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Jackets Get Rematch With Terrapins

Feb. 17, 2006

ATLANTA – Having lost eight of its last nine games and all eight on the road this season, Georgia Tech takes another trip this weekend to visit Maryland at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon at the Comcast Center in College Park, Md.

The game will be regionally televised on the ACC Raycom/JP Sports Network, and air in Atlanta on WATL-TV (WB36). A complete list of stations carrying the game appears at the end of this story.

The Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network provides the radio coverage, which airs in Atlanta on WQXI-AM (790). XM Satellite Radio Ch. 193 will carry the Maryland radio broadcast nationally.

Tech (10-13 overall, 3-9 ACC this season), which snapped an eight-game skid last Sunday with a 71-68 home-court victory over 16th-ranked NC State, couldn’t make it two in a row Wednesday night in Chapel Hill after losing 82-75 to No. 23 North Carolina. Tech is in 11th place in the ACC standings, a game and a half ahead of Wake Forest.

Maryland (15-9 overall, 5-6 ACC), which defeated Tech, 86-74, in Atlanta in the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 25 in Atlanta, has lost five of six games since then, including an 89-77 defeat at Clemson Tuesday night.

The win over NC State notwithstanding, the Yellow Jackets have played more tightly-contested games on the road than at home over the last month, having lost six road games by an average of 5.8 points, last four by a TOTAL of 11 points (Boston College, Virginia Tech, Florida State, North Carolina).

Tech has won only one of its last 11 trips to College Park, and is 1-2 at the Comcast Center, the lone win a 75-64 triumph during the Final Four season of 2003-04.

The brightest spot for Georgia Tech recently continues to be the play of sophomore center Ra’Sean Dickey, who has averaged 14.8 points and 6.5 rebounds over his last 11 games, shooting 66.3 percent and posting three double-doubles.

The 6-9 native of Clio, S.C., is averaging 12.4 points and 6.3 rebounds for the season, ranking second in the ACC in field goal percentage (61.4 pct.). In conference games, he has made 63.6 percent, which leads the ACC.

Dickey’s improvement has helped Anthony Morrow, the ACC’s second-leading three-point shooter (43.8 pct.) and the only Tech player to start every game this season, get more good looks from the outside. A 6-5 guard from Charlotte, N.C., Morrow ranks ninth in the ACC in scoring at 16.7 points. One of four Tech players averaging in double figures, Morrow has averaged 16.1 points and shoots 43.8 percent from three-point range in ACC games.

Mario West, a 6-4 junior from Douglasville, Ga., who is Tech’s best on-the-ball defender, has started Tech’s last three games. West, who shares point guard time with sophomore Zam Fredrick, averaged 4.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game and owns Tech’s best assist-turnover ratio.

Also in the starting five for the last three games are Theodis Tarver, a 6-9 senior from Monroe, La., who started eight games earlier in the year, and Lewis Clinch, a 6-3 freshman from Cordele, Ga., who made his first college start at FSU. Tarver gives the Jackets a strong defensive presence in the post while averaging 3.6 points (52.6 FG pct.) and 3.1 rebounds. Clinch, the ACC’s fifth-leading freshman scorer (7.6 ppg) gives Tech an additional outside shooting threat (45.0 pct. in ACC games).

Off the bench on the perimeter, Fredrick, a 6-0 sophomore from St. Matthews, S.C., has given Tech a big lift offensively in the last three games, averaging 18.7 points while shooting 62.9 percent from the floor. Fredrick averages 10.4 points a game for the season and has shot 41.5 percent from three-point range in ACC games. D’Andre Bell, a 6-5 wingman from Los Angeles, Calif., averages 4.1 points and 2.0 rebounds for the season.

In the post, Tech has Jeremis Smith, a 6-6 sophomore from Fort Worth, Texas, who started Tech’s first 20 games this season and has posted eight double-doubles. Fully recovered from a dislocated kneecap that sidelined him for 17 games last year, Smith averages 11.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, third-best in the ACC.

SECOND-HALF BLUES

For the fifth time in the last 10 games, Georgia Tech held a halftime lead Wednesday night only to see it evaporate after intermission, watching a 55-42 advantage over North Carolina in Chapel Hill turn into an 82-75 loss.

The Yellow Jackets had shot 61.3 percent from the floor, and made 9-of-10 three-point shots, in building a 20-point first half lead. But Tech scored just 20 points after intermission, going 8-for-22 from the floor and 0-for-7 from three-point range.

It was a scene that played out a couple of times before, when the Jackets scored just 20 second-half points in home-court losses to Clemson and Miami.

The lone exception to the pattern occurred last Sunday against No. 16 NC State, when the Jackets led 35-29 at intermission and held on to win 71-68.

During the the past 10 games, Tech’s offense has been handicapped by turnovers (18.9 per game overall), and the Yellow Jackets endured long second-half scoring droughts in some of those losses (one field goal over an 11:35 stretch against Maryland, one over a 12:53 stretch against Clemson, one FG over a 9:27 stretch against Miami, one FG over a six-minute stretch at North Carolina).

Some numbers from the last 10 games: Tech has averaged 5.8 fewer points in the second half than it has in the first … Tech has shot 39.6 percent after intermission, 51.3 percent before … Tech has shot 32.9 percent from three-point range after intermission, 54.1 percent before … Tech has blocked twice as many shots, forced 11 more turnovers and taken eight more steals in the first half than the second … Opponents are shooting 48.0 percent from the floor and 44.3 percent from three-point range after halftime, 45.3 and 37.6 percent, respectively, before halftime.

LINEUP SHUFFLE INJECTS ENERGY

Following a 70-53 homecourt loss to Miami on Feb. 4, head coach Paul Hewitt inserted three different players in the starting lineup for the Florida State game, creating the Yellow Jackets’ sixth different starting lineup this season. Sophomore guard Anthony Morrow and sophomore center Ra’Sean Dickey remained in the lineup, and were joined by junior guard Mario West, senior forward Theodis Tarver and freshman guard Lewis Clinch.

The revamped lineup has produced better aggressiveness and offensive punch, with the Jackets producing three consecutive 50-percent shooting efforts for the first time since early last season (Michigan, Georgia, Air Force). It is the first time Tech has accomplished that against three straight ACC foes since the last three regular-season games of the 1995-96 season (Clemson, NC State, Maryland).

Over the last three games, Tech has made 51.9 percent of its field goal tries (83-of-160) and 56.3 percent of its three-point attempts (27-of-48). Against FSU, Tech made 11-of-18 three-point shots, a 61.1-percent rate that was the best the Jackets have achieved in a game under Paul Hewitt.

TELEVISION STATIONS CARRYING GEORGIA TECH-MARYLAND

NORTH CAROLINA: Charlotte: WBTV (CBS) Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville: WRAL (CBS) Greensboro / W-S / High Pt.: WFMY (CBS) Greenville/New Bern/Wash.: WCTI (UPN) Wilmington: WSFX (FOX) SOUTH CAROLINA: Greenville / Spartanburg / Ash: WBSC (WB) Columbia: WOLO (ABC) Florence / Myrtle Beach: WWMB (UPN) Charleston: WCSC (CBS) VIRGINIA: Roanoke/ Lynchburg: WDBJ-DT (Digital) DC / MARYLAND: Washington, DC: WDCA (UPN) Baltimore: WNUV (WB) Salisbury: UPN-21 (UPN) GEORGIA: Atlanta: WATL (WB) Savannah: WGSA (UPN) Augusta: WBEK (IND) Columbus: WLGA (UPN) Dalton: WDNN (IND) NEW ENGLAND: Boston: WSBK (UPN) Providence / New Bedford: WLWC (UPN) Springfield / Holyoke: WSBK (UPN-Boston)

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