March 2, 2018
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech closes out its regular season Saturday afternoon with a 12 p.m. tip against Wake Forest at McCamish Pavilion. Two Tech seniors, Tadric Jackson and Ben Lammers, will play their final regular-season home games for the Yellow Jackets.
Tech (11-18, 4-12 ACC), which has seen its top two freshmen suffer season-ending injuries in the last three weeks, ended a seven-game losing streak Thursday night with a 78-75 win over red-hot NC State at McCamish Pavilion, snapping the Wolfpack’s four-game winning streak, its first victory since Jan. 31. The Yellow Jackets had dropped 11 of 12 games ahead of Thursday’s win.
Wake Forest (11-18, 4-13 ACC) snapped a three-game losing streak with its 79-62 win over Tech on Feb. 14 in Winston-Salem, but has lost two of three since to NC State and Notre Dame, both at home. The Demon Deacons won at Pittsburgh during that stretch.
THE STARTING LINEUP
• Seniors Tadric Jackson, a 6-2 guard from Tifton, Ga., and Ben Lammers, a 6-10 center from San Antonio, Texas, will be honored Saturday along with student managers Erik Maday and Adam Prather in pre-game ceremonies. Both players have surpassed 1,000 career points this season – Jackson averaging 12.1 points per game over the last two seasons, and Lammers averaging 13.1.
• The winner of Saturday’s game will earn the 13th seed in next week’s ACC Tournament and play its first-round game at 12 p.m. against the No. 12 seed. The loser will have the No. 14 seed and play its first-round game at 7 p.m. Opponents for either scenario are still to be determined after games played later on Saturday. Tech (4-12) has a one-game lead in the loss column over Wake Forest (4-13 in the ACC), which won the first meeting between the two teams on Feb. 14. A Wake win Saturday would create a tie with Tech for 13th place, and the Demon Deacons would win the tiebreaker by virtue of a season sweep.
• Saturday’s game will be the second in less than 48 hours for Georgia Tech. Wake Forest has not played since last Saturday.
• Head coach Josh Pastner, after going winless in the month of February, finally earned the 200th head coaching victory of his career and improved to 200-107.
• Tech is playing the remainder of its season without freshman point guard Jose Alvarado, who dislocated his elbow in a fall during the first half of the Yellow Jackets loss to Duke on Feb. 11, and freshman guard Curtis Haywood II, who was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his right leg following the Jackets’ Jan. 31 game against Syracuse. Haywood had also missed six games earlier in the season with a shin injury.
• Okogie’s 18.2 points-per-game average is the highest for a Tech player since the 1997-98 season, when Matt Harpring averaged 21.6, and the highest for a Tech sophomore since Harpring averaged 18.6 in 1995-96.
• Okogie has more career points (979) at this point in his sophomore season than any Tech player since Matt Harpring, who finished his sophomore year with 1,021 (1994-96) on the way to finishing No. 2 on Tech’s all-time list with 2,225 points. Five players in Tech history have reached 1,000 career points during their sophomore seasons.
• Tech has a chance to have three 1,000-point scorers on its roster by the end of the regular season. Seniors Tadric Jackson (1,073) and Ben Lammers (1,011 on the nose) already have reached the milestone, while sophomore Josh Okogie has rapidly risen to 979.
• Four Atlantic Coast Conference teams are currently ranked in the Associated Press and/or coaches polls – Virginia (1/2), Duke (5/3), North Carolina (9/9), Clemson (18/18) – while Florida State, Miami, NC Sate and Virginia Tech 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. 16/17).
SERIES VS. WAKE FOREST
• Georgia Tech has a 41-40 lead in the all-time series and a 40-38 lead in games played since it became a member of the ACC.
• Tech has won six of the last nine meetings between the two teams, but has lost the last two, including a 79-62 defeat on Feb. 14 of this season in Winston-Salem.
• Tech has won its last 11 games against Wake Forest at home, dating back to an 80-76 Demon Deacon win on Feb. 22, 2004 when both teams were ranked in the top 20. The Jackets won the last seven meetings in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, a 69-62 decision at Philips Arena during the 2011-12 season, and all three meetings so far at McCamish Pavilion.
• Tech was 24-9 against Wake Forest in games played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and is 28-9 against the Demon Deacons in Atlanta.
• Tech made a sweep of the season series in 2010-11, setting school records in each game for margin of victory in an ACC game (74-39 at home on Jan. 19) and for margin of victory in an ACC road game (80-54 on Mar. 3). The Jackets also swept the Demon Deacons in 2012-13.
• The home team has won 36 of the last 47 regular-season games in the series, with Wake Forest winning four times in Atlanta during that span, and Tech winning seven times in Winston-Salem.
• Tech has lost 14 of the last 19 meetings at the Joel Coliseum, but has one of its better records in an opponent’s building at 8-20. Tech is 12-27 against Wake Forest on the road, including a 2-3 mark in regular-season games played in Greensboro and a 2-4 mark in games played in Winston-Salem prior to the opening of Joel Coliseum.
• Tech is 38-29 against Wake Forest since 1985, including 12 straight victories from 1985-91.
• Wake Forest has won all four of its meetings with Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament, including a 75-74 triumph in the 1996 championship game in Greensboro. Wake Forest took the 2007 first round meeting, winning 114-112 in double-overtime, the highest-scoring game in ACC Tournament history and the highest-scoring game for Tech involving an ACC opponent in its history.
NC STATE COACH KEVIN KEATTS ON TECH
“They’re starting to play better basketball after losing their point guard [Jose Alvarado]. It took an adjustment time for those guys to get the right combination on the floor. When you look at the game, I thought we got beat to a lot of 50-50 balls. We ended up losing a game on the road against a team that’s starting to come together. Obviously, they’re a lot better than their record. They’ve had a lot of injuries. Josh [Pastner] has done a good job of piecing some guys together and they’re starting to play well.”
• For the three straight games, freshmen forwards Evan Cole and Moses Wright started alongside Ben Lammers on the front line, with Tadric Jackson and Josh Okogie in the backcourt. Cole started his fifth straight game, and Wright his third in a row, seventh overall this season. Georgia Tech has used eight different starting lineups this season.
• Tech has had its full roster to practice only for seven games this season. Injuries or other absences have forced Tech players to miss 42 games cumulatively this season. Freshman Jose Alvarado and Curtis Haywood II both suffered season-ending injuries, Alvarado on Feb. 11 early in Tech’s game against Duke, and Haywood prior to the Jackets’ Jan. 31 game against Syracuse.
• Tech’s playing rotation this season has featured four freshmen and a first-year graduate transfer who have combined to start 64 games and log 43 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ total minutes.
• Georgia Tech snapped a four-game home-court losing streak to NC State, and defeated the Wolfpack for the first time in McCamish Pavilion.
• Tech’s 78 points against NC State was its high against an ACC team this season and matched its third-highest total of the entire season (81 vs. Wright State, 79 vs. Florida A&M, 78 vs Texas-Rio Grande Valley).
• Tech won for the first time this season when giving up 70 or more points (0-12 previously) and improved to 6-18 under Josh Pastner when giving up 70 or more.
• Tech shot 51.6 percent from the floor against NC State, its highest in an ACC game this season, and its 32 field goals was an overall season best. It was the third time in an ACC game and the sixth time all year that the Yellow Jackets shot 50 percent from the floor. Tech has won only two of those games, however (Texas-Rio Grande Valley and NC State).
• Tech hit 62.5 percent of its shots from the floor in the second half against the Wolfpack, its second-best half of the season (66.7 percent, 14-of-21 in the first half at Wofford).
• Tech’s 20 second-half field goals against the Wolfpack were a season high in any half, and matched or exceeded the Yellow Jackets’ total in six entire games this season.
• Tech’s 47 second-half points against NC State was a season-high, beating the 46 it scored in the second half of games against Texas-Rio Grande Valley and Coppin State.
• Tech is 12-4 this season when it has a higher field goal percentage than its opponent, 0-13 when it has a lower percentage.
• Tech is 15-of-30 (50 percent) from three-point range in its last two games, 19-of-43 (44.2 percent) in its last three games.
• Tech has been on the plus-side in assist/turnover ratio for three straight games (45 assists/33 turnovers combined). The Jackets pulled even for the season (381 assists/381 turnovers) and into the plus-side in ACC games (215/212).
• Tech has averaged better than 100 points per 100 possessions, according to KenPom, in three straight games (100.6 at Virginia, 102.3 at Clemson, 110.8 against NC State), the first time Tech has done that during the conference season, and for only the second time this season (Tennessee, Wofford, Florida A&M).
• Tadric Jackson has started and played the point guard position for the majority of the Jackets’ last three games, the first time he has played extensive minutes in that role, and has logged the three highest-minute games of his career (38 at Virginia, 40 at Clemson, 39 vs. NC State). The 6-2 senior has averaged 16.7 points and shot 20-of-49 from the floor (40.8 percent) in those three games (15 points at Virginia, 13 at Clemson and 22 points against NC State).
• Jackson reached double figures for the fourth straight game against NC State following a three-game drought, and for the 19th time in 27 games this season.
• Jackson, who became the 44th player in Tech history to reach 1,000 career points on Jan. 31 vs. Syracuse, now has 1,095 points over his four seasons.
• Jackson had connected on 11-of-27 shots from three-point range (40.7 percent) in his last four games.
• Jackson matched his career high with five assists against NC State.
• Ben Lammers notched his second straight double-digit game after falling short in three of the previous four, averaging 17.7 points over that stretch with 22 points at Virginia and 20 against NC State. Lammers has 22 double-digit scoring games this season, 43 over the last two seasons.
• Lammers, who became the 45th player in Tech history to reach 1,000 with his 22 points at Virginia, now has 1,031 career points and gives the Jackets two 1,000-point scorers on their current roster. Sophomore Josh Okogie is three points away from 1,000.
• Lammers has converted 34 of 62 shots from the floor (54.8 percent) in his last five games.
• Lammers added nine rebounds against the Wolfpack, established a career-best with seven assists and tied a career best with four steals in 38 minutes.
• Josh Okogie scored 18 points (6-of-11 FG, 3-4 on 3s) and grabbed six rebounds while logging his fourth 40-minute game this season. He is averaging a team-high 37.0 minutes per ACC game.
• Virginia is the only team to hold Josh Okogie under 10 points this season, limiting the sophomore guard to nine points in the first meeting on Jan. 18, and seven in the second on Feb. 21. The first game snapped a 25-game streak of double-digit games. Each time he has rebounded with a big scoring game – 18 at North Carolina and 22 at Clemson.
• Okogie has scored in double figures 52 times in 59 career games. He has scored 30 or more three times (two vs. ACC), 20 or more 19 times (11 times in an ACC game).
• Okogie has averaged 18.2 points per game after missing the first eight games of the season, including 18.1 in ACC games so far (fourth-best in league rankings). He averaged 16.1 points as a freshman, 17.1 against the ACC.
• Okogie has scored more points in his first two seasons at Tech (997) since Matt Harpring accumulated 1,021 by the end of his sophomore season (1996-98). At his present rate, Okogie can become the sixth Tech player to reach 1,000 career points by the end of his sophomore season.
• Okogie went just 3-for-6 from the free throw line against NC State, dropping his season free throw rate to 81.6 percent. He remains the ACC leader in free throw attempts per game (6.7). He averaged 6.5 attempts as a freshman, which ranked third in the ACC, and connected on 74.7 percent.
• Okogie is averaging 6.7 rebounds per game in ACC play, third best among league guards, and 6.3 for the season. Okogie has snared 87 rebounds in his last 12 games (7.3), including a pair of double-digit games.
• Okogie has 48 assists in his last 15 games, a 3.2 average, dishing a career-high six at Clemson and getting five twice (second meeting vs. Notre Dame and at Florida State) in that stretch.
• Ben Lammers moved into 10th place on Tech’s career rebounding list, grabbing nine against NC State for a career total of 764 and passing Eddie Elisma (762 from 1994-97). He needs 34 to catch ninth-place John Salley (798 from 1982-86).
• Lammers blocked two shots against NC State, giving him 248 blocks for his career and third place in Tech history. He surpassed John Salley (243 from 1982-86) in Tech’s game at Virginia. Daniel Miller (286 from 2011-14) holds second place.
• Lammers is averaging 36.2 minutes this season, sixth-most in the ACC (37.0 mpg vs. the ACC), and ranks No. 1 among centers nationally in average minutes played and percentage of possible minutes. Okogie is averaging 37.0 minutes in ACC games. Both players rank among the ACC’s top 10 in minutes per conference game.
• Okogie played the full 40 minutes for the fourth time this season. Jose Alvarado logged eight complete games before he was injured, Lammers has gone start-to-finish five times, and Tadric Jackson had his first at Clemson.
• Freshman forward Evan Cole has averaged 26.3 minutes, 6.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in his last five games, which includes starts against Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Clemson and NC State. The 6-9 rookie has hit 14-of-26 shots from the floor, 5-of-11 from three-point range, with eight assists.
• Moses Wright, another 6-9 freshman, has averaged 25.3 minutes over his last six games, averaging 5.7 points (12-of-43 FG, 9-of-17 FT) and 5.3 rebounds with six assists, four blocks and six steals.
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.