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Jackets Host Presbyterian in Non-Conference Hoops

Jan. 4, 2008

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech plays its fifth consecutive home game Sunday by hosting Presbyterian College in a non-televised game at 1 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Yellow Jackets have three non-conference games remaining in their schedule, including road trips to Georgia next Wednesday and Connecticut on Feb. 9.

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 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning at the gates of the Coliseum. These tickets may be purchased with cash only.

Tech is 6-6 for the season and is 0-1 in the ACC following a 66-64 homecourt loss to Florida State last Sunday. Three of the the Yellow Jackets’ six losses have come to teams in the current top 25 (No. 3 Kansas, No. 15 Vanderbilt and No. 12 Indiana). The Jackets are just 2-3 at home this season.

Presbyterian (1-17) is transitioning to Division I this season and will be a member of the Big South Conference in 2008-09. The Blue Hose, who played NC State in Raleigh Saturday, are playing their fourth ACC team this year, having lost to Clemson and Wake Forest. Presbyterian also has played and lost to Georgia, 68-58, on Dec. 30, and is now in the midst of playing four games in five days.

A win over the Blue Hose Sunday would be the 200th career victory for Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt, who has a 199-128 record in his 11th season as a head coach.

Georgia Tech has won all six prior meetings with Presbyterian, all played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum between 1975 and 1981. This is the first meeting between the schools since a 82-66 Georgia Tech victory on Nov. 30, 1981. Brook Steppe tallied a game-high 24 points and Tech made 35-of-48 shots from the floor to set a school single-game field goal percentage mark of .729, which still stands.

Head coach Paul Hewitt’s starting lineup for the last five games has include senior Matt Causey at point guard, senior Anthony Morrow and junior Lewis Clinch on the wings, senior Jeremis Smith at strong forward and freshman Gani Lawal at center.

Tech has used three different starting point guards this season, beginning with freshman Moe Miller in the first two games, then 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 has started each game since.

Morrow, Clinch and Smith have started all 12 games.

Causey, a 6-0 senior from Gainesville, Ga., has averaged 5.8 points and 4.0 assists in his five starts. He ranks eighth in the ACC in assist average (4.0) and fifth assist-turnover ratio (2.14-1) while averaging 5.4 points for the season.

Clinch, a 6-3 guard from Cordele, Ga., has reached double-digits in scoring in 10 of the last 11 games, including a season-high 22 against both GSU and Kansas. He is Tech’s second-leading scorer at 13.6 points per game (13th in the ACC), and has hit 39.4 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 10th in the ACC with 14.8 points a game. One of Tech’s best all-time three-point shooters with 204 for his career, Morrow has hit 43.5 percent of his three-point attempts this season.

Smith, the team captain and a 6-8 forward from Fort Worth, Texas, made the all-tournament team at the Paradise Jam. Tech’s third-leading scorer at 9.6 points per game and its leading rebounder at 7.0 per game (12th in the ACC), Smith has five double-figure rebound games this season, including 11 last time out against Florida State.

Lawal, a 6-8 rookie from Riverdale, Ga., has started the last five games, averaging 7.6 points and 3.4 rebounds while hitting 15-of-19 shots from the floor in those games. He has averaged 7.1 points and 3.3 rebounds this year while hitting a team-high 65.4 percent of his shots from the floor.

Backcourt reserves — Moe Miller, a 6-1 native of Memphis, Tenn., averages 4.9 points and 3.0 assists for the season. Bell, a 6-5 native of Los Angeles, averages 5.8 points for the season with 22 assists and gives Tech solid perimeter defense. Six-foot-4 freshman Lance Storrs of Decatur, Ga., averaging 2.3 points per game, also had his best game of the season against Centenary (8 pts.).

Frontcourt reserves — Hewitt can go to 6-8 sophomore Zack Peacock of Miami, Fla., 6-10 junior Alade Aminu of Stone Mountain, Ga., and 6-11 red-shirt freshman Brad Sheehan of Latham, N.Y. Peacock, who missed the first five games of the season with a foot injury, is Tech’s fourth-leading scored (8.6 ppg) and rebounder (3.9 per game). Aminu, who started the first seven games of the year, averages 8.3 points and 4.6 rebounds while hitting 55.3 percent of his field goal tries. Sheehan has seen limited action this season, playing in eight of 12 games.

Win or Lose, Last Five Minutes Kind to Tech

Georgia Tech, statistically at least, has had the upper hand over its opponents in the final five minutes of the first 12 games, outscoring them 13.6 to 10.3 points a game over the period. Tech also has shot 50.5 percent from the floor to 45.5 percent for its opponents in the final five minutes, and has hit 39.5 percent of its threes to 25.0 percent for the opponents.

The same pattern exists in other categories, including rebounds (5.2 to 3.7), free throw percentage (73.5 to 65.9 percent) and assist-turnover ratio (23/20 for Tech, 13/29 for its opponents).

Interestingly, Tech’s advantage holds even in the six games lost (15.0 to 11.5 points per game, 28.6 to 22.2 percent on threes, 70.6 to 67.2 percent on free throws, 6.5 to 3.5 rebounds per game, 10/9 to 3/13 on assist-turnover ratio.

Close Calls Dot Tech Slate

Part of the reason Georgia Tech has fared well in the final five minutes of games this season is how frequently the Yellow Jackets have found themselves in close games.

Eight of Tech’s 12 games this year have been decided by 10 points or fewer, and the Jackets are 3-5 in those games. Six games have been decided by five points or fewer, and Tech is 3-3 in those contests.

Four of the Jackets’ six losses have been decided by six points or fewer (Winthrop, Indiana, Kansas, Florida State).

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