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Men’s Basketball Travels to Face Louisville

GEORGIA TECH (10-13, 3-9 ACC) vs. LOUISVILLE (7-16, 2-10 ACC)

Saturday, February 10, 2024 | 6:30 p.m. EST | Louisville, Ky. | KFC Yum! Center

THE FLATS – Continuing to search for momentum in the month of February, Georgia Tech travels to face Louisville this weekend in a 6:30 p.m. contest Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center.

Tech (10-13, 3-9 ACC) has dropped both of its games this month, 82-76 at NC State and 80-51 at home to Wake forest, since knocking off No. 3 North Carolina to close out the month of January. The Yellow Jackets, who have also defeated Duke and Clemson in conference play, have lost five of their last six games and 10 of their last 12.

Louisville (7-16, 2-10 ACC) is in a similar place, having lost 10 of its last 12 with wins over Miami (80-71) in early December and Florida State (101-92) last Saturday, both at home. The Cardinals lost a tight 94-92 decision at Syracuse Wednesday night.

Saturday’s game will be televised live on the ACC Network, with a live stream available on the ESPN app. Radio coverage is on the Georgia Tech Sports Network by Legends Sports and flagship station 680 the Fan (680 AM/93.7 FM). The Tech broadcast is also available on SiriusXM channel 380 and the SiriusXM app.

THE TIP-OFF

  • Georgia Tech’s three ACC wins have come against the ACC’s three highest-ranked teams in the NCAA’s NET rankings – North Carolina (10), Duke (20) and Clemson (29).
  • Nine of Georgia Tech’s 12 ACC games have been decided by single digits. Sixteen of Tech’s 23 games overall this season have been decided by fewer than 10 points, which is tied for second-most in Division I (Tech is 8-8 in those games). Nine of those by five points or fewer.
  • Tech is 2-6 in true road games this season, and five of its eight remaining games are on the road.
  • Tech has never won at the KFC Yum! Center in five trips. The Jackets were 3-8 at Freedom Hall.
  • Despite scoring just 51 points against Wake Forest, Tech has been one of the better offensive teams in the ACC this season, averaging 72.3 points to rank eighth on conference games. The Jackets rank sixth in three-point percentage (.355) and second in three-pointers per game (9.08).
  • Tech is 6-10 against Quad 1 and Quad 2 teams this season, with Quad 1 wins over Duke, Clemson and North Carolina and Quad 2 wins over Mississippi State, Penn State and Massachusetts. The Jackets have four Quad 1 and zero Quad 2 opponents remaining on its schedule (Louisville is a Quad 3 opportunity). Tech was 3-14 last season against Quad 1/2 foes.
  • Four Tech players are averaging double figures both in all games, and in ACC play – Miles Kelly (13.8 all/13.1 ACC), Baye Ndongo (12.4/13.4), Kowacie Reeves, Jr. (11.0/10.5) and Naithan George (10.2/10.5). In conference games, those four players have combined to hit 45.5 percent of their shots from the floor (215-of-473) and 37.8 percent from three-point range (75-of-198).
  • Tech has started two freshmen – Baye Ndongo and point guard Naithan George – in its last 19 games. The Jackets have not had two freshmen in its regular starting lineup since the 2018-19 season (Michael Devoe, Khalid Moore), and have not had a freshman regularly start at point guard since Jose Alvarado in 2017-18.
  • Either Ndongo or George has led Tech in scoring in nine of Tech’s last 13 games, and in seven of 11 ACC games. They have accounted for more than a third (34.3 percent) of Tech’s points in ACC games.
  • Tech’s point guard tandem of Naithan George and Kyle Sturdivant has averaged 7.3 assists per game combined, 9.1 in ACC games. Their assist/turnover ratio is 2.47-to-1 combined overall, 3.21-to-1 in conference games. Both players rank among the nation’s top 61 players in assist rate (assists divided by the field goals made by the player’s teammates while he is on the court) according to KenPom.com.
  • Naithan George is the first Tech freshman since Iman Shumpert in 2008-09 to collect 100 in a season, surpassing the century mark last game to get to 103 for this season. He is the first freshman since Javaris Crittenton in 2006-07 to average more than five assists per game.
  • Seven Tech players have scored at least 20 points in a game this season – Naithan George, Kyle Sturdivant, Deebo Coleman, Tafara Gapare, Kowacie Reeves, Jr., Baye Ndongo and Miles Kelly. It is only the second time that as many as seven different Yellow Jackets have scored 20-plus in a game during a season (2007-08).

 

Head coach Damon Stoudamire Friday media availability

SERIES VS. LOUISVILLE

  • Of the four teams added in the 2013 expansion of the ACC, Tech had the longest history with Louisville, meeting 28 times prior to the Cardinals joining the conference.
  • Louisville has won 13 of the last 15 games in the series and is 11-2 against Tech since becoming a member of the ACC. Tech’s only wins were a 64-58 triumph over a Cardinals’ team ranked No. 5 in the nation at home on Feb. 12, 2020, and an 83-67 home win on Feb. 25, 2023.
  • Tech is 1-1 vs. Louisville coach Kenny Payne.
  • Tech went 3-6 against the Cardinals with Whack Hyder as its head coach, all of those games between 1958 and 1965.
  • After a 12-year hiatus, Tech was 2-2 vs. Louisville when both teams were members of the Metro Conference in the late 1970s. Dwane Morrison was the Yellow Jackets’ head coach for all those games, and Denny Crum was on the Cardinals’ bench.
  • After another long break, the teams met 13 times between 1988 and 1999, with Bobby Cremins and Crum on the opposing benches in all those games. The Yellow Jackets went 8-5 against the Cardinals during this time. Three of the meetings took place at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and six at Freedom Hall.
  • The other four were played at the Georgia Dome, which was demolished in 2017 following the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Tech won three of those, including the first-ever college basketball game played in the facility, and before the largest crowd ever to witness a college game in the state of Georgia at the time (28,885). That game will be forever remembered in Tech lore after James Forrest launched a half-court heave on an inbounds play that dropped through the net at the buzzer for an 87-85 Yellow Jacket victory,
  • Tech was 10-7 against Louisville teams coached by the legendary Denny Crum, but are just 2-12 since.

 

Freshman Baye Ndongo leads the Jackets in scoring in ACC games. (photo by Danny Karnik)

 

TEAM TRENDS

  • Tech’s 51 points, 28.5-percent shooting from the floor and 12.5-percent from three-point range against Wake Forest were all season lows.
  • Tech had exceeded a point per possession in seven consecutive games before the Wake Forest game, and have done so in nine of 12 ACC games this season (KenPom.com).
  • Tech has made 74.6 percent of its free throws (94-of-126) in its last four games.
  • At least nine players have seen the court in 22 of Tech’s first 23 games (only eight played against Hawai’i). Nine players average more than 12 minutes per game in ACC games.
  • Tech ranks No. 36 nationally in use of its bench, 34.7 percent of the minutes compared to a national average of 31.2 percent. The Jackets rank No. 2 in the ACC and No. 82 nationally in bench scoring (24.4 points per game).

PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Freshman point guard Naithan George has reached double digits in points seven times in Tech’s last eight games after doing so only twice in his first 12 games.
  • George has averaged 14.4 points over that stretch, hitting 42.5 percent (37-of-87) from the floor and 38.5 percent (15-of-39) from three-point range. He also has 48 assists against 14 turnovers across those eight games.
  • George’s seven assists against Wake Forest gave him 103 for the season in 20 games (5.1 per game). He became the 11th Tech freshman to dish 100 assists in a season, and first since Iman Shumpert in 2008-09. The list is a star-studded one that includes Dennis Scott, Kenny Anderson, Travis Best, Drew Barry, Stephon Marbury, Tony Akins and Jarrett Jack.
  • Tafara Gapare has scored 21 points (6-20 FG, 5-11 FT) with 17 rebounds, playing 46 total minutes, in Tech’s last three games, his best three-game scoring stretch since early December.
  • Freshman Baye Ndongo returned to double digits in points for the first time in three games, scoring a team-high 14 points. He had scored just two points against North Carolina, leaving the game with an injury five minutes in, then scored only five at NC State when foul trouble limited him to 19 minutes.
  • Ndongo is converting at a 59.1-percent rate in ACC games, 59.3 percent for the season. He ranks No. 2 nationally among freshmen in field goal percentage.
  • In Tech’s last seven games, Kyle Sturdivant averaged 11.3 points and hit 42.6 percent (26-of-61) from the floor, 41.9 percent (13-of-31) from three-point range, 14-of-15 from the free throw line, 14 assists/7 turnovers
  • Tyzhaun Claude has averaged 6.0 points and 4.9 rebounds over Tech’s last seven games, hitting 12-of-18 from the floor and 18-of-25 from the foul line. He has averaged 25 total minutes.
  • Miles Kelly (929 career points) is Tech’s closest player to 1,000 points in his career. Kyle Sturdivant has 47 points to go to reach that milestone, and four three-point field goals to reach 100.
  • Kowacie Reeves, Jr., has hit a team-best 44.6 percent from three-point range in ACC games. He shot just 19 percent from three-point range in SEC games last year at Florida.
  • George and Sturdivant have a 3.29-to-1 assist/turnover ratio in ACC games.
  • Deebo Coleman has just eight turnovers this season in 456 minutes (two in 196 ACC minutes), and has had 16 turnover-free games. His turnover rate is the best of any player in the ACC (according to KenPom.com).

 

Freshman point guard Naithan George ranks No. 2 in the ACC in assist average. (photo by Danny Karnik)

 


Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of the development of Yellow Jackets that thrive academically at the Institute and compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL

Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its first year under head coach Damon Stoudamire. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won four ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993, 2021), played in the NCAA Tournament 17 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. For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com.

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