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Georgia Tech Travels for Rematch with Clemson

THE FLATS – Continuing a stretch of three games over five days, Georgia Tech looks to sweep the regular season series against Clemson when it visits the Tigers for an 8 p.m. contest Friday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The Yellow Jackets (9-7, 5-5 ACC), who are 3-4 since returning from its 17-day pause, are tied for seventh place in the ACC standings and have a NCAA NET ranking of No. 63. Tech, which came out of its pause with an 83-65 win over the then-No. 20 Tigers in the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 20 at McCamish Pavilion, is coming off a 57-49 loss to No. 9 Virginia Wednesday night. The Jackets are looking for their first ACC road win of the 2020-21 season.

The Tigers (12-5, 6-5 ACC) are in eighth place in the ACC by mere percentage points behind Tech. Following a three-game losing streak of which the loss to Tech was the middle game, Clemson has won three of its last four, most recently a 78-61 win over Syracuse last Saturday. The Tigers’ last three wins all came at Littlejohn Coliseum, where they are 8-1 this season.

Friday’s game will be televised nationally on the ACC Network and will be streamed live on the ESPN app. Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech Sports Network by Learfield IMG College, with flagship station WCNN-Radio (680 AM, 93.7 FM) in Atlanta. The Tech broadcast can be heard on SiriusXM Ch. 380 (Internet 970) and the TuneIn app.

THE TIPOFF

  • Up for Naismith – Jose Alvarado was named Thursday to the Naismith Trophy Midseason Team for its men’s college player of the year. The senior guard was one of three ACC players on the 30-player list along with Pitt’s Justin Champagnie and Louisville’s Carlik Jones.
  • It’s over, man, Wermer dropped the big one – Tech saw its program-record 11-game ACC home win streak come to an end Wednesday night, and Friday night looks for its first ACC road win over 2020-21. The Yellow Jackets were 5-5 on the road last season in the ACC.
  • The gauntlet – Friday’s game continues a stretch of four games in eight days created by the rescheduling of Tech’s home game with Pittsburgh on Sunday, Feb. 14 (rescheduled from Jan. 12). The game at Clemson, originally scheduled for Saturday, was moved ahead one day so the Jackets could host Pitt Sunday (rescheduled from Jan. 12). Tech, which hosted Virginia Wednesday, finishes the stretch with Boston College next Wednesday at home. That game was originally scheduled for Tuesday night.
  • Break up to make up – Two of Georgia Tech’s four postponed ACC games have been rescheduled, its game at Louisville (Feb. 1) and Sunday’s upcoming game against Pitt. No makeup dates have been set for the Yellow Jackets’ games at Notre Dame (oroginally Jan. 6) and NC State (Jan. 16).
  • No rest for the weary – As part of Tech’s effort to reschedule its postponed games, the Yellow Jackets will play three games on just one day’s rest and one on two days while its opponents in those games have (or had) four days (Louisville), five days (Clemson), six days (Pitt) and six days (Boston College).
  • For the defense – For the first time this season, Georgia Tech’s defensive efficiency in ACC games (5th) ranks ahead of its offensive efficiency (11th). The Yellow Jackets also rank No. 1 against the conference in turnover percentage and steal percentage. Tech still ranks fourth in effective field goal percentage, offensively, and third in three-point percentage, as well as No. 4 in percentage of assists to field goals made.
  • Moses climbing the mountain – Moses Wright is bidding to become the 21st played in Tech history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds in a career. The 6-9 senior now has 952 career points and 535 career rebounds.
  • Looking large – Michael Devoe is just 28 points away from 1,000 for his career at Georgia Tech. He would be the 46th Yellow Jacket to reach that benchmark.
  • Dynamic duo – Jose Alvarado and Michael Devoe are averaging 17.10 and 14.40 points per game in ACC games, ranking No. 4 and 11, respectively, and have accounted for 46.2 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ points. They have scored or assisted on 71.3 percent of Tech’s field goals in conference play. Combined, they have shot 49.5 percent from the floor and 44.8 percent from three-point range. The Jackets are 6-1 this season when both players score in double digits, including four ACC wins.
  • Call me Ush – Jordan Usher grabbed some attention by scoring 21 points vs. Clemson and 19 at Virginia (15-23 FG, 7-12 3pt FG, 10 rebounds, four assists). He has averaged 13.4 points over Tech’s last seven games is averaging 12.2 points (47.5 pct. FG, 33.3 pct. 3pt FG) in ACC games.

Moses Wright is drawing ever closer to becoming the 21st player in Georgia Tech history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds. He needs 48 points. (photo by Danny Karnik)

 

SERIES VS. CLEMSON

  • This is the oldest and longest-running series the Yellow Jackets have with an ACC member. The 139 all-time meetings are more than 30 greater than Tech has played with any other ACC opponent. The series dates back to the 1912-13 season, when John Heisman coached the Tech basketball team. Clemson is one of two permanent home-and-away opponents on Tech’s schedule each year (Notre Dame is the other).
  • Tech has won the last three meetings, including an 83-65 decision in the teams’ first game this season on Jan. 20 at McCamish Pavilion, and six of the last 11.
  • The Yellow Jackets swept the season series in 2019-20 for the first time since the 2004-05 season, winning 68-59 at home and 65-62 at Clemson. The win at Clemson was the Yellow Jackets’ first since the 2004-05 season, snapping a 14-game road losing streak in the series.
  • Tech is just 17-46 all-time in games played at Clemson, including an 9-39 mark in Littlejohn Coliseum. The Jackets lost 14 straight games on the road in the series, and 13 in a row at Littlejohn, before Tech won last March 6, Tech was Clemson’s first opponent in Littlejohn Coliseum back on Nov. 30, 1968. The Tigers won, 76-72.

TEAM TRENDS

  • Four of Tech’s starters are averaging in double figures in scoring for the season, only Bubba Parham below that mark at 7.5 points per game. Four or more Yellow Jackets have reached double figures in six games this season, at least three in all but three games.
  • Tech has turned the ball over just 11.0 times per game this season, most impressively Moses Wright who has just 21 turnovers in more than 577 minutes of action, and Bubba Parham, who has only six in 460 minutes. The Yellow Jackets are plus-4.4 in that category this season, ranking No. 1 in the ACC. Tech was minus-2.4 last year and ranked 14th. In ACC games, Tech also ranks No. 1 at plus-4.5.
  • Tech’s accuracy and production from the free throw line were well above its 2019-20 norm until recently. The Jackets are just 70-of-103 from the stripe in their last seven games and have scored just 8.2 points per game from the stripe in ACC games. Opponents are scoring just 9.4 per game.
  • Tech made great strides in its offensive efficiency during the latter part of last season and continues to progress, ranking No. 51 nationally at 110.7, its highest ranking under Josh Pastner. The Jackets have managed to exceed one point per possession in 12 of 16 games this season (Tech reached that benchmark 11 times in all of 2019-20).
  • Tech led for 53:36 of the 80 minutes in its two losses to Virginia – 29:46 in the road loss and 23:51 at home.
  • Thirteen times in its last 14 games, Tech has won the turnover battle and had more assists than turnovers (11 assists, eight turnovers). Only in the first meeting against Florida State on Dec. 15 (11 assists, 12 turnovers, FSU has 12 turnovers) did the Jackets fall short.
  • Tech forced 17 Virginia turnovers (the Cavaliers average an ACC-low 8.7 per game) and scored 17 points from them. The Jackets have forced 15.4 turnovers per game this season, 15.0 per game against ACC foes, and owned the best turnover margin in the conference (plus-4.5 overall, plus-4.4 in conference games).
  • Tech has had at least one player go the full 40 minutes in six straight games. Alvarado has done so four times, Moses Wright twice, Michael Devoe and Bubba Parham once each. Prior to that, no one played the full 40 this season.
  • Jose Alvarado, who scored a game-high 18 points against Virginia, passed Michael Maddox, Tico Brown and Alvin Jones and moved into 23rd place on Georgia Tech’s career scoring chart. He finished the game with 1,316 career points. Next on the list is Bobby Kimmel (1,363 points from 1954-57).
  • Alvarado remains the ACC’s third-leading scorer at 17.6 points per game. He ranks in the top 10 in eight statistical categories (scoring, field goal percentage, three-point field goals per game, free throw percentage, assists, steals, assist/turnover ratio and minutes). His 43.2-percent rate from three-point range would also rate high had he enough three-pointers made to meet the ACC minimum (2.5 per game) to qualify.
  • Alvarado had only one steal against Virginia, but it was the 200th of his career. He holds fifth place on Tech’s all-time list, needing seven to catch fourth-place Iman Shumpert (207 in three seasons, 2008-11).
  • Bubba Parham has not committed a turnover in six straight games, covering approximately 182 minutes on the court. The 5-10 senior has just six turnovers all season, a rate of one every 76.7 minutes.

Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the A-T Fund’s Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes, and the Support The Swarm Fund, created to give fans an opportunity to help Georgia Tech athletics maintain its recent momentum through the financial challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic! 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 fifth season under head coach Josh Pastner, having finished fifth in the ACC in 2019-20, the program’s highest finish since 2005. 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. For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com.

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