Jan. 9, 2009
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech resumes its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule Saturday with a 12 noon game against Maryland, a regionally-televised contest from the Comcast Center in College Park, Md. The Yellow Jackets completed their non-conference schedule Tuesday night at 8-5 following a 67-62 victory over Georgia.
Saturday’s game is being televised by ACC syndication partner Raycom and can be seen in Atlanta on WATL-TV (Ch. 36). Radio coverage is provided on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, and can be heard in Atlanta on flagship station WQXI-AM (790) and WTSH-FM (107.1).
Tech (9-5 overall, 0-1 ACC) has won two of its last three games, but dropped its first ACC game of the year on Dec. 28, an 88-84 loss to Virginia at home. The Jackets are 2-2 on the road this year, and were 4-4 on the road against ACC teams last season.
Maryland (11-3 overall) begins its ACC slate Saturday on the heels of a shocking 66-65 loss at home to Morgan State Wednesday night. The Terrapins had won seven straight games prior to that, and own a neutral court win over No. 5 Michigan State this year.
Saturday’s game is the first of five 12 noon Saturday starts for the Yellow Jackets, four of which occur on the road (NC State next Saturday, North Carolina on Feb. 28, Boston College on Mar. 7). Tech’s football team played six 12 noon games last season, winning five of those.
Tech head coach Paul Hewitt captured his 150th win in his ninth season with the Yellow Jackets on Dec. 30 against Tennessee State. Standing 19th all-time in victories among ACC coaches, Hewitt has a 151-117 in his ninth season at Tech, and is 217-144 in his 12th season as a head coach.
Georgia Tech was picked to finish eighth in the ACC by the media at the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Operation Basketball media gathering. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 15-17 season (7-9, tie for seventh in the ACC) from which only six players with starting experience return, one of whom is not available to play due to injury.
Series With Maryland
> Maryland has won the last six games in the series to pull ahead of Georgia Tech all-time, 34-33. Up until now, the Terrapins were one of four ACC teams against whom it had an all-time winning record (Clemson, Miami and Virginia are the others). Maryland has won 11 of the last 16.
> Tech’s 33-30 record against Maryland since 1979-80 is its best mark against any ACC team since the Jackets joined the league.
> Tech is 4-10 against Maryland under head coach Paul Hewitt, 1-6 at College Park. Tech is 16-22 vs. Gary Williams-coached Maryland teams.
> Eight of the 14 games between Tech and Maryland since Paul Hewitt became the head coach have been decided by 10 points or fewer.
> Percentage wise and in terms of the number of wins, Tech’s 11-21 road record vs. Maryland is the second-best it has against any team in the ACC. The Jackets are 1-4 in the Comcast Center, and were 10-17 at Cole Field House.
> Maryland won the first nine games of the series, but Tech turned the tables under head coach Bobby Cremins, winning 28 of 35 meetings (including 10 in a row at one point) through the 1995-96 season. The Terps won the next seven in a row before Cremins’ last Tech Jacket team won 69-68 at home on Jan. 15, 2000.
> Tech is 3-4 in ACC Tournament meetings with Maryland. The Terrapins were Tech’s first-ever ACC Tournament opponent, a 51-49 overtime win in the 1980 first round in Greensboro. Maryland also was Tech’s first ACC Tournament victim, in 1983 at the Omni by a 64-58 score.
Quick Look at Tech
Head coach Paul Hewitt’s regular starting lineup for the last seven games has included senior Lewis Clinch and freshman Iman Shumpert at guard, with junior Zachery Peacock, senior Alade Aminu and sophomore Gani Lawal along the front line.
Moe Miller, Tech’s sophomore point guard, has been out since Dec. 14 due to a nasal fracture sustained in Tech’s game with UIC, and returned to practice this week.
Tech has been led this season by post players Lawal and Aminu, who rank 1-3 on the team in scoring (17.0 and 13.5 ppg, respectively) and 1-2 in rebounding (10.0 and 8.9 pg). The two players both rank in the ACC’s top five in field goal percentage, combining to make 56.5 percent of their shots from the floor.
Clinch has started the last seven games after missing the first seven games due to academic ineligibility. He has scored in double digits in six of the seven, averaging 14.0 points a game, while also logging minutes at point guard (2.9 apg). Shumpert, the primary point guard in Miller’s absence, averages 11.3 points and is second in the ACC in assist average (6.4 pg).
With senior D’Andre Bell (spinal stenosis) out for the season, Clinch out for the first seven games and now Miller out, Peacock has been asked to utilize his outside shooting and defensive abilities at the small forward spot. He averages 10.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.
Sophomore Lance Storrs (5.0 ppg, 42.5 pct. from three-point range) and freshman walk-on Nick Foreman (2.1 ppg) have been key reserves in the backcourt, Storrs for his shooting ability and Foreman for his defense. Brad Sheehan, a 7-foot sophomore averaging 4.1 points and 2.6 rebounds, is averaging more than minutes a game off the bench in the post, and Bassirou Dieng (1.6 ppg in seven games) provides additional depth and has played in each of the last two games.
Single-Game Tickets Available for Remaining Home Games
Georgia Tech has single-game tickets available for all remaining home games this season. Patrons can purchased tickets and select seats online at www.ramblinwreck.com/tickets. Tickets can also be purchased on game nights beginning 90 minutes before tipoff at gate 1 of Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
> Nine of Tech’s players are averaging more than 10 minutes a game.
> Seven of Tech’s 13 games have been decided by six points or fewer, two of them in overtime.
> Tech’s last six ACC home losses (last season and this year) have come by a combined 12 points.
> Tech has been inconsistent scoring the basketball in the last nine games, scoring 77 or more points five times, 67 or fewer the other five times. The Jackets rank eighth in the ACC in scoring average (75.1) and ninth in scoring margin (+7.8). Tech also ranks seventh in the conference in field goal percentage (45.5), having made 46 percent or better in all but five games.
> Lewis Clinch has taken 49 shots from behind the three-point line in seven games since he became eligible. Moe Miller was 0-for-21 in Tech’s first seven games (he missed one of those) before he was injured.
> Tech’s assist-turnover ratio is 94-87 with Miller in the lineup, 123-132 without him. Tech averages 16.7 turnovers per game without Miller, 15.6 for the season.
> Tech has shot 44.7 percent from the floor, 28.0 percent from three-point range, since Clinch joined the lineup. The Jackets shot 46.3 percent overall, 29.6 percent on threes, before that.
> Tech is ninth in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (40 pct.). The Jackets were last in 2007-08 (45.2 pct.). Tech has limited six opponents to less than 40 percent shooting from the floor overall, and seven foes to less than 30 percent from three-point range. Tech is seventh in the ACC against the three (31.6 pct.).
> Tech players have achieved double-doubles 17 times through 14 games (14 in points and rebounds, three in points and assists). The Yellow Jackets produced only six double-doubles in 32 games last year.
> Tech had at least one player post a double-double in every game this year except UIC and USC.
> Tech has attempted 12.9 three-point field goals per game (14.3 pg with Clinch, 11.6 pg before). Its opponents have tried an average of 19.6 per game.
> Tech has a plus-1.1 turnover margin, sixth in the ACC, and has won the turnover battle in nine of 14 games. However, its turnover margin is minus-0.7 without Moe Miller, and the Jackets have won the turnover battle only four of seven times.
> Tech has outrebounded its opponent 10 times in 14 games, ranks fourth in the ACC in rebounding (42.4 pg) and sixth in rebound margin (+6.6).
> Tech’s bench has outscored that of its opponents only three times in 14 games, and averages just 11.6 points per game. Tech’s reserves also have played just 27.5 percent of available minutes.
> Tech has been outscored 82-53 in the first half of its last two games, and has faced a halftime deficit four times in the last five games. The Jackets shaved 20 points off a 30-point second-half deficit at Alabama before losing 88-77 on Jan. 3, then erased a 13-point second-half deficit to beat Georgia 67-62 on Tuesday.
Last Time Out – Jackets Rally to Beat Georgia
Keyed by 18 points and 13 rebounds from Zachery Peacock and 15 points and 14 boards from Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to defeat rival Georgia, 67-62, Tuesday night at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Tech trailed 45-32 with 16:40 to go, but forced 12 second-half turnovers, limited the Bulldogs to 27.3-percent shooting from the floor and allowed just 24 points while storming back. Lance Storrs’ three knotted the game at 51-all with 7:11 to go, and Peacock’s leaner in the lane at the 5:44 kark gave Tech the lead for good.
> Tech won the game despite hitting but 4 of its first 20 shots, making just 1 of 11 3-point attempts, and making 14 of 22 foul shots.
> Tech outrebounded Georgia 53-40, grabbing 23 boards at the offensive end for 19 second-chance points.
> Tech blocked eight shots and took 12 steals, scoring 44 points and the paint and 21 off turnovers.
Quoting Coach Hewitt
On Tech’s press – “I’m not quite sure we have the physical strength right now to chess match people in the half court all the time. I love to press and I think we’re good at it. It’s just going to be a matter of me spotting guys like Bassirou [Dieng] and Brad [Sheehan] and trying to stretch the bench. It’s nice to have Nick Foreman. At the beginning of the year, I couldn’t have told you that he would be a significant part of the rotation. That is like finding gold on the street.
On whether Tech will continue to press when Moe Miller returns – “When he comes back, we will definitely keep pressing. The biggest thing that Moe is going to do for us when he comes back healthy is allow us to put Zachery Peacock back at forward where he is really comfortable. At the end of last year, I think they were our two best players. He was such a match-up problem for people at the four position. This year, Zachery is our toughest guy and probably the most agile guy on the perimeter. When we play teams like Georgia, you can’t go that small. When Moe comes back, it will strengthen our team in a lot of ways.”
On the importance of beating Georgia with ACC play on the horizon – “It was big to have a rivalry game on our home court. We’ve lost some games here that were just crushing in terms of how it happened whether it was turnovers or free throws down the stretch. I won’t call us a young team, but we do have a freshman point guard and a sophomore center that we depend on a lot. We had some really tough losses and now we need to find a way to bounce back and get some of them back.”
On Iman Shumpert – “He’s a freshman and that’s why my hair keeps getting greyer and greyer. This is the third year that I’ve had a freshman point guard starting ACC play. We’ll work through it and as long as we get Mo Miller back and can put Zachery back where he is comfortable then we have a chance to put together a team.”