THE FLATS – Abdoulaye Gueye scored a career-high 16 points off the bench, and five Georgia Tech players scored in double figures as the Yellow Jackets cruised past Kennesaw State, 87-57, Friday afternoon at McCamish Pavilion.
The Yellow Jackets (7-5) bounced back from a poor offensive performance against Georgia in their last game before Christmas by hitting a season-high 56.5 percent from the floor, including a 60-percent effort in the first half as Tech opened a 49-23 advantage against the Owls (3-11). After freshman Michael Devoe missed a jumper on the Jackets’ opening possession, Tech sank eight straight shots from the floor, three each from Jose Alvarado and James Banks III, to open a 19-3 lead and never looked back.
Gueye, a senior forward from Dakar, Senegal who saw his most extensive playing time since Thanksgiving week, scored three straight baskets of his own in relief of Banks to help the Jackets extend their lead to 46-21 just before halftime, and finished the game 7-for-7 from the floor. He matched the 16-point, 8-rebound performance he posted last Jan. 13 at Pittsburgh, and added three assists and a pair of blocked shots in 19:18 against the Owls.
Alvarado, who suffered through a 3-for-20 shooting day against Georgia, went 4-for-7 against the Owls and scored 10 points in just 23:35. Evan Cole scored 11 points of the bench in 13:16, his longest stint since returning from an ankle injury suffered Nov. 13 at Tennesssee. Moses Wright and Brandon Alston added 10 points each for the Jackets.
Tyler Hooker led Kennesaw State with 17 points, with Bobby Parker adding 14 and Danny Lewis chipping in with 10. The Owls shot 41.2 percent from the floor and hit six three-point field goals.
Georgia Tech returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, hosting USC Upstate at McCamish Pavilion. The game will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra, available through the ESPN app.
Michael Devoe had six assists and three steals with no turnovers in addition to his nine points.
- Georgia Tech starting lineup: Alvarado, Devoe, Moore, Wright, Banks III
- First subs for Georgia Tech: Haywood for Alvarado – 12:44-1st half
- On the floor for Georgia Tech at the end: Cole, Medlock, Phillips, Sjolund, Ogbonda
- Opening tap won by Georgia Tech – Georgia Tech has won the opening tap five times in 12 games this season
- Series record vs. Kennesaw State: Georgia Tech is 3-1 overall, 3-0 at home, 1-0 under Josh Pastner, 6-3 vs. Al Skinner
- Current series streak: Georgia Tech won the last meeting
- Georgia Tech is 6-2 at McCamish Pavilion this season, 78-39 in its sixth season in the building, 35-13 under Josh Pastner
- Georgia Tech is 1-2 on the road this season, 1-3 away from McCamish Pavilion
- Georgia Tech’s next game: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 7:30 p.m. ET, vs. USC Upstate, McCamish Pavilion
- Freshmen Michael Devoe and Khalid Moore started for the third straight game against Kennesaw State, having made their first collegiate starts at Arkansas. Georgia Tech has used five different starting lineups this season. Transfer James Banks III made his sixth straight start in the post, and Moses Wright his 10th of the season at the big forward spot. Jose Alvarado has started 10 of the 11 Tech games. No Tech player has started every game this season.
- Tech has deployed at least eight players for significant minutes in each of its 11 games so far, nine vs. Northwestern, St. John’s and Georgia, despite Evan Cole missing those games with an ankle injury. All 12 scholarship players saw action against Kennesaw State. Cole and Shembari Phillips both saw their first action since the Gardner-Webb game, while Sylvester Ogbonda played for the first time since Florida A&M on Dec. 9.
- Tech fell just shy of its season highs for points (88 vs. Lamar) and scoring margin (33 vs. Florida A&M).
- Tech connected on a season-high 56.5 percent from the floor, including 60 percent in the first half, its best shooting effort since hitting 57.1 percent in a loss to Wofford last season (Dec. 6). After missing on their first possession, the Yellow Jackets sank eight straight shots to open a 19-3 lead.
- Five Tech players scored in double figures for the first time since six Jackets did so in an 80-72 overtime loss at Boston College last Feb. 4.
- Tech piled up 29 assists, the highest total under Josh Pastner and the most since the Jackets recorded 30 on Nov. 16, 2015 against Cornell.
- Tech’s 12 turnovers were one shy of a season low (11 vs. UTRGV and Prairie View A&M).
- Tech has held every opponent this season under its season scoring average – breakdown by game: Lamar 81.0 (69), Tennessee 82.8 (66), East Carolina 72.7 (54), UTRGV 70.2 (44), Prairie View A&M 69.2 (54), Northwestern 76.0 (67), St. John’s 83.0 (76), Florida A&M 63.2 (40), Gardner-Webb 82.2 (79), Arkansas 85.2 (69), Georgia 78.9 (70), Kennesaw State 62.5 (57).
- Tech has outrebounded five of its last six opponents (33-20 over Kennesaw State) and stands at plus-1.8 per game this season.
- Tech continues to make life difficult for its opponents shooting from long distance, holding Kennesaw State to 6-of-18 on its three-point tries, and the Jackets are yielding 28.0 percent from distance this season. Tech has yielded 5.1 threes per game this season, compared to 7.1 per game and a success rate of 37.9 percent last season.
- Kennesaw State became only the fourth team in 12 games to shoot 40 percent or better against Tech (41.2 pct.). The Yellow Jackets’ opponents have shot 39 percent overall this season, which puts Tech fifth in the ACC.
- Defensively, Tech is forcing 15.8 turnovers (19 for Kennesaw State, leading to 27 Tech points) and taking 8.1 steals per game (10 vs. Kennesaw State). Only St. John’s (5 turnovers) and Gardner-Webb (9) have managed to keep their turnover total under 10 this season against Tech. Tech is averaging 17.7 points from turnovers this season. The Jackets forced an average of 12.6 turnovers per game last season and took 6.9 steals per game.
- Tech has connected on 46.9 percent of its field goals at home, and 33.5 percent of its three-point attempts. But it has converted 68.7 percent of its free throw tries inside McCamish Pavilion.
- Tech has attempted 230 threes (19.2 per game) and made 70 (5.8 per game), compared to averages of 15.3 attempts and 4.9 made per game in 2017-18. Tech has hit 30.4 percent of its threes for the season, below last season’s 31.8-percent clip.
- After having been outscored the last three games Tech got a season-high 45 points from its bench against Kennesaw State, including three players in double figures. For the season, Tech reserves have averaged 26.4 points per game to 17.0 for the opponents.
- Tech has averaged committing 15.4 fouls over its last five games after averaging 22.1 over its first seven games. The Jackets had ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation in most fouls committed.
PASTNER’S KEY METRICS
- Assists to made field goals: Tech assisted on 29 of 35 made field goals (82.9 percent) against Kennesaw State, meeting its nightly goal of 60 percent for the third time this season. The Jackets are at 57.2 percent for the season, above the nation’s average of 52 percent.
- Free throws made to opponents’ attempts: Tech connected on 9-of-10 free throw attempts to KSU’s 9-of-14 (nightly goal of making more than opponent tries not accomplished). Tech is 35-12 under Josh Pastner when attempting more free throws than the opponent.
- Turnovers: Tech has 15.8 turnovers per game and taken 8.1 steals per game. The Jackets forced an average of 12.6 turnovers per game last season and took 6.9 steals per game.
- Guard rebounding: Tech’s guards combined for eight of Tech’s 26 defensive rebounds against Georgia. The group of Alvarado, Alston, Devoe, Haywood, Moore and Phillips has combined to take 146 of Tech’s 314 defensive rebounds this season (46.5 percent).
- Jose Alvarado posted his eighth double-figure game in the last nine with 10 points against Kennesaw State. He bounced back from a 3-of-20 effort from the floor against Georgia to hit 4-of-7, including a pair of early threes that helped the Jackets to a quick start against Kennesaw State. He has nine double-figure games this season and 25 for his career.
- After playing all but 84 seconds in Tech’s three games the week before Christmas (he played the full 40 minutes against Arkansas), Alvarado played just 23:35 against Kennesaw State, his third-fewest of the season. He has nine complete games in his career.
- Moses Wright started his 10th straight game for Georgia Tech, scoring 10 points and matching his season-high with six rebounds in 22:24 against Kennesaw State. Wright has three double-digit games (11 vs. UTRGV, 12 vs. St. John’s) in that stretch. Wright also had a career-high five assists against the Owls.
- Abdoulaye Gueye had his most productive game for the Jackets since last January 13 at Pittsburgh (16 pts, 8 reb, 7-8 FG), scoring 16 points with eight rebounds against Kennesaw State. Thee 16 points matched his career high, and the eight rebounds were one shy. He made all seven of his field goal attempts and played 19:18.
- Brandon Alston hit double digits for the first time since Dec. 9 against Florida A&M, scoring 10 points. All of his field goal attempts came from behind the three-point arc (3-of-8), and he has hit 45.7 percent from distance this season. Alston added four assists, one short of his season best.
- Freshman Michael Devoe, continuing to get his legs under him after missing most of pre-season practice with a big toe injury, started for the third straight game and scored nine points with six assists, a season high, three steals and no turnovers in 23:08 against Kennesaw State. He went 3-for-3 from the foul line and has converted 77.8 percent from there this season.
- For the first time this season, James Banks did not block a shot against Kennesaw State. The 6-9 junior is averaging 2.36 for the season (second in the ACC).
Post-Game Interviews with Coach Pastner and Abdoulaye Gueye
Coach Josh Pastner Press Conference Audio