Jan. 3, 2017
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech continues a gauntlet of top-10 teams to open its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule by visiting No. 8/8 Duke at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a nationally-televised game at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.
Tech (9-4, 1-0 ACC), in its first season under head coach , has won three straight games, its longest winning streak of the season, including a 75-63 upset victory over ninth-ranked North Carolina in its ACC opener Saturday in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets are playing their first road game since a Dec. 7 victory at VCU, and are 1-2 on the road this season.
Duke (12-2, 0-1 ACC) lost its ACC opener at Virginia Tech, 89-75, on Saturday in Blacksburg. Ranked among the nation’s top 35 teams in scoring offense, scoring defense and scoring margin, the Blue Devils had won 10 straight games since a 77-75 loss to Kansas on Nov. 15 in their third game of the season.
Wednesday’s game will be televised nationally on ESPN2, and will be streamed live online on through the WatchESPN app. Radio coverage is provided by Tech’s flagship station, 680 the Fan (680 AM/93.7 FM), and is available via satellite radio (Sirius ch. 81, XM ch. 81).
• Georgia Tech began its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule facing three teams ranked in the top 10 of both the Associated Press and the coaches polls – North Carolina (No. 9 AP/No. 10 coaches), Duke (8/8) and Louisville (9/9). Tech has never faced three teams ranked in the top 10 of both polls in succession in its history, though it came close once. The Yellow Jackets began the 1994-95 campaign by facing Maryland (7/11), Duke (11/9) and North Carolina (4/2), with only the Tar Heels ranked in the top 10 of both polls. It is the only other time, however, in which Tech faced three teams in a row ranked in the top 10 of one poll or the other.
• Georgia Tech coach went 4-4 against ACC teams while he was the head coach at Memphis, but never faced North Carolina or Duke. He was 2-0 vs. Miami, 2-2 vs. Louisville, 0-1 vs. Syracuse and 0-1 vs. Virginia.
• Tech ranks No. 50 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com. The Jackets rank No. 50 nationally in scoring defense, No. 29 in field goal percentage defense, No. 67 in three-point defense, third in blocked shots per game and No. 47 in fewest personal fouls per game.
• Ten Yellow Jackets earned a grade-point average of 3.0 or better during the fall semester, and Tech’s cumulative fall GPA of 2.85 is the highest on record for the team. All four seniors are among the group with 3.0+ GPA’s, including , (fifth-year because of an injury red-shirt in 2012-13), and . Rowland graduated last Saturday, and the other three are scheduled to graduate in May.
• Georgia Tech and Duke met only once last season, an 80-71 Blue Devil win at McCamish Pavilion, Duke’s ninth consecutive win in the series. Tech’s last win in the series occurred Jan. 9, 2010 in Atlanta.
• Tech has won just five of 39 games played at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the first four coming in (1959, 1984, 1987 and 1996). Tech’s most recent win occurred on Mar. 3, 2004 in a 76-68 victory, which snapped a 41-game homecourt winning streak for the Blue Devils.
“That’s just a great win, it’s a great program win, it’s a great way to play. Our guys produced and stepped up especially, I thought, in our practices couple days. We didn’t play really well on Wednesday, we found a way to win and then I was able to jump them hard Thursday after practice, called some guys out. We had, as I call it, a truth telling Thursday. An honest day Wednesday night and a truth-telling day Thursday. They were told some things that they needed to hear, and to their credit they bounced back, and we found a way to get a W.”
• Georgia Tech won its first ACC opener since the 2005-06 season (an early December win over Virginia). It snapped a 10-year losing streak in ACC openers. Tech hasn’t won its first two ACC games since that season, defeating Virginia and Boston College (both at home) before taking its first loss.
• Tech started Jackson, Lammers, Moore, Okogie and Stephens for the third straight game. Coach has used four different starting lineups this season. Three Yellow Jackets – , and – have started every game this season.
• Tech played its shortest bench of the season (16 minutes by three players). and each played a season-high 38 minutes (for a regulation game). Eight Tech players are averaging double-digit minutes this season.
• Tech also held North Carolina to 33.3-percent shooting from the floor (season average 48.6 pct.), the fifth straight game the Jackets have limited an opponent under 40 percent. Since Tech’s loss at Tennessee on Dec. 3 (the last six games), the Jackets have limited opponents to 36 percent from the floor.
• Tech had a season-high 15 steals, 11 in the first half alone, one more than its season high up to this game. The Jackets forced 20 turnovers, the third time this season they have forced 20 or more (VCU, Alcorn State), and have forced an average of 16 over its last six games.
• Tech enjoyed its finest day of the season at the free throw line, setting season highs for free throws made and percentage (28-for-33, 84.8 percent). The Jackets were 25-of-28 in the second half. In Tech’s nine wins this season, the Jackets have shot 66.3 percent to their opponents 68.3, but have outscored those nine opponents 165-99 from the line collectively.
• turned in his best performance of the season since his 38-point night against Tulane, scoring a game-high 26. Fifteen of those game in the second half. The 6-4 freshman went 11-for-13 from the free throw line, had three assists and two steals.
• kept alive his streak of scoring in double digits in every game this season, and recorded his seventh double-double of the season (11 points, 11 rebounds). He also had four assists, two blocked shots and two steals. Lammers’ two blocks gave him 47 for the season, matching his sophomore-year total.
• Senior came up one rebound short of getting his fourth double-double this year, finishing with 11 points, nine boards, three blocks and four steals. He also was a perfect 4-for-4 from the foul line.
“From where we were in April, thinking ‘oh my goodness,’ to where we are now and already in our first year of rebuild to have a win like at VCU, where it’s so hard to win at and a home game against a team that. So to have that in year one, there’s a lot of good stuff. I feel great, I also know there’s a lot of games left, and as a coach I want our guys to enjoy it. I don’t take winning for granted, I know how hard it is to win, just to win one game. I’m elated, ecstatic, just totally enthused about it. We want to enjoy it and then we want to get back to work on Sunday night, Monday morning, get back after it and prepare for Duke on Wednesday.”
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