Jan. 25, 2007
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech puts an undefeated homecourt record on the line, returning to Atlanta for four of its next five games beginning with a 3:30 p.m. nationally-televised Atlantic Coast Conference battle Sunday against 24th-ranked Virginia Tech (3:30 p.m.).
Included in the upcoming stretch are games against Clemson and NC State at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and a Feb. 11 game against Connecticut at the Georgia Dome. The Yellow Jackets’ lone road game is Tuesday at Wake Forest.
Sunday’s game is a national cable broadcast on Fox Sports Net (FSN). Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech-ISP Sports Network, which can be heard in Atlanta on WQXI-AM (790) and WTSH-FM (107.1). The radio broadcast also can be heard nationally on XM Satellite Radio Ch. 193.
Tech, 13-6 overall, 2-4 in the ACC, has lost its last two games, 77-61 at No. 4 North Carolina last Saturday and 80-65 at Maryland on Wednesday. The Jackets are 2-0 at home with wins over Duke and Florida State in ACC play, 0-4 on the road (two of those to top-25 teams).
Virginia Tech enters Sunday’s game with an overall mark of 15-5, and tied for second place in the ACC at 5-1. The Hokies have knocked off Duke, North Carolina and Maryland among their first six ACC games, and defeated Miami, 92-85, on the road Tuesday.
The Yellow Jackets are undefeated at home this season (11-0), and are 77-23 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum under head coach Paul Hewitt, including a 32-18 mark in ACC games.
Series vs. Virginia Tech
> Virginia Tech has won six of eight prior meetings with Georgia Tech, including its first meeting with the Yellow Jackets as a member of the ACC. The Hokies survived a 70-69 battle on Jan. 22, 2005 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The only other meeting in Atlanta also was won by the Hokies by a 70-59 score in 1957, the second season the Yellow Jackets played their home games at the Thrillerdome.
> Georgia Tech returned the favor, however, with a 73-54 victory in the first round of the 2005 ACC Tournament in Washington, D.C. Tech, which outscored the Hokies 43-29 in the second half and shot 54.9 percent from the floor in the game, went on to reach the tournament finals.
> Last meeting: In Tech’s first visit to Blacksburg in 22 years, Deron Washington made a free throw with 0.5 seconds left to give Virginia Tech a 63-62 win in the teams’ only regular season game last year. Jeremis Smith, who scored a go-ahead basket on a stickback for the Yellow Jackets, had the bucket waived off and Smith was charged with an over-the-back rebound foul, sending Washington to the line.
> The Hokies, led by future NBA star Dell Curry, held off the Jackets and their future All-Americans Mark Price and John Salley, 77-74, in the teams’ first meeting at Cassell Coliseum in 1984. It was Tech’s first post-season game in 13 years and a precursor to the ACC Championship season a year later.
> Georgia Tech’s only other victory over Virginia Tech occurred on Dec. 27, 1962, a 73-72 overtime triumph at the Gator Bowl Tournament that was part of an 11-0 start for the Yellow Jackets. Tech went on to finish the season 21-5. Both teams were ranked in the UPI poll at the time, Georgia Tech at No. 18, Virginia Tech at No. 14.
> Both teams were members of the old Metro Conference, but not at the same time. Georgia Tech was a member for three seasons from 1975-76 through 1977-78 before leaving to join the ACC. Virginia Tech joined the league for the 1978-79 season.
Quick Look at Tech
Georgia Tech has a solid returning nucleus of veteran players, but it is a pair of freshmen, forward Thaddeus Young and point guard Javaris Crittenton, who have been the Yellow Jackets’ offensive leaders.
Crittenton, a 6-5 point guard from Atlanta, has run the offense with a deft mixture of passing, penetrating and shooting, averaging 13.4 points (47.2 pct. FG) as well as 5.6 assists per game (third in the ACC). Crittenton has made 40 percent of his three-point tries overall this season, has averaged a team-high 14.5 points in Tech’s ACC games (13th-best in the conference), and has played an average of 35 minutes in those games.
Young, a 6-8 small forward, has been around the team lead in scoring, now at a team-high 14.9 points per game (16th in the ACC) after posting a pair of 20-point efforts the last two times out (22 vs. North Carolina, 21 vs. Maryland). The Memphis, Tenn., native has averaged 16.6 points in Tech’s five ACC games this month, and has made 55.4 percent of his shots from the floor in conference play (2nd-best in the ACC).
Tech’s inside game is carried by two veterans in Ra’Sean Dickey, a 6-10 junior from Clio, S.C., and Jeremis Smith, a 6-8 junior from Fort Worth, Texas. Smith, the only Tech player to start every game this season, gives Tech some muscle inside on defense and on the boards, averaging 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds. He leads Tech in field goal percentage (64.6 percent) and has nine double-digit scoring efforts.
Since returning to the starting lineup for the Centenary game on Dec. 18, Dickey has posted seven double-figure efforts and has made 73.7 percent of his field goal attempts in ACC games (61.0 percent overall). Dickey averages 8.9 points and 5.9 rebounds overall this season, 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds vs. the ACC.
Red-shirt freshman Mouhammad Faye has started six of the last seven games. A 6-10 forward from Dakar, Senegal, who has averaged 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds this season, Faye’s biggest contributions come on defense, where his 7-foot-3 wingspan has caused havoc in Tech’s press and in halfcourt defensive situations.
Off the bench, Mario West, a 6-5 senior guard (5.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.9 steals), has been the Jackets’ catalyst on defense and logged important backup minutes at point guard, but came through on the offensive end against Florida State with a career-high 18 points.
Also averaging double-digit minutes are Peacock, who started the first nine games of the season (6.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 55.8 pct. FG), 6-5 junior guard Anthony Morrow (8.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 40.2 pct. on threes), and 6-5 sophomore Bell (0.8 ppg, 0.6 rpg).