Dec. 20, 2007
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech continues a five-game homestand Saturday when the Yellow Jackets host Centenary in a 2 p.m. non-televised game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Yellow Jackets are looking for their first homecourt win after losses to UNC Greensboro on Nov. 9 and Kansas on Tuesday.
The game will not be televised. Radio coverage of the game is provided on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, and can be heard in Atlanta on WQXI-AM (790) and WTSH-FM (107.1). The game is sold out save for a limited number of “single” tickets which will go on sale at 12:30 p.m. at the gates of the Coliseum. These tickets may be purchased with cash only.
Tech is 4-5 for the season, having lost three of its last four games, all to teams currently in the national top 25 rankings (No. 3 Kansas, No. 17 Vanderbilt and No. 13 Indiana).
Centenary is 7-5 following its 76-54 loss Thursday night at North Texas, but has knocked off Texas Tech and SMU.
The Yellow Jackets have not had an under-.500 record nine games into the season since 2001-02, when they also were 4-5 and finished 15-16. That team included a freshman class of B.J. Elder, Anthony McHenry, Isma’il Muhammad and Luke Schenscher that would carry Tech to the national championship game two years later.
This is the third straight year Tech and Centenary have met. The Yellow Jackets defeated the Gentlemen 85-69 in Bossier City, La., during the 2005-06 season, then recorded a 92-52 win last season at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Quick Look at Tech
Head coach Paul Hewitt has used three different starting point guards this season, beginning with freshman Moe Miller in the first two games, then senior Matt Causey for one game and D’Andre Bell for four after Miller was injured in a practice just before the Paradise Jam. Causey returned to the starting lineup for Tech’s Dec. 5 at Georgia State and also started against Kansas.
The rest of the starting lineup remained the same for Tech’s first seven games of the season — senior Anthony Morrow and junior Lewis Clinch on the wings, senior Jeremis Smith at strong forward, and junior Alade Aminu at center. Freshman Gani Lawal replaced Aminu in the lineup for the Georgia State game and also started against KU.
Causey, a 6-0 senior from Gainesville, Ga., played 31 minutes against the Panthers, scoring five points with six assists and no turnovers, but got into foul trouble against the Jayhawks and played just 14 minutes. He ranks sixth in the ACC in assist average (4.00) and assist-turnover ratio (2.12-1) while averaging 5.6 points for the season.
Lawal had his best game of the season at Indiana with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting, and the the 6-8 rookie from Riverdale, Ga., has averaged 6.7 points and 2.9 rebounds this year while hitting a team-high 62.5 percent of his shots from the floor.
Clinch, a 6-3 guard from Cordele, Ga., has reached double-digits in scoring in eight straight games, including an average of 19.3 in his last four and a season-high 22 against both GSU and Kansas. He is Tech’s second-leading scorer at 14.7 points per game (10th in the ACC), and has hit 41.2 percent of his three-point attempts.
Morrow, a 6-5 guard from Charlotte, N.C., who is the Yellow Jackets’ top returning scorer from 2006-07, currently ranks sixth in the ACC with 15.7 points a game. One of Tech’s best all-time three-point shooters with 199 for his career, Morrow has hit 44.9 percent of his three-point attempts this season, and is seventh in the ACC in three-pointers per game (2.44).
Smith, the team captain and a 6-8 forward from Fort Worth, Texas, made the all-tournament team at the Paradise Jam. Tech’s fifth-leading scorer at 9.1 points per game and its leading rebounder at 7.3 per game, Smith has four double-figure rebound games this season, including a pair of double-doubles.
Backcourt reserves — Moe Miller, a 6-1 native of Memphis, Tenn., averaged 9.0 points and 3.5 assists in Tech’s first two games before a back injury sidelined him for the Paradise Jam. He has returned but played limited minutes in the last four games. Bell, a 6-5 native of Los Angeles, averages 5.1 points for the season with 19 assists and has hit 61.5 percent of his shots from the floor. Six-foot-4 freshman Lance Storrs of Decatur, Ga., has excellent long-range shooting ability but has played limited minutes thus far.
Frontcourt reserves — Hewitt can go to 6-10 junior Alade Aminu of Stone Mountain, Ga., 6-8 sophomore Zack Peacock of Miami, Fla., 6-11 red-shirt freshman Brad Sheehan of Latham, N.Y., and 6-10 sophomore Mouhammad Faye of Dakar, Senegal. Aminu is Tech’s fourth-leading scorer (9.4 ppg) and third-leading rebounder (5.2 rpg), and Peacock scored 17 points (12-of-18 from the field combined) against both Vanderbilt and Georgia State. Sheehan has seen limited action, but played 21 minutes in a reserve role at Vanderbilt, and Faye has played mostly in situations where Tech needs his length on defense.
Last Time Out — Kansas 71, Georgia Tech 66
In Tech’s first home game in 38 days, and after a 12-day layoff for final exams, Georgia Tech fell 13 points behind in the second half but rallied to within one in the final minute before succumbing to No. 3 Kansas, 71-66, Tuesday night at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Tech had the ball down 69-66 with nine second left and a chance to tie the game, but turned the ball over at midcourt and did not get off a shot.
Lewis Clinch led Tech with 22 points and Anthony Morrow added 12 for the Jackets, who outrebounded the Jayhawks, 34-29, but turned the ball over 19 times and allows Kansas to shoot 52.2 percent from the floor. Kansas placed four players in double figures, led by Russell Robinson’s 17 points.
Quoting Coach Hewitt
On Tech’s effort in the loss to Kansas — “We talked and did the things that we are capable of doing more tonight than in previous games. I don’t take away anything from Kansas but we did it to ourselves again tonight. We had a two-on-nothing breakaway and didn’t score. You can’t blow as many opportunities as we did tonight against a quality opponent. They are a good basketball team; a very well-coached team. They executed very well tonight and have great size, but we can’t do some of the things we did tonight and expect to be a good basketball team. We’re a talented team, but not a good basketball team and there’s a difference. That’s why I thought we were going to win. We are very talented and were prepared, but we just weren’t prepared well enough. It’s that simple.”
On Tech’s position at this point in the season — “People can make all of the judgments about what we have in our locker room, but we are a good basketball team. When we lose games like this, most of the time we do it to ourselves. We were in this situation at Indiana. Led most of the game and just made three inexplicable decisions that led to a 6-0 run that cost us the game. We have to get in the gym. Now Centenary becomes that game; the turning point. In my heart and mind, I thought this was the turning point game. I thought this would get us right and we would show what we are capable of. Now we have to rack it up again on Saturday.
Quick Personnel Notes
> Tech’s win over Georgia State left head coach Paul Hewitt (197-127 career record) three wins shy of 200 for his career, and left Tech seven wins shy of 1,200 all-time.
> Anthony Morrow, who has 22 three-point field goals in eight games, is in 7th place on Tech’s all-time list for three-point field goals with 199. A comparable year to his last two, when he averaged 70 three-pointers, would vault him into fourth place, ahead of B.J. Elder, Marvin Lewis and Matt Harpring.
> With his first basket against Charlotte in the Paradise Jam, Morrow became the 37th Tech player to score 1,000 career points. He now stands 33rd all-time with 1,087 points and needs 19 to move into 32nd place.
> Morrow has made at least one three-point basket in 18 straight games dating back to last season. But his streak of 11-straight game scoring in double figures was snapped at Georgia State (7 points).
> Morrow has played the second-most minutes (268) for Tech this season, and committed the fewest turnovers (8).
> Morrow is hitting 91.3 percent of his free throws (21-of-23), which would lead the ACC if he had enough free throws made to qualify.
> Morrow played in his 100th career game Tuesday night vs. Kansas.
> Jeremis Smith has four double-figure rebound games this season, twice as many as he had all of last year when he led the team with 5.9 boards per game. He currently paces Tech with 7.3 rebounds per game, and ranks 11th in the ACC.
> Smith has 16 double-figure rebound games in his career, and has led the team in rebounds 37 times.
> Smith, a strong forward, has 27 assists, second on the team behind Matt Causey, and the team’s best assist-turnover ratio (just 12 turnovers). Smith and Causey rank 5th and 6th, respectively, in the ACC in assist-turnover ratio.
> Smith surpassed 500 rebounds for his career against Charlotte, and now has 547. He ranks fourth in that category among the ACC’s active players.
> After hitting just 3-of-14 shots in his first three games, Matt Causey has gone 15-for-26 (8-for-15 on threes) in his last six games.
> Since scoring just five points in the season opener, Alade Aminu put together four straight double-figure games (16.3 ppg) before Indiana. He has scored a total of 15 points, however, in his last four games.
> D’Andre Bell went 7-for-9 from the floor in the Virgin Islands, and has shot 61.5 percent for the season.
> Lewis Clinch has hit double figures in eight straight games, and has averaged 19.3 points in his last four games.
> His 22 points against Kansas equalled his career high first set against Clemson his freshman year, matched at Miami last year and against Georgia State this year.
> Clinch surpassed the 500-point plateau for his career Tuesday night, entering with 499 and now with 521.
> Gani Lawal scored a season-high 17 points at Indiana after getting just 14 in the previous four games. He is shooting a team-high 62.5 percent from the floor, including 16-of-22 in his last four games.
Tech Stock Tips
> Tech has made just 32.8 percent of its three-point tries in the last four games, after making 42.7 percent in its first five games.
> Tech has shot 52.1 percent from the floor, 42.2 percent from three-point range, in its four wins, while holding its foes to 42.0 percent from the floor overall and 35.5 percent from bonus range. It’s just the opposite in the four losses, 43.9 percent from the floor overall (35.9 percent from three) to 51.0 percent for the opponents (40.2 percent from three).
> Scoring averages are mirror opposites in the wins and losses as well (80.8 to 74.5 in the victories, 74.2 to 81.6 in the defeats).
> Tech’s bench players have logged 34.3 percent of available minutes, compared to 28.9 percent for its opponents. Tech’s reserves have shot 45.4 percent from the floor and averaged 21.1 points a game.
> Tech’s opponents have made nearly as many free throws (176) as Tech has attempted (190) this season. The Yellow Jackets have been on the short end of the free throw parade in all but two games (Tennessee State, Georgia State).
> In its Final Four season of 2004 and the 2004-05 season that followed, Georgia Tech was 24-16 away from Alexander Memorial Coliseum and 11-11 on opponents’ home floors. In the two-plus seasons since, Tech is 9-26 away from home and 3-20 on opponents’ home floors. Tech is 2-2 on opponents’ home floors this season.
> Tech’s seniors and juniors have made 39 of a possible 45 starts this season. Seniors Morrow, Smith and Causey have started 21 between them, while juniors Aminu, Bell and Clinch have 19 starts combined.
> Tech head coach Paul Hewitt stands 19th for career victories by an ACC coach with 131.
> Tech is 77-26 in the last four-plus seasons when it has held its opponent under 80 points. Giving up 80 points in a game has resulted in a loss for Tech almost every time in that stretch — Tech is 5-29 in such games. The Jackets are 11-48 in the Paul Hewitt era when they give up 80 points.
> When Tech has allowed less than 70 points, it is 98-16. Tech was 24-0 during its Final Four season in 2003-04 when holding opponents under 70, and 14-1 in 2006-07.
> Tech is 49-9 under Paul Hewitt in games that it has shot 50 percent or better.
> Under Hewitt, Tech is 118-27 when outshooting its foe from the floor and 11-72 when it does not.