Honolulu, Hawai’i – For the first time since 1994, Georgia Tech’s basketball team visits Honolulu, Hawai’i to compete in the Diamond Head Classic, opening the tournament against Boise State at 5 p.m. Eastern time Sunday at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Tech (4-5. 1-1 ACC), in its fourth season under head coach Josh Pastner, has dropped its last three games – 97-63 to Syracuse on Dec. 7, 67-53 at No. 8 Kentucky Dec. 14 and 65-47 at home to Ball State Wednesday night – after a 4-2 start. The Yellow Jackets, 1-1 on the road this season, are beginning a stretch of five straight games away from home with its appearance in the Diamond Head Classic.
Boise State (6-4, 1-1 Mountain West), in its 10th season under head coach Leon King, has won five of its last seven games, including a 100-57 homecourt victory over Alabama State in its last outing on Dec. 14. The Broncos are 1-3 away from home this season, winning a 73-70 overtime game at Pacific on Nov. 23. Their only game against a power conference team to date has been a 106-75 loss at Oregon on Nov. 9.
Sunday’s game will be televised live on ESPNU, and all games in the Diamond Head Classic will be live either on ESPNU or ESPN2. Live streaming is available through the ESPN app. Radio coverage of Tech’s games is provided through Learfield IMG College, airing in Atlanta on 680 AM and 93.7 FM the Fan and through the TuneIn app. The Tech broadcast is also available on satellite radio (XM ch. 371, internet ch. 971).
Head coach Josh Pastner previews Techs opener against Boise State
- Diamond Head look-in – Wednesday night’s game between Tech and Ball State was a non-bracketed game in the Diamond Head Classic. They are on opposite sides of the tournament bracket, and could meet on the final day of the event (Dec. 25).
- Quick exit – Though Tech and Ball State do not play their first games of the Diamond Head Classic until Sunday, both teams left Atlanta Thursday morning to make their flight to Honolulu.
- Long time away – Following Georgia Tech’s trip to Hawai’i, the Yellow Jackets play their next two games on the road, Dec. 31 at Florida State and Jan. 4 at North Carolina. Tech does not play at home again until Jan. 8 against Duke.
- Tournament titles – Georgia Tech last won a regular-season tournament event in 2003, the Preseason NIT, defeating No. 1 Connecticut and No. 25 Texas Tech in Madison Square Garden to capture the title. Since then, the Yellow Jackets have reached the finals of three events – the 2006 Maui Invitational, the 2010 Legends Classic and the 2015 NIT Season Tipoff. Tech has won 18 regular-season tournaments over the years.
- Looking ahead – When Tech plays its final round game of the Diamond Head Classic on Dec. 25, it will be only the second time in program history that the Yellow Jackets played on Christmas Day. Tech opened the 1926-27 season by playing eight consecutive road games from Dec. 20-28, including a Dec. 25 contest against the Loraine Lions Club.
- Ushering in – Junior Jordan Usher made his debut for the Yellow Jackets Wednesday night against Ball State. The 6-7 guard/forward from Canton, Ga., became eligible following the official posting of grades from the fall semester (Georgia Tech policy), after serving his required year-in-residency (NCAA rules) after he transferred from Southern California. Usher enrolled at Tech last January.
- Sophomore guard Michael Devoe ranks sixth in the ACC in scoring (18.4 ppg), and would be third in three-point shooting (.452) with four more three-pointers made. He also is No. 2 in minutes played (36.4).
- Tech has the ACC’s leading shot-blocker in senior center James Banks III (3.67 per game, No. 4 in NCAA).
- Junior forward Moses Wright ranks No. 3 in the ACC in field goal percentage (.547) and No. 8 in rebound average (8.0 per game).
- Tech has played seven of its last eight games, and most of the eighth, without junior point guard Jose Alvarado, who has a right ankle injury. Alvarado led Tech in scoring, assists and steals last season.
- No ducking – Georgia Tech’s schedule is the 11th-strongest among power conference teams according to KenPom.com. Tech’s schedule included six power conference teams in its first nine games, including road games at NC State, Georgia and Kentucky, and home games against Arkansas, Nebraska and Syracuse. The Jackets’ non-conference schedule rates 18th-toughest among power conference teams.
- Beefing up – With a more veteran team in 2019-20, Georgia Tech made an effort to strengthen its non-conference schedule, beginning a two-game series with Kentucky and finishing another two-game set with Arkansas, while accepting an invitation to play in the Diamond Head Classic, in which the Jackets could wind up playing a pair of 2019 NCAA Tournament teams in Houston and Washington. Tech has also played its annual meeting against Georgia and the Big Ten/ACC matchup against Nebraska.
TECH AND THE DIAMOND HEAD CLASSIC
Georgia Tech basketball is making its sixth trip to the state of Hawai’i in program history this weekend with the 2019 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.
The field for the 2019 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic features Ball State (Mid-American), Boise State (Mountain West), Georgia Tech (ACC), tournament host school Hawai’i (Big West), Houston (AAC), Portland (WCC), UTEP (Conference USA), and Washington (Pac-12). The 11th annual event will be played at the Stan Sheriff Center on the campus of the University of Hawai’i.
The Jackets open against Boise State, and will face Houston or Portland in the second round.
Three teams in the 2019 field were a part of the postseason last season – Boise State (NIT), Houston (NCAA) and Washington (NIT). Meanwhile, five teams will make their first-ever appearance in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
Tech has a 10-5 record all time in four previous tournament events in Hawai’i, including a 6-3 mark in three appearances in the old Rainbow Classic (1984 champions, 1988, 1994) which also were held at the University of Hawai’i. The Yellow Jackets also played in the 1998 Big Island Classic in Hilo, and the 2006 Maui Invitational, finishing as the runner-up in both.
SERIES VS. BOISE STATE
- Sunday’s game marks the first meeting between Georgia Tech and Boise State in men’s basketball.
- Tech is 8-6 all-time against members of the Mountain West Conference. Most recently, the Yellow Jackets lost a 72-56 decision to San Diego State in a quarterfinal game of the National Invitation Tournament on March 23, 2016.
- Tech head coach Josh Pastner has never faced Boise State or a member of the Mountain West Conference as a head coach.
TECH VS. DIAMOND HEAD PARTICIPANTS
Georgia Tech has previously faced five of the other seven teams in the Diamond Head Classic – Ball State, Hawai’i, Houston, UTEP and Washington (see results on page 2). The Yellow Jackets will be facing Boise State for the first time when the two teams open the event Sunday.
Ball State – The two teams met for the first time Wednesday night at Tech’s McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, and the Cardinals captured a 65-47 victory.
Hawai’i – Tech is 2-2 all-time against the Rainbow Warriors, including a pair of games played on consecutive days (Feb. 19-20) on Hawai’i’s home floor in the 1970-71 season, when the Yellow Jackets were an independent in basketball. The Rainbows won both games. Hawai’i has made two visits to Atlanta to play the Yellow Jackets, who won both games on Jan. 25, 1969 and Jan. 6, 1973. The teams never met in the Rainbow Classic.
Houston – Tech has won all three prior meetings against the Cougars, most recently in the first round of the 2016 Postseason NIT at McCamish Pavilion (81-62 win on March 16, 2016). The first meeting took place in the opening round of the 1988 Rainbow Classic, an 87-78 Jacket victory.
UTEP – Tech is 1-2 all-time against the Miners. The Yellow Jackets won the most recent meeting by a 71-61 score in the 2010 Legends Classic in Atlantic City, N.J. The first two meetings, both won by UTEP, occurred in the sun Bowl Classic in 1968 and 1981.
Washington – Tech and Washington have met three times previously (Jackets lead 2-1), all of them off the mainland United States. The Yellow Jackets scored a 65-58 win over the Huskies in the semifinals of the 1984 Rainbow Classic, and Washington defeated the Jackets, 76-60, in the championship game of the 1998 Big Island Invitational. The teams met again the next season, with Tech capturing an 82-65 win in the semifinals of the Great Alaska Shootout.
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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.
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