Feb. 26, 2016
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech (16-12, 6-9 ACC) looks to extend its three-game winning streak this weekend when the Yellow Jackets travel to Boston College (7-21, 0-15 ACC) for a 12 p.m. regionally-televised contest Saturday at the Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Tech, winner of four of its last five games, has won three straight regular-season ACC games for the first time in eight years, having beaten Florida State, No. 19 Notre Dame and Clemson by a total of 10 points. The Yellow Jackets have won their six ACC games this season by an average of 4.3 points, and their nine losses have come by an average of 6.7 points. Tech is 2-5 on the road in ACC games this season, 3-6 overall.
Boston College is coming off a 71-56 home-court loss to Virginia Tech Tuesday night. The Eagles have dropped all but one of their conference games by double-digit points, keeping only No. 9 North Carolina close (68-65). BC won both meetings with Tech last season, one of those in the ACC Tournament, by a total of three points.
Saturday’s game will be televised regionally on the ACC’s Regional Sports Networks (Fox Sports South in Georgia) and will be streamed live on ESPN3. Radio coverage of the game 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). The game can also be heard nationally on satellite radio (Sirius 106, XM 193).
Streaking – Georgia Tech has won three straight regular-season ACC games for the first time since the 2007-08 season (Jan. 19 vs. Virginia Tech, Jan. 23 at NC State, Jan. 27 at Virginia). Tech has beaten three straight ACC teams three other times since, but all of those instances included an ACC Tournament game. The last time the Yellow Jackets beat four straight ACC teams in the regular-season was 2001-02, beating NC State, Virginia, Wake Forest and Florida State to close the regular season.
Winning – With three regular-season games remaining, Tech has matched its highest win total, both overall and in the ACC, under Brian Gregory, and has its most wins since the 2009-10 season. The Yellow Jackets have assured themselves of finishing the regular season above .500.
Climbing – Tech is in 11th place in the ACC standings, a half-game ahead of Florida State (6-10), and one game behind 10th-place Virginia Tech (7-8). The Jackets can avoid playing on Tuesday at the ACC Tournament by holding their position. They hold a tiebreaker over FSU, but lose a potential tiebreaker with Virginia Tech.
Father-son matchup – Junior guard Josh Heath played for his father, Stan, for one year at South Florida before transferring to Tech. He will now play against his father, who is on the coaching staff at Boston College.
Oliver twist – Saturday will be the first opportunity for former Tech star Brian Oliver to call a game for television involving his alma mater. Oliver, who works for the ACC Network, was part of the Yellow Jackets’ famed “Lethal Weapon 3” unit that propelled Tech to the 1990 ACC Championship and a berth in the Final Four.
Toughening up – ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) has Tech No. 49 with an overall schedule strength of No. 4. ESPN has projected all the teams above Tech (except those ineligible to play) as “in” the NCAA Tournament. CBSSports.com ranks Tech’s overall strength of schedule at No. 21 (through games of Feb. 25). The Jackets’ non-conference schedule strength is rated No. 116.
Experienced – According to KenPom.com, Tech has the ninth most experienced roster in the nation, with an average number of years of experience at 2.37. Tech has five seniors (one a fifth-year), three juniors (one in his fourth year in the program) and four sophomores (one in his third year).
Close calls – Tech’s 15 ACC games have been decided by an average of 5.5 points, only one by double digits (66-52 loss at Clemson).
Icy reception – Tech is 2-5 against Boston College in the Conte Forum, but the Jackets won 68-60 on their last visit there on Jan. 21, 2014.
THEY SAID IT…
“We couldn’t guard Adam Smith and Marcus Georges-Hunt. Second-half offense was really good for them tonight. I think they have a good team. I think they’re a little bit under the radar right now, but they’re playing good basketball. Brian [Gregory] has done a good job of really keeping those guys together and focused. They seem like really good kids. They play hard. They’re just playing really well. They believe in each other, and they got a guy in Marcus Georges-Hunt who’s an all-league type guy. They’ve now won some big close games.” – Clemson head coach Brad Brownell after Tech’s 75-73 victory Tuesday night
THE JACKETS BY NUMBERS
During Tech’s three-game winning streak – Tech has made 49.4 percent of its field goal tries, 39.3 percent of its three-point tries and 73.3 percent of its free throw attempts. The Jackets also out-rebounded the three opponents by 6.7 per game. Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith have scored 125 of Tech’s 224 points in the three games, while the Jackets’ four post players have combined for 65 points.
Still relentless on the boards – Tech is out-rebounding its opponents by 7.0 per game, which ranks 27th in the nation and No. 4 in the ACC. Tech has out-rebounded 23 of 28 opponents this season with two ties. Tech is No. 4 in the ACC and 26th nationally in offensive rebounds per game (13.6).
Turnovers down – Tech is averaging 10.5 turnovers this season (5th in the ACC, 21st NCAA), down 2.2 per game (12.7) from last season. Tech’s turnover rate and ranking are the same in ACC games only.
Scoring up – Tech is averaging 74.5 points per game, more than 10 points per game higher than a year ago. The Yellow Jackets have scored 71.7 per ACC game, also more than 10 points per game better than last year’s average.
From downtown – Tech’s 35.2-percent success rate from three-point range is up more than eight percent over last year. The Yellow Jackets have hit 34.3 percent against the ACC.
Defending the perimeter – Tech is No. 3 in three-point percentage defense, giving up 32.1-percent from beyhond the arc and 162 total threes, second-fewest in the ACC by one. The Jackets have yielded 32.2 percent in conference games, No. 2 in fewest threes allowed (78).
Profiting from charity – Tech has shot 70.9 percent from the free throw line this year, its best figure since the 1994-95 season. The Jackets are converting 70.8 percent in ACC games, best since 2003-04.
But… – However, Tech has been outscored from the free throw line 11 times in 15 ACC games, and by a total of 255-199. In the second half of those games, the difference is 179-118.
Double up – Four Georgia Tech players are averaging in double digits – Marcus Georges-Hunt (16.9 ppg), Adam Smith (14.3), Nick Jacobs (10.6) and Charles Mitchell (10.5). Tech has not finished a season with four or more players averaging in double figures since 2008-09.
Tinkering – Head coach Brian Gregory has used seven different starting lineups this season. Marcus Georges-Hunt is the only Jacket to start every game. Tech has started Georges-Hunt, Adam Smith and Quinton Stephens on the perimeter, Nick Jacobs and Charles Mitchell in the post in each of the last three games and won them all.
Tech’s starting perimeter trio of Georges-Hunt, Smith and Stephens has scored in double digits each twice in the last three games, helping lift Tech to wins over Florida State and Clemson. They combined for 56 of Tech’s 75 points against Clemson, 66 of Tech’s 86 at Florida State.
Tech is 4-2 in Quinton Stephens’ six starts, including the last three games, and is 6-0 when he scores in double digits, including games against Virginia, Florida State and the second meeting against Clemson. Stephens has consistently well in Tech’s last four games, including starts against Florida State, Notre Dame and Clemson, averaging 8.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in that stretch, hitting 13-of-29 shots from the floor and 8-of-22 from three-point range.
Last five games for Marcus Georges-Hunt: 22.2 points per game, 4.4 assists per game, 34-for-59 (57.6 pct.) from the floor, 6-for-14 (42.9 pct.) on threes, 37-for-47 (78.7 pct.) from the free throw line
Adam Smith leads the ACC in three-point field goals made (2.93 per game, 34th in NCAA) and ranks eighth in percentage (40.4). He has averaged 2.93 three-pointers in ACC games and has made 37.9 percent of his tries.
INSIDE THE SERIES WITH BOSTON COLLEGE
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series with Boston College, 12-10, after the Eagles took 64-62 victory on Jan. 25 of last season and also won the teams’ ACC Tournament meeting, 66-65.
Tech had swept the regular-season series from the Eagles in 2013-14 and earned a 73-70 overtime win over BC in the ACC Tournament. Tech earned its second win in seven tries at the Conte Forum, and first since the 2007-08 season, with a 68-60 victory on Jan. 21, then captured a last-second 74-71 win over BC on Feb. 13 in Atlanta.
Boston College is 9-8 against Tech since joining the ACC and has won eight of the last 13 meetings.
Seventeen of the games in the short series have been decided by less than 10 points, 13 of them by four points or less, and two in overtime.
Tech has played BC at three different venues in the Boston area. The Jan. 29, 2005 game was Tech’s first visit to the Conte Forum, BC’s current home court, where the Jackets are 2-5. The first game in the series on Dec. 31, 1946, was played at Boston Arena, and the teams also played in the Boston Garden on Jan. 19, 1980.
Prior to BC’s entry into the ACC, the teams met four times on neutral floors, including one outside the United States, a 65-62 overtime win for the Yellow Jackets in the 1986 Suntory Ball in Tokyo, Japan. The teams have met twice in NCAA Tournament competition, both of them won by Tech. The Yellow Jackets downed the Eagles, 103-89, in the 1996 Southeast Regional second round in Orlando, and eliminated the Eagles two seasons ago, 57-54 in the second round in Milwaukee.
TECH PLAYERS VS. BOSTON COLLEGE
Marcus Georges-Hunt has averaged 16.5 points per game in six career starts against Boston College, including 20 in the teams’ regular-season meeting a year ago. He missed the ACC Tournament game with a broken foot. He has missed double figures only once (9 at Chestnut Hill in 2013-14). Georges-Hunt has hit 45.3 percent of his field goals, 37.5 percent of his threes, including a buzzer-beater while being fouled for a victory at McCamish Pavilion in 2013-14.
Charles Mitchell averaged 8.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in two games for Tech last year, hitting 8-of-13 shots from the floor. He scored two points in each of his two meetings against the Eagles while at Maryland.
Adam Smith scored 12 and 22 points, respectively, in his only two games against Boston College while at Virginia Tech, hitting 5-of-16 three-point tries.
Tadric Jackson and Quinton Stephens each started Tech’s ACC Tournament game against Boston College last year. Jackson scoring a team-high 16 points (6-of-15 FG) and Stephens scoring five (0-for-9 on threes). Stephens scored 17 points (4-of-9 on 3s) in the teams’ regular-season meeting.
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).