ATLANTA (Feb. 28) — Georgia Tech concludes the regular season with Atlantic Coast Conference games at North Carolina Wednesday at 9 p.m. at the Smith Center and at home against Clemson Saturday at 1 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center.
Both games will be televised on the Raycom-Jefferson Pilot ACC network. In Atlanta, the North Carolina game will be carried on WHOT (Channel 34) and the Clemson contest on WATL (Channel 36). Both games can also be heard on the Georgia Tech-ISP network (WGST 640AM/105.7 FM in Atlanta), featuring Wes Durham and Randy Waters.
The Yellow Jackets enter the week with a record of 12-15 overall and 4-10 in the ACC after last Sunday’s 76-64 loss at Wake Forest.
“We’re trying to finish this thing strong and go in to the ACC Tournament with some momentum,” said Tech head coach Bobby Cremins, who will coach his final game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, where he has compiled a record of 196-48 (.803).
“We’ve played better the last two games. We had a great win over NC State, and then against Wake Forest we hung in there in a tough road game.”
After experimenting with the starting five, Cremins has returned to the original quintet of 7-0 senior Jason Collier (Springfield, Ohio), 6-11 junior Alvin Jones (Lakeland, Fla.) and 6-6 senior Jason Floyd (Hampton, Ga.) in the frontcourt, with 5-11 sophomore Tony Akins (Lilburn, Ga.) and 6-3 junior Shaun Fein (Centerville, Mass.) as the guards.
Collier leads Tech in both scoring (16.3) and rebounding (9.3). He ranks seventh in the ACC in scoring and first in rebounding, and he leads the league with 11 double-doubles, including five in ACC play. Jones averages 10.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and an ACC-leading 2.6 blocks per game, while Floyd averages 9.0 points and 3.3 rebounds.
Akins, who has averaged 17.3 points over the last four games, is Tech’s second-leading scorer at 11.6 points per game along with a team-leading 3.5 assists per game. Fein contributes 10.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg and 3.3 apg with an assist-turnover ratio of 1.68. He also leads Tech with 30 steals.
Tech’s top subs are 6-4 freshman forward Clarence Moore (Norco, La.), 5.0 ppg and 3.9 rpg, 5-10 junior guard T.J. Vines (Woodstock, Ga.), 4.4 ppg and 2.3 apg, and 6-7 junior forward Jon Babul (North Attleboro, Mass.), 3.9 ppg and 4.1 rpg.
“North Carolina will really be ready to play on Senior Day for Ed Cota,” said Cremins. “He’s been a great player in this league the last four years.”
Cota, the 6-1 senior, is leading the league for the fourth straight year with 7.2 assists per game, along with 10.7 points per game.
The Tar Heels (17-11, 8-6 ACC), who defeated Tech 70-53 in Atlanta last month, counter Tech’s frontline of Collier and Jones with 7-0 junior Brendan Haywood, 13.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game and a .735 field goal percentage, and 6-11 sophomore Kris Lang, 8.5 ppg and 4.4 rpg. Swingman Jason Capel, a 6-8 sophomore who averages 12.8 ppg and 6.8 rpg, and 6-4 freshman guard Joseph Forte, the team’s leading scorer at 16.2 ppg, round out the starting five.
Clemson (10-17, 4-10 ACC, pending Wednesday vs. Duke) features the ACC’s second-leading scorer in Will Solomon, a 6-1 sophomore guard who averages 20.3 points per game. The lineup also includes 6-0 freshman guard Edward Scott, 6.1 ppg and 2.7 apg; 6-9 senior forward Andrius Jurkunas, 8.5 ppg and 5.3 rpg; 6-8 sophomore forward Chucky Gilmore, 3.4 ppg and 6.4 rpg; and 7-1 junior center Adam Allenspach, 11.8 ppg and 7.2 rpg.
“Clemson is coming off a great road win at NC State,” said Cremins. “Will Solomon has had a great year.”
The Series with North Carolina
North Carolina has won three in a row and seven of the last eight to take a 48-14 lead in the series with Georgia Tech, which began in 1925. Tech is 12-30 against the Tar Heels under head coach Bobby Cremins.
In the first meeting this season, North Carolina defeated the Yellow Jackets, 70-53, last month in Atlanta. Jason Capel paced the Tar Heels with 20 points, and Brendan Haywood added 14 points and eight rebounds. Jason Collier led Tech with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Tech has a record of 3-11 at the Smith Center, recording wins there in 1991, 1994 and, most recently, a 92-83 overtime win in 1996. The Yellow Jackets are 4-18 in all games on the Tar Heels’ homecourt.
The Series with Clemson
Clemson holds a 48-46 lead in the series with Georgia Tech, which dates back to 1913.
The series has been dominated by the home team, which has won 23 of the last 26 regular season meetings. The last win by a road team was Clemson’s 55-53 victory in 1996-97. Tech is 19-11 against the Tigers at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center, including a 66-62 victory in last year’s game in Atlanta.
Clemson captured the first meeting this year with a 70-58 decision at Littlejohn Coliseum. Andrius Jurkunas scored 21 points and Will Solomon scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half to lead the Tigers. Tony Akins led the Jackets with 18 points and Jason Collier recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Georgia Tech seniors Jason Collier, Jason Floyd and Paul Trotti (Marietta, Ga.) will be honored prior to their final home game Saturday against Clemson.
Collier, an all-ACC selection last season, has played the two seasons for the Jackets after transferring from Indiana. He has averaged 16.8 points and 8.3 rebounds in 52 games in a Tech uniform.
Floyd has started 58 of his 118 games, averaging 8.3 points. He ranks sixth in Tech history with 162 career three-pointers.
Trotti, a 6-2 guard, is a walk-on and practice player as well as a Dean’s List student in Mechanical Engineering.
Collier Back on Track
After a brief scoring drought, Jason Collier is back on track, averaging 20.5 points in Tech’s last two games. Collier has led Tech in scoring all season, currently averaging 16.3 points per game, but he had averaged just 11.9 points for the previous eight contests before scoring 22 against NC State and 19 versus Wake Forest.
Collier, who ranks sixth in the ACC in scoring, continues to lead the league in rebounding with 9.3 per game. He is bidding to become the first Tech player to lead the league.
Jones Climbs Rebounding List
With six rebounds against Wake Forest, center Alvin Jones moved into the Top 10 on Tech’s career list. The 6-11 junior is the ACC’s active leader with 741 career rebounds. With four more rebounds, he will move past former Yellow Jacket Bruce Dalrymple for ninth place in Tech history.
Tech’s Career Rebounding Leaders
1. Malcolm Mackey (1990-93) 12052. Matt Harpring (1995-98) 2113. Jim Caldwell (1963-65) 9934. Rich Yunkus (1969-71) 9555. Tom Hammonds (1986-89) 8856. James Forrest (1992-95) 8467. John Salley (1983-86) 7988. Eddie Elisma (1994-97) 7629. Bruce Dalrymple (1984-87) 74410. Alvin Jones (1998-present) 741