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Jackets Host Pittsburgh for Senior Night

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THE FLATS – Now in the last week of the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season, Georgia Tech concludes a three-game homestand Wednesday night, hosting Pittsburgh for Senior Night and a 9 p.m. tip at McCamish Pavilion. The second of two scheduled meetings between the teams this season, the Panthers took a 73-64 victory over the Yellow Jackets on Feb. 8 in Pittsburgh.

Georgia Tech update (15-14, 9-9 ACC) – Looking to win their seventh consecutive game at home, Tech sits in a five-way tie for fifth place in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets are 6-3 over their last eight conference games, a stretch that includes home victories over NC State, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Clemson and Miami, as well as a road win at Wake Forest.

Pittsburgh update (15-15, 6-13 ACC) – The Panthers conclude their regular season with Wednesday night’s game and have a bye on the season’s final weekend. Pitt has lost six straight games since defeating the Yellow Jackets on Feb. 8, including road games at Virginia Tech, Florida State and last Saturday at NC State.

Broadcast information – Live television on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network (Fox Sports South in Georgia). Online streaming available on ACC Network Extra via the ESPN app. Radio coverage by Learfield IMG College (680 AM and 93.7 FM the Fan in Atlanta, TuneIn app). Tech broadcast available on satellite radio (XM ch. 380, internet ch. 970).

SENIOR NIGHT

Wednesday night’s game will be the final home game in the careers of two senior players – center James Banks III and guard Shembari Phillips – and student manager Justin Wrenn.

Banks and Phillips are both from the Atlanta area and returned home to play for the Yellow Jackets following two years each at Texas and Tennessee, respectively. Banks has been a mainstay in the middle for the Jackets, ranking among the nation’s leaders in blocked shots while posting 13 double-doubles. Phillips had been a part-time starter and an important contributor of the bench in his two seasons.

Head coach Josh Pastner meets the media prior to Tuesday's practice.

THE TIPOFF

  • Never on Tuesday – Because Georgia Tech has dropped the appeal of its postseason ban by the NCAA, it will not play in next week’s ACC Tournament. It is worth noting, however, that the Yellow Jackets would be assured of a first-round bye for the first time since the conference expanded to 15 teams. The Yellow Jackets (9-9) are in a three-way tie for sixth place in the ACC standings with Notre Dame and Clemson, teams the Jackets are 1-2 against collectively this season. A fifth-place finish (at least a tie if not outright) is still in play if Tech can win both of its games this week. A ninth-place finish is also in play if Tech loses both games and NC State (9-10) wins its last game.
  • The News at Ten – A win over Pittsburgh would give Tech 10 ACC wins for the first time since the Yellow Jackets went 13-3 to win the 1995-96 regular season title in the ACC. Tech has nine ACC wins for the first time since the 2003-04 squad went 9-7 and advanced to the Final Four.
  • Even it up – A win over Pitt or Clemson this week would assure Georgia Tech if its first .500 season in the ACC since 2006-07 (8-8 in a 16-game schedule). Since its last regular-season ACC title in 1995-96, Tech has finished the regular season .500 in conference games just four times.
  • Home stretch – Georgia Tech has won its last six home games (five of them ACC games) after starting the season 3-6 within the confines of McCamish Pavilion. Tech has won as many as five straight ACC home games only four times since 1995-96 (8-0 at home) – in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2010. Its last six-game home ACC win streak occurred in 1996 when the Jackets went 8-0 at home in the conference.
  • Never easy – Since its 71-52 win at Boston College on Jan. 11, none of the Yellow Jackets’ ACC games have been decided by more than nine points with the exception of their 76-57 win over Virginia Tech on Feb. 4. Only five of Tech’s ACC games this season have been decided by double digits.
  • A make-or-miss game – After ranking near the bottom of the ACC in shooting over the first three years under Josh Pastner, Georgia Tech now ranks No. 2 in the ACC in field goal percentage (46.1) against the conference, No. 6 in three-point percentage (33.1) and No. 10 in scoring (69.94). See chart on page 4.
  • More balanced – Tech ranks 10th in the ACC in scoring average in conference games (69.94) and seventh in scoring defense (70.28). The Jackets have typically ranked near the top in defense (average ranking 4.3) and near the bottom in offense (14.3) the last three seasons. Tech also ranks near the middle in offensive (9th) and defensive efficiency (6th) against the league, according to KenPom.com.
  • Clamping down – Tech has won its last five ACC games at home (NC State, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Clemson, Miami), holding all five to less than 60 points (57.8 ppg) and limiting them to 31.1 percent shooting from the floor, 14.7 percent from three-point range.
  • Twelve – The number of games missed due to injury for Tech players this season. Tech has had its full roster available for only 15 games. Leading scorer Michael Devoe was sidelined for three games with an injured left foot. Reserve forward Evan Cole missed two games with an ankle sprain. Jordan Usher did not play in the season’s first seven games, sitting out as a transfer.
  • Six – The number of different starting lineups Tech has used this season. The most frequent has been Jose Alvarado, Michael Devoe, Jordan Usher, Moses Wright and James Banks III, used 17 times in the last 20 games, interrupted only by Devoe’s injury that forced him to miss three games. Moses Wright is the only Jacket to start every game this season.
  • Guard’s Game – Tech has four starters averaging in double figures this season in ACC games, but starting guards Michael Devoe and Jose Alvarado, Tech’s two leading scorers, have accounted for 39.6 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ points in ACC games, and 41.3 percent of the scoring in games in which they have both played.
  • All-for-ado – Georgia Tech has averaged 70.0 points and shot 46.2 percent from the floor in the 20 games since Jose Alvarado returned to the court from injury Dec. 22. The Yellow Jackets have shot 50 percent or better in six of those games.
  • Wright stuff – Moses Wright has scored 10 or more in all but six games this season, and has doubled his scoring and rebounding averages over his sophomore season. He ranks 16th in the ACC in scoring, 13th in rebounding and third in field goal percentage. Until his 33 points at Syracuse, Wright had scored 20 or more in a game only once this season (22 at North Carolina on Jan. 4).
  • Big miss – Jose Alvarado has averaged 14.9 points (45.6 FG pct., 35.0 3pt pct.), 4.1 assists and 2.4 steals in 20 games since his return from an ankle injury on Dec. 22. He has scored 20 or more points six times.
  • 10-K – Alvarado enters Wednesday night’s game with 998 career points. His first basket will make him the 45th Georgia Tech player to cross that milestone.
  • The Brooklyn Burglar strikes again – Alvarado was at his best thievery again Saturday night, getting seven steals in Tech’s win over Miami. He set a Tech record back on Jan. 25 with nine against NC State, snapping the mark of eight set by another Brooklyn native, Kenny Anderson. Alvarado ranks No. 2 in the ACC n steals in conference games.
  • Crack that whip – Michael Devoe’s line for the last eight games (all in double digits) is 16.1 points per game, 4.8 assists per game, 50.6 percent (44-of-87) from the floor, 42.9 percent (15-for-35) from three-point range, 83.9 percent (26-for-31) from the free throw line. He has hit 42.6 percent of his threes in ACC games.
  • No ducking – Georgia Tech’s schedule is the 23rd-strongest in the nation according to the NCAA NET rankings. Tech is 2-7 against quad 1 teams and 5-6 against quad 2 teams, five of those games against non-conference teams. The Jackets have one remaining game against a quad 1 or 2 team (at Clemson). The Jackets’ non-conference schedule rates 71st in the NET.

SERIES VS. PITTSBURGH

  • Pittsburgh won the first three meetings between the two teams after the Panthers became members of the ACC, but the Yellow Jackets have come back to split the last six. The Panthers won the first scheduled meeting between the teams in 2019-20 by a 73-64 count on Feb. 8 in Pittsburgh.
  • Tech’s 69-54 win on its Jan. 13, 2018 visit to the Petersen Events Center was the widest margin of victory for either team since Pitt joined the ACC. The other meetings between the two teams as ACC brethren have been decided by an average of six points.
  • The teams have played home-and-away only once since the Panthers joined the ACC, but are doing so for the second time this season.
  • Tech won the first five games in the series, prior to Pitt’s entry into the ACC, all of which took place between 1966 and 1989.
  • The two most entertaining games between Tech and the former Big East member played in the same month of the 1989-90 season, when the Yellow Jackets were on the way to their second ACC title and first Final Four appearance. Bobby Cremins and Paul Evans were the respective head coaches at the time.
  • Tech overcame an early 26-5 deficit to win the ACC/Big East Challenge game in Hartford in early December, getting 42 points from Dennis Scott, including the game-winner with 8 seconds left. Later in the month, the Panthers came to Atlanta for a Kuppenheimer Classic game at the Omni, and Tech won the game without head coach Bobby Cremins, who was attending his father’s funeral. Kenny Anderson recorded a triple-double with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 18 assists.
  • Tech scored easy wins over Pitt in the first three games of the series, all under head coach Whack Hyder, two of which were played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on the Tech campus.
  • Tech is 2-1 against the Panthers’ current head coach, Jeff Capel, having scored an 86-65 victory over VCU during the 2003-04 season when Capel was the Rams’ head coach.

James Banks III meets the media prior to Tuesday's practice.

WHAT’S TRENDING

  • Among ACC teams (according to KenPom.com), Tech ranks No. 4 in effective field goal percentage (50.9) against the league, the Yellow Jackets’ highest ranking in that category since they were No. 2 in 2010 (49.0). They also are No. 9 in offensive efficiency (99.5).
  • The Jackets rank No. 2 in percentage of points scored on two-point field goals (58.5), and have been the No. 1 team in the ACC in that category all four years under Josh Pastner. Tech ranks No. 7 nationally in all games (59.4 pct.).
  • Tech has exceeded 100 points per 100 possessions 10 times, seven of those games coming since Jan. 4 at North Carolina, which was the Jackets’ highest efficiency rating of the season (132.2). In its last six games, Tech exceeded 100 against Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
  • Tech ranks No. 22 nationally in defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com (92.2 points per 100 possessions), No. 18 nationally in effective defensive field goal percentage (45.1) and No. 5 in three-point field goal defense (28.2).
  • Tech has held 13 opponents this season under 40 percent from the floor (six ACC opponents), and 11 under 30 percent from three-point range (six ACC opponents – Louisville 3-of-24, Clemson 2-for-20, Miami 2-for-17).
  • Tech has held six opponents to their lowest offensive efficiency of the season – Elon, Arkansas, Nebraska, Boise State, Hawai’i and Miami. Four other teams, including Boston College, NC State, Virginia Tech and Louisville, posted one of their five lowest offensive efficiency ratings against the Yellow Jackets.
  • Tech’s adjusted tempo is 69.8 possessions per game according to KenPom.com (No. 90 in the nation), its best rate and ranking in Josh Pastner’s four years at Tech. The Yellow Jackets’ tempo in league play (69.8) is the fourth-highest, hitting 70 or more in each of the last five games (Louisville, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Clemson, Miami), and 17 times overall this season.
  • Tech has reached 70 possessions per game over the course of a full season only four times since 1997, the first year KenPom kept track – 1997-98 (72.3), 2000-01 (72.1), 2001-02 (70.5) and 2008-09 (70.5).
  • Two fouls in the first half? No problem. Georgia Tech ranks No. 1 in the nation, according to KenPom.com, in 2-foul participation, a measure of percentage of available minutes played by players with two fouls (68.7 percent for Tech). The Jackets led the nation in this category in 2018-19, was fourth in 2017-18 and 35th in 2016-17.
  • In all games this season, Tech has averaged 72.2 points on the road, 65.9 at home.
  • Tech is 10-2 this season when leading at the half.
  • Tech has won seven of its last 10 games and is over .500 for the first time since Dec. 7, prior to its first loss to Syracuse which dropped the Jackets to 4-4. Tech is at .500 in the ACC for the first time since Jan. 11, after its win at Boston College to get to 3-3.
  • Tech has not been at .500 in the ACC this late in the season since finishing the regular season 8-8 in 2006-07.
  • Tech has limited six straight home opponents to fewer than 60 points, going back to the Yellow Jackets’ 64-58 win over NC State on Jan. 25. In those six games, Tech’s foes have averaged 57.1 points, shot 32.7 percent from the floor overall, 17.1 percent from three-point range.
  • Tech has won the rebounding battle nine times and held even twice in 14 games since the beginning of January. The Jackets are plus-43 on the boards in ACC games for the season, averaging 2.4 per game more than their opponents.
  • Tech has hit 38-of-106 (35.8 percent) of its three-point attempts in its last seven games. The Jackets went 2-for-13 against Miami.
  • Over its last nine ACC games (6-3 record), Tech has averaged 69.9 points, has shot 45.7 percent from the floor, and 32.9 percent from three-point range. The Jackets also have a plus-3.2 scoring margin and a plus-4.8 rebound margin, have scored 14.6 points per game from the foul line and reduced its turnover rate to 14.8. Opponents have shot 41.1 percent from the floor, 22.7 percent from three-point range.
  • Tech did not have a player foul out for the second straight game. The Jackets were whistled for just 16 fouls for the second game in a row, its fewest in an ACC game since Jan. 25 against NC State. Twenty-two Georgia Tech players have fouled out this season, the most for the Yellow Jackets since the 1989-90 season (28 in 38 games). In conference play, 15 Jackets have fouled out, the most ever for the Jackets in an ACC season.

Jose Alvarado needs just two points to reach 1,000 for his career at Georgia Tech. (photo by Danny Karnik)

 

PERSONNEL TRENDS

  • Jose Alvarado (16 points, 7-15 FG, 1-6 3pt) has made a three-point basket in 16 straight games. That is the longest streak for a Tech player since Adam Smith knocked down a three in 24 straight games during the 2015-16 season.
  • Alvarado has averaged 18.1 points over his last nine ACC games, connecting on 47.5 percent of his shots from the floor, 36.5 percent of his three-point tries and 75 percent of his free throws. He has hit 35.8 percent from distance in ACC games.
  • Michael Devoe (14 pts, 6-2 FG, 1-3 FT) has made a three-point field goal in eight straight games. His longest streak is 13 games, last year as a freshman.
  • James Banks III recorded his sixth double-double this season against Miami (13 pts, 14 reb) and first since Feb. 1 at Notre Dame (13/10). It was the 13th of his career. He came up one rebound shy of his career high of 15 against Duke back on Jan. 8.
  • Alvarado and Devoe have combined to score 39.6 percent of Tech’s points and sink 38.7 percent of their three-point attempts in ACC games, 46.8 percent overall from the floor. Against Miami they combined for 30 of the Jackets’ 63 points, hit 2-of-9 from three-point range and 13-of-27 overall.
  • Alvarado had seven steals against Miami, two short of his school-record nine set Jan. 25 against NC State and the most by any player against Miami this season.
  • Last eight games for Michael Devoe (all in double digits) – 16.1 points per game, 4.8 assists per game, 50.6 percent (44-of-87) from the floor, 42.9 percent (15-for-35) from three-point range, 83.9 percent (26-of-31) from the free throw line. He has hit 42.6 percent of his threes in ACC games.
  • Moses Wright snapped an eight-game streak of scoring in double digits, scoring nine points with eight rebounds against Miami. The 6-9 junior has scored 10 or more in all but six games this season.

James Banks III enters his final home game No. 8 on Tech’s all-time list for blocked shots. (photo by Danny Karnik)

 

Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the A-T Fund’s Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes, and Athletics Initiative 2020, Georgia Tech athletics’ ongoing $125 million initiative to allow Tech to recruit the nation’s most elite student-athletes, build a better student-athlete once they arrive on The Flats and, ultimately, win! To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.   

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL

Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its fourth year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has 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) and Instagram. For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com.

Tickets for men’s basketball can be purchased here.

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