for the fourth straight game. The Jackets have assisted on 53.3 percent of their made field goals for the season, after finishing last season at 62.7 percent (63.2 percent rate in ACC games).
• Pastner meter 2 (free throws made to opponents’ attempts): Tech made 21-of-28 free throws to Yale’s 9-of-12 (goal of making more than opponent tries accomplished). For the season, Tech has converted 242 free throws, while opponents have attempted 234. Tech is 28-7 under Josh Pastner when attempting more free throws than the opponent.
• Pastner meter 3 (guard rebounding): Tech’s guards combined for nine of Tech’s 21 defensive rebounds against Yale. Alvarado, Jackson and Okogie are all averaging well above four rebounds per game.
• Abdoulaye Gueye, making his third straight start and 11th of the season against Yale, posted his second double-digit scoring game of the season, setting a career high with 14 points while matching his career best of nine rebounds. The junior forward scored 10 of his points in the first half, and established career bests for field goals made (six) and attempted (12). He added two blocks and three steals in a career-high 36 minutes.
• Josh Okogie has averaged 20 points per game in his seven games back on the court, reaching double digits in every one, including 20 vs. Yale. The 6-4 sophomore has hit 42.9 percent of his shots from three-point range and 78 percent from the free throw line. The sophomore guard has scored in double figures 39 times in 44 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 less than half the number of games, Okogie has pulled into a tie with Jose Alvarado for the team lead in free throw attempts. With 59, Okogie is averaging 8.4 attempts per game, far ahead of the official conference leader (Oshae Brissett of Syracuse, 7.3 pg) and nearly two more than his average of 6.5 as a freshman, which ranked third in the ACC.
• Jose Alvarado reach double figures in his third straight game and for the 10th time this season against Yale, and exceeded 20 points for third time, tying his season best of 23 vs. Wright State. The freshman point guard tied his career high for three-point field goals in a game with four (4-for-10 vs. Grambling State).
• Alvarado, who had no assists and seven turnovers against Miami, had four assists and no turnovers against Yale, while also going 7-for-7 at the foul line in 38 minutes.
• After missing nearly the entire second half of the Coppin State game with a head injury, Alvarado has played 117 minutes in Tech’s last three games. He ranks 11th in the ACC averaging 33.9 minutes per game.
• Ben Lammers broke back into double figures against Yale with 10, hit 11th double-digit game this season, along with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals in 35 minutes.
• Lammers blocked three shots against Yale to give him 221 blocks for his career, sitting in sole possession of fourth place in Tech history and needing 22 to catch John Salley (243 from 1982-86) for third place. The senior center is third in the ACC and 13th nationally in blocked shots per game (3.0).
• Lammers’ 77.8-percent clip from the free throw line is more than five percent better than his junior year (73.7 percent). Lammers was a combined 21-of-43 his first two seasons.
• Tadric Jackson surpassed 900 career points with his performance against Coppin State and has 936 currently. At his current career-best average of 13.9 points per game, it will take the senior guard five more games to become the 44th Georgia Tech player to reach 1,000. Lammers has 865 career points, and would need 11 games at his current 12.3 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.