Nov. 21, 2015
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech concludes a four-game homestand to open its 101st season of basketball Sunday afternoon by hosting East Tennessee State in the sixth meeting between the two teams at 2 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion.
The Yellow Jackets have opened their 2015-16 season with three straight wins over Cornell, Tennessee and Green Bay. The Buccaneers (2-1) come to Atlanta on the heels of their first loss of the season, 86-51, Friday night at Villanova.
The Tech-ETSU game is preliminary round game in the NIT Season Tipoff. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3. Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech/IMG Sports Network, and can be heard in Atlanta on 680 the Fan (680 AM and 93.7 FM).
• Sunday’s game is the last of four straight home games to begin the 2015-16 season. The Yellow Jackets leave town for the first time Wednesday to compete Thursday and Friday in the NIT Season Tipoff at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Georgia Tech has won its first three games for the fourth straight season, defeating Cornell 116-81 in the season opener Nov. 13, Tennessee 69-67 last Monday and Green Bay 107-77 Thursday night.
• A win over East Tennessee State would give the Yellow Jackets their first 4-0 start since the 2008-09 season. Tech has begun a season 4-0 only four times since the turn of the century.
• ETSU opened its season with two home wins, 107-59 over Averett on Nov. 14 and 103-90 over Green Bay last Tuesday, before it visited Villanova Friday night.
• Tech’s starting lineup for the first three games has been Josh Heath at point guard, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith on the wings, and Nick Jacobs and Charles Mitchell at the post positions. Only Georges-Hunt began his career at Georgia Tech.
• Tech has played its entire 12-man roster against Cornell and Green Bay, and 11 of them scored, and went 10-deep against Tennessee.
• Tech is averaging 97.3 points per game (second-highest in the ACC) and has hit the century mark twice in its first three games. The Yellow Jackets have connected on 52.2 percent of their field goal tries (also second-highest in the ACC) and assisted on 58 percent of their made field goals.
• Tech is playing four non-conference teams this season that it also faced during its run to the NCAA national championship game in 2004 – Cornell, Tennessee, Georgia and VCU.
• A couple of Tech players have received some pre-season recognition from basketball experts. Adam Smith, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, has been named one of the nation’s top 20 impact transfers both by Jeff Goodman at ESPN.com and Jon Rothstein at CBSSports.com. Rothstein also tabbed sophomore guard Tadric Jackson as one of 15 under-the-radar players who could have a breakout season.
INSIDE THE ETSU SERIES
• Georgia Tech is meeting East Tennessee State for the sixth time, and for the second time under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets defeated the Buccaneers, 87-57, on Dec. 7, 2013 at McCamish Pavilion.
• Only Marcus Georges-Hunt, Corey Heyward and Quinton Stephens remain on the Tech roster from that game. Georges-Hunt led the Jackets with 18 points, while Stephens had nine points and seven rebounds.
• Four ETSU players were on that Buccaneer team – A.J. Merriweather (18 points), Lester Wilson (nine points), Isaac Banks (two points) and Petey McClain (0 points).
• Tech has won all three meetings at home, including the first two times the teams met in 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons when the Yellow Jackets were coached by Dwane Morrison.
• Tech faced ETSU in the first round of the 1990 NCAA Southeast Regional at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn. The Bobby Cremins-led Jackets won 99-83 to begin their run to the Final Four.
• Tech is 97-32 all-time against current members of the Southern Conference.
JACKETS ON THE RUN
Head coach Brian Gregory said all summer and fall during the pre-season that Georgia Tech would push the tempo on both ends of the floor, and that change of style could not have been more evident in the Yellow Jackets’ first three games.
• Tech has reached the century mark twice in three games. The Jackets have not scored 100 or more twice in a season since the 2006-07 season – in back-to-back games – 100-70 over Jackson State on Nov. 13 and 103-74 over Georgia State on Nov. 16.
• Tech has averaged 97.3 points, 39 field goals and 74.7 field goal attempts in its first three games. The Jackets averaged 63.6 points, 23.7 field goals and 56.2 field goal attempts in Tech’s first four seasons under Brian Gregory.
• Tech’s highest-scoring team ever, the 1989-90 Final Four team led by Kenny Anderson, Brian Oliver and Dennis Scott, averaged 88.5 points, 32.5 field goals and 65.7 field goal attempts per game.
• Tech has 68 assists on 117 made field goals for the season, 58.1 percent of its field goals made. Tech’s assist average of 22.7 through three games (No. 1 in the ACC) is well above the Jackets’ season record of 21.3 in 1987-88. The Jackets also lead the ACC in assist-turnover ratio (2.13-1). Primary ballhandlers Josh Heath, Travis Jorgenson, Adam Smith and Marcus Georges-Hunt have 46 assists against 11 turnovers combined for the season.
• Tech has averaged 77.3 offensive possessions in three games this season compared to 63.1 last season. Its team offensive efficiency rating is 125.6 compared to 97.2 last season.
• Tech also has shown major improvements in points off turnovers (16.3 compared to 13.0 last season), second-chance points (21.3 to 12.7), points in the paint (46.0 to 32.2) and fast break points (20.0 to 8.3).
They combined to make 20-for-31 from the floor against Green Bay and are 58-for-89 for the season (65.1 percent). Mitchell is hitting 70 percent of his field goal tries through three games, and Jacobs has made 64.5 percent. White is 9-for-17, and Lammers is 8-for-11.
Mitchell has a double-double in each game so far and is averaging a team-leading 16.0 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. Jacobs has scored in double digits in each game and has averaged 15.7 points and 7.3 rebounds.
Lammers’ eight points and nine rebounds against Green Bay were career highs, while White posted a double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds) in his Tech debut and contributed a key blocked shot and made field goal to seal Tech’s win over Tennessee.
Green Bay coach Linc Darner said, “I hope nobody in our league has four post players like they do. Just physically the size and how strong they are, they overmatched us. We tried to box them out sometimes, and I don’t think it mattered. They just went and got it. They’re awful good at that.”
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its fifth year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have 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).