ATLANTA (Feb. 14) – After playing its last four ACC games at home, Georgia Tech hits the road for its next two contests with a nationally televised game at 22nd-ranked Maryland Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Cole Field House, followed by a regionally-televised game at Florida State next Monday at 7 p.m. at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.
The Maryland game will be nationally televised by ESPN, with Brad Nessler and Dan Bonner handling the announcing, while the Florida State contest will air in Atlanta on Fox Sports Net South, with Bonner and Mike Goldberg as the announcers. Both games can be heard on the Georgia Tech-ISP network (WGST 640AM/105.7 FM in Atlanta), featuring Wes Durham and Randy Waters.
The Yellow Jackets (11-12, 3-7 ACC), coming off an 84-65 loss to third-ranked Duke, play four of their next five games on the road.
“Duke totally took us out of our offense, and now we’ve got to go on the road and play the team that beat Duke,” said Tech head coach Bobby Cremins. “But we’re going to stay after it. We beat both of these teams at home, but in the ACC, things are much tougher on the road.”
Georgia Tech continues to use its revamped starting lineup, including 6-4 freshman Clarence Moore (Norco, La.).
Senior forward Jason Collier leads Tech in both scoring (16.6) and rebounding (9.8). The 7-footer from Springfield, Ohio, ranks fifth in the ACC in scoring and first in rebounding, and he leads the league with 11 double-doubles, including five in ACC play.
Collier is joined in the frontcourt by 6-11 junior center Alvin Jones (Lakeland, Fla.), who averages 10.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game, while Moore averages 5.3 points and 3.6 rebounds.
T.J. Vines (Woodstock, Ga.), a 5-10 junior who averages 4.5 points and 2.2 assists, combines with 6-3 junior Shaun Fein (Centerville, Mass.), 10.8 ppg and 3.3 apg, in the Tech backcourt.
“We’re going to continue to go with that lineup,” said Cremins. “There are still openings, but they have to be earned.
Tony Akins (Lilburn, Ga.), a 5-11 sophomore, averages 10.7 ppg and a team-leading 3.8 apg off the bench, while 6-6 senior Jason Floyd contributes 9.5 ppg and 3.5 rpg. Michael Isenhour (Lawrenceville, Ga.), a 6-9 sophomore with 1.2 ppg and 1.0 rpg, also sees action in the frontcourt. Junior forward Jon Babul (North Attleboro, Mass.), 4.1 ppg and 4.2 rpg, has missed the last seven games with a strained right quadriceps.
Since losing to Tech in Atlanta last month, Maryland (17-7, 6-4 ACC) has won six of its last eight games, including last week’s 98-87 victory at Duke.
Sophomore Juan Dixon, who had a career-best 31 points against the Jackets, is second in the ACC in scoring at 18.0 ppg, along with 5.8 rpg and 3.5 apg. Forward Terence Morris, a 6-9 junior, contributes 16.1 ppg, 9.0 rpg and 2.5 bpg. Center Lonny Baxter, a 6-8 sophomore, averages 15.8 ppg and 8.8 rpg, while 6-8 sophomore Danny Miller, 9.2 ppg and 3.0 rpg, and 6-3 freshman point guard Steve Blake, 6.3 ppg and 6.4 apg, round out the starting five.
“Maryland has played very well since they started 0-3 in the league,” said Cremins. “Juan Dixon has been sensational-he’s so quick-and Terence Morris is stepping up for them.”
Florida State is led by the perimeter tandem of 6-9 senior Ron Hale, 16.6 ppg, and 6-7 senior Damous Anderson, 15.3 ppg, who scored 24 against the Jackets in Atlanta. Point guard Delvon Arrington, a 5-11 junior, averages 8.7 ppg and 6.4 apg, while 6-8 senior Oliver Simmons, 7.5 ppg and 5.1 rpg, and 7-0 sophomore David Anderson, 2.8 ppg and 4.3 rpg, start in the frontcourt.
The Series With Maryland
Georgia Tech snapped a seven-game losing streak against Maryland with a 69-68 victory on Jan. 19 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Shaun Fein hit four three pointers and scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Yellow Jackets, who trailed by 11 points with five minutes to play in the first half. Jason Collier recorded a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds, and Alvin Jones had 10 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots. Juan Dixon led the Terps with 31 points, but Tech held Terence Morris to 11 points.
Tech has a 10-14 record at Cole Field House but has lost five in a row on Maryland’s homecourt. The Jackets’ last win at College Park was an 83-71 decision in 1993-94.
The Yellow Jackets lead the series, 29-23, and Tech’s 29-19 mark against Maryland since joining the ACC is its best record against any conference foe.
Tech head coach Bobby Cremins has a 29-14 record against the Terps, including a victory in his first ACC game with a 45-43 win at Cole Field House on Dec. 23, 1981.
The Series with Florida State
Georgia Tech has won two in a row and three of the last four meetings with Florida State, but the Seminoles lead the series, 23-18. FSU won the first six meetings after joining the ACC in 1991-92, but since then, Tech has won eight of the last 11.
Last month in Atlanta, Shaun Fein had a game-high 18 points and five assists and Jason Collier contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead Tech to a 65-62 victory.
The Seminoles’ last win in the series was 75-56 victory last season in Atlanta.
Tech has won two in a row and four of the last five games at Tallahassee. The Jackets are 4-4 at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center and 7-11 in all games on FSU’s homecourt.
Last year’s meeting in Tallahassee was a memorable one as Tech earned a 111-108 double-overtime victory, led by 58 points and 27 rebounds from the duo of Jason Collier (career-high 30 points, 10 points) and Alvin Jones (career-high 28 points, 17 rebounds). After FSU’s Adrian Crawford sent the game into overtime with a running jumper with 4.5 seconds left, Jason Floyd rescued the Jackets with a three-pointer with 32.9 seconds left in the first overtime to force the second extra session. The game was second-highest scoring ACC game of the 1990s and the highest since Duke defeated Maryland, 114-110, in overtime in 1990.
After shooting just 31.1 percent (56-180) from the field in losses to Wake Forest, North Carolina and Clemson, Georgia Tech improved to 39.5 percent against Florida A&M, followed by 47.7 percent against Virginia-the Jackets’ season high in a conference game-and 40.4 percent against Duke. Beginning with the second half against FAMU, when the Jackets hit 18 of 35 shots (.514), Tech has shot 45.6 percent (60-131) over the last five halves.
Lineup Changes Pay Dividends
After using the same starting lineup for the first 20 games of the season, head coach Bobby Cremins made two changes against Florida A&M, adjustments that paid dividends as Tech has won two of its last three games. Freshman swingman Clarence Moore and junior point guard T.J. Vines moved into the starting five, replacing Jason Floyd and Tony Akins, respectively.
Moore has averaged 13.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.3 steals in three games as a starter. He has hit 14 of 22 shots from the field (63.6 percent) and 11 of 14 from the free throw line (78.6 percent).
Vines, who started 11 games last year, has averaged seven points and four assists while committing only three turnovers in the two contests.
Tony Akins has averaged 10 points in a reserve role. Against Virginia, Akins and Floyd combined for 17 points off the bench.
Tech Holds Cavaliers to 47 Points
In its 68-47 victory over Virginia on Feb. 12, Georgia Tech allowed its fewest points in an ACC game since a 48-43 victory over Maryland on Feb. 19, 1985. Tech’s 21-point win was its largest margin of victory against an ACC opponent in 72 games, since a 21-point victory over Florida State on Jan. 27, 1996.
Tech held Virginia to 27.6 percent shooting from the field, a season-low for the Cavaliers and the Jackets’ best defensive performance against an ACC team since limiting Virginia to 24.7 percent in a 68-56 victory in the 1992 ACC Tournament quarterfinals.