Nov. 15, 2015
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech continues a four-game homestand to open its 101st season of basketball Monday night by renewing an old rivalry from its Southeastern Conference days, hosting Tennessee in a 7 p.m. game Monday at McCamish Pavilion.
The Yellow Jackets and Volunteers are meeting for the first time since they completed a two-game set during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.
The Tech-Tennessee game is part of ESPN’s 24-hour Tipoff Marathon and will be televised nationally on ESPNU. 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.
• Monday’s game is the second of four straight home games to begin the 2015-16 season. The Yellow Jackets follow the Tennessee game with a pair of home games against Green Bay (Nov. 19) and East Tennessee State (Nov. 22). Tech does not travel until Nov. 26-27 when it plays in the NIT Season Tipoff in Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Georgia Tech is coming off a 116-point explosion in its season opener against Cornell on Friday night in which seven players scored in double digits, the Yellow Jackets shot 60.3 percent from the floor and won by 35 points, all highs under Gregory.
• Tennessee opened its first season under head coach Rick Barnes with an 82-78 victory over UNC Asheville on Friday night in Knoxville.
• Tech’s starting lineup for the Cornell game was 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.
• Tennessee is the first of two games Tech will play against former Southeastern Conference rivals. The Yellow Jackets travel to Georgia on Dec. 19.
• 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. The 2003-04 season was the last meeting against all of them except the Bulldogs.
• Tech’s victory over Cornell was its seventh straight in season-opening games, dating back to the 2008-09 season. The last Yellow Jacket loss in a season opener was an 83-74 defeat to UNC Greensboro on Nov. 9, 2007. In the Atlantic Coast Conference era of Tech basketball, the Yellow Jackets are 32-4 in season openers.
• 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 SERIES
• Tennessee has a 42-27 lead in the all-time series which dates back to 1921. The teams were Southeastern Conference rivals from 1932-64.
• Among non-Atlantic Coast Conference teams, only Auburn (114 meetings), Georgia (191) and Vanderbilt (73) have been more frequent opponents than Tennessee (69). Tech has also faced Alabama and Tulane, also a former SEC foe, 69 times.
• The last time Georgia Tech and Tennessee met in basketball, on Feb. 7, 2004 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, a 77-62 Tech win, Paul Hewitt was the Yellow Jackets’ head coach, and Buzz Peterson was the Volunteers’ head man.
• In that game, Marvin Lewis, now Tech’s associate director of athletics and chief financial officer, lead the Jackets with 18 points, hitting 8-of-11 shots from the floor and 5-of-6 from three-point range. B.J. Elder added 20 points for Tech.
• First-year Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes was 5-3 against Tech during his four-year stint at Clemson (1994-98). This is Brian Gregory’s first time facing Tennessee as a head coach.
• Tech and Tennessee have played nine times since the Yellow Jackets left the SEC. The Volunteers won the first eight of those, including a 70-69 win on a last-second, half-court heave by Jon Higgins at Phillips Arena on Dec. 15, 2002, the last time the two teams met in Atlanta.
• Monday’s game is the first of four meetings the teams have agreed to play. The teams will play at Thompson-Boling Arena next season, return to McCamish Pavilion in 2017-18 and play again in Knoxville in 2018-19.
JACKETS ON THE RUN
Head coach Brian Gregory has 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 Friday night’s 116-81 season-opening victory over Cornell.
• Tech’s 116 points were the fifth most in the program’s history and the most since the Yellow Jackets scored 120 vs. Texas in the Pre-Season NIT on Nov. 27, 1991.
• Tech reached the 100-point mark with seven minutes left in the game. It was the first time the Jackets have reached the century mark since Nov. 14, 2009 vs. Florida A&M (100-59).
• Tech placed five or more players (actually seven tonight) for the first time since Feb. 18, 2012 vs. Virginia Tech. Ten of Tech’s 12 players who dressed scored in the game.
• Tech scored 57 points in the first half, 11 more than the Yellow Jackets highest-scoring half of last season, and 59 in the second half. They were Tech’s highest scoring half since amassing 64 in the second half against Tennessee State on November 11, 2007.
• Tech’s 47 field goals made were the sixth most in program history and the most for the Jackets in a game since making 51 vs. Loyola Marymount on Dec. 22, 1990.
• Tech’s 30 assists tied for the sixth most in program history. The last time the Jackets had 30 or more occurred Nov. 16, 2006 against Georgia State (also 30).
• Tech shot 60.3 percent (47-for-78) from the floor, the highest in 127 games under head coach Brian Gregory. The previous high was 58.3 percent vs. Virginia Tech (28-for-48) on Feb. 18, 2012. The Jackets made 64.9 percent of their shots in the second half.
• The explosion surprised even Gregory, who said after the game, “I guarantee there wasn’t one person that was at the game or listened on the radio that ever thought they’d hear ‘a Georgia Tech team coached by Brian Gregory just scored 116 points.’ That’s a guarantee.”
• In fact, no Gregory-coached team – Tech or Dayton – has ever scored 100 points. The Yellow Jackets’ previous high in four-plus seasons under Gregory was 92 against Florida A&M in his first season of 2011-12. The Flyers achieved a high of 96 in a victory over Massachusetts in 2010.
• It was the most points scored against Cornell in school history, a stretch of 2,594 games. The record had held by Penn in 1972 (111 points).
• Last season, only one Division I team scored more than 116 points in a game against a Division I opponent. Indiana scored 126 against Mississippi Valley State.
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).