Jan. 23, 2009
ATLANTA – Looking to break into the win column in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Georgia Tech faces a pair of top-10 teams in the week ahead, beginning with a nationally-televised Sunday night game against 10th-ranked Clemson. The ACC Sunday Night Hoops game on Fox Sports Net tips off at 7:45 p.m. at Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network radio broadcast can be heard in Atlanta on flagship station WQXI-AM (790), as well as Tech student station WREK-FM (91.1) and WTSH-FM (107.1). The game also can be hard nationally on XM Radio Ch. 190.
Tech (9-9 overall, 0-5 ACC), looking to snap a four-game losing streak, is the only ACC team without a win in conference play. The Yellow Jackets have dropped four of their ACC games after holding late leads (Virginia, Maryland, NC State, Boston College), and lost three of those in overtime, including Tuesday night’s 80-76 defeat to Boston College at home. Tech’s only win in its last six games was a 67-62 homecourt win over Georgia on Jan. 6.
Clemson (16-2, 2-2 ACC), which lost to No. 5 North Carolina (94-70) in Chapel Hill Wednesday night, has beaten Miami on the road and NC State at home, while taking a 10-point loss to No. 1 Wake Forest last weekend. The Tigers have played one other common opponent, scoring a 66-59 win over Alabama on Jan. 6.
Tech is 0-5 in the ACC for the first time since the 2001-02 season, when it began the conference slate with seven straight losses, but recovered to win seven of the last nine and finish 7-9. The Jackets began last season 0-3, and also finished 7-9.
Free throw shooting and/or turnovers have been the primary culprits in Tech’s 0-5 conference start. The Jackets have shot 57.4 percent from the charity stripe in league games, and averaged 20.0 turnovers. As a result, Tech has failed to protect late leads in four of its five losses.
The Yellow Jackets have struggled to score consistently since a trip to California just before Christmas, averaging 68.0 points over its last eight games, 66.0 over its last four. Tech has scored less than 60 points twice this year.
Tech has not fared well at Littlejohn Coliseum over the years, winning just eight of 36 games there, but four of those victories have come under head coach Paul Hewitt, and two of the four losses under Hewitt there were decided on final possessions.
Jackets Watch Late Leads Vanish
Georgia Tech held leads of as many as 10 points inside of 10 minutes to go in each of its Atlantic Coast Conference losses on the road and lost a five-point advantage in the final five minutes against Virginia. Tech held a two-point lead with two minutes left in regulation and a three-point margin in overtime against Boston College.
Virginia – Tech led 69-64 with 3:45 to go, and 72-69 with 36 seconds left when Iman Shumpert missed two free throws, giving the Cavaliers a chance at a game-tying three-pointer by Jamil Tucker with 15 seconds to go.
Maryland – Tech led 50-40 with 9:44 left, then missed nine of 13 shots and committed five turnovers down the stretch. The Terps went on a 13-2 run to take the lead over the next 2-1/2 minutes and never looked back.
NC State – Tech led 64-54 with 4:40 to go, then committed three turnovers and missed all three of its field goal attempts from that point.
Boston College – Tech led 64-62 with 2:01 to go, but committed a turnover on its next possession and needed two free throws with 14 seconds left to force overtime. In overtime, Tech quickly took a 69-66 lead, but missed its next five shots while the Eagles scofed eight straight points.
Tech Finally at “Full” Strength
Georgia Tech has fielded a full complement of available players for only the last three games this season.
Because of a spinal injury to D’Andre Bell before the beginning of pre-season practice, Tech has played this entire season with just nine scholarship players. But even without considering Bell’s absence, the Yellow Jackets played their first 15 games this season with less than the full roster that took the court for the first day of practice.
Senior guard Lewis Clinch did not make his 2008-09 debut for the Yellow Jackets until Dec. 17 against Georgia State after being academically ineligible for fall semester and missing the first seven games. Moe Miller, a sophomore point guard, missed the next seven games due to a mild concussion and a nasal fracture suffered in Tech’s Dec. 14 loss to UIC.
With Miller cleared to play Jan. 10 against Maryland, Zachery Peacock woke up ill with a stomach ailment and did not dress for the game (he was checked out at a local hospital and was fine by Sunday).
Miller had successful surgery to repair his fracture Wednesday, Dec. 17, returned to practice Jan. 8, and is wearing a specially-fitted mask.
Tech’s current starting lineup (Clinch, Shumpert, Peacock, Aminu, Lawal) has an aggregate 158 career starts. That’s fewer than 32 per player. Alade Aminu is Tech’s active leader in games played with 92, followed by Lewis Clinch with 80 and Zachery Peacock with 75.
Not even Tech’s walk-on group has been immune this season – Derek Craig missed time in the pre-season with two concussions, Sam Shew has missed practice time recently with a concussion, and Ty Anderson has not been able to practice or play since fall semester ended due to a viral infeciton and a back injury.
Series With Clemson
> Overall, Tech holds a 57-54 lead in a series that began in 1913. It is the oldest and longest-running series the Yellow Jackets have with an ACC member. The 111 all-time meetings are 28 more than Tech has played with any other ACC member. The series dates back to the 1912-13 season, when John Heisman coached the Tech basketball team.
> Clemson has won four of the last six meetings in the series, and the Yellow Jackets trail 31-29 to the Tigers since joining the ACC.
> Tech and Clemson have split their season series 19 times since the 1982-83 season, and there has been a home-team victory split 15 times. The home team has won 34 of the last 44 meetings.
> The Jackets swept the season series from the Tigers three times in six seasons under Paul Hewitt. Clemson last swept Tech in the 2005-06 season, and has done so only three times since the 1982-83 season.
> The Yellow Jackets have won 10 of the 16 games between the two teams since Paul Hewitt became Tech’s head coach, with a 6-2 record at home and a 4-4 mark at Clemson. Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell is 4-6 vs. Tech, 3-2 in games played at Littlejohn.
> Tech is just 15-35 all-time in games played at Clemson, including an 8-28 mark in Littlejohn Coliseum. The Yellow Jackets have split the last eight games at Littlejohn, but lost seven in a row at Clemson prior to that.
> Tech’s 111-108 win against the Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum on Jan. 24, 2001 is the highest scoring regulation game Tech has had with any ACC opponent. The Jackets defeated Florida State by the same score in Tallahassee (in two OTs) on Feb. 11, 1999, and lost to Wake Forest in the 2007 ACC Tournament, 114-112 in double-overtime.
Quick Look at Tech
Head coach Paul Hewitt’s regular starting lineup for 10 of the last 11 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.
Tech has been led this season by post players Lawal and Aminu, who rank 1-3 on the team in scoring (15.7 and 12.3 ppg, respectively) and 1-2 in rebounding (10.4 and 8.6 pg). The two players rank 1-6 in the ACC in rebounding, and in the ACC’s top three in field goal percentage, combining to make 54.5 percent of their shots from the floor.
Clinch has started the last 11 games after missing the first seven games due to academic ineligibility. He has scored in double digits in nine of the 11, averaging 13.4 points a game, while also logging minutes at point guard (3.0 apg). Shumpert, the primary point guard, averages 11.9 points and is third in the ACC in assist average (5.6 pg).
With D’Andre Bell, Moe Miller and Clinch out for extended periods of time, Peacock has been asked to utilize his outside shooting and defensive abilities at the small forward spot. He averages 10.5 points and a career-best 5.9 rebounds per game.
Moe Miller, Tech’s sophomore point guard, missed seven games due to a nasal fracture sustained in Tech’s game with UIC. He returned to the court Jan. 10, but has not returned to the starting lineup. He averages 7.2 points and 4.8 assists. Sophomore Lance Storrs (4.9 ppg, 43.4 pct. from three-point range) and freshman walk-on Nick Foreman (2.0 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 3.6 points and 2.4 rebounds, is averaging more than 12 minutes a game off the bench in the post, and Bassirou Dieng (1.2 ppg in nine games) provides additional depth.
Tight Finishes Again Dot Tech Schedule
Continuing a trend from last season, 10 of Georgia Tech’s games this season have been decided by seven points or fewer. Only two of Tech’s nine losses has come by 10 or more points.
Tech has played four overtime games this season (including the last two), the most in one season since 1998-99, when the Yellow Jackets played five OT games. Tech is 1-3 in overtime games this season, 6-7 under head coach Paul Hewitt.
> Note on OT – Tech’s last back-to-back overtime games occurred in the 1995-96 season. Tech has never played three consecutive overtime games, but has played three in the same month of the season three times).
Last season, 21 of Tech’s 32 games were decided by 10 points or fewer, and the Jackets were 9-12 in those games. Fourteen games were decided by five points or fewer or went to overtime, and Tech was 7-7 in those contests.
Tech’s five home ACC losses last year came by a total of eight points (one to Miami, two to Maryland, one to North Carolina, two to Florida State, two to Virginia). Of Tech’s three home ACC games to date, two went to overtime and were decided by four points each.