Feb. 16, 2007
Riding a four-game winning streak, Georgia Tech finishes a two-game road swing Sunday with a 1 p.m. game at Duke. A win Sunday would give the Yellow Jackets their first five-game winning streak since early in the 2004-05 season and their first season sweep of the Blue Devils since the 1995-96 season. Following Sunday’s game, Tech is home for three of its last four regular-season contests.
Sunday’s game, which will air to approximately 77 percent of the United State, can be seen locally on WGCL-TV (Ch. 46). Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech-ISP Sports Network and heard locally on WQXI-AM (790) and WTSH-FM (107.1). A broadcast of the game can also be heard nationally on XM Satellite Radio Ch. 191.
Tickets for the game can be purchased through Ticketmaster (404-249-6400). Proceeds from the game will go to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Camp Twin Lakes.
Tech is 17-8 overall, 5-6 in the ACC, following Tuesday’s 63-57 win at Florida State, the Yellow jackets’ first ACC road win in nearly two years. The Jackets, who previously had defeated Clemson (80-62) and NC State (74-65), as well as a non-conference win over Connecticut (63-57) a week ago, are tied for sixth place in the conference standings with Clemson and Maryland.
Four of Tech’s remaining five ACC games are against teams ahead of it in the current standings, finishing the regular season against three teams that are currently in a virtual tie for first place (Virginia, North Carolina, Boston College all have three losses).
Duke, 19-7 overall and 6-6 in the ACC, is alone in fifth place following a 78-70 win at No. 21 Boston College Wednesday night, a triumph which snapped a four-game losing streak for the Blue Devils.
Series vs. Duke
> Duke has won 20 of the last 22 games in the series, but the Yellow Jackets snapped a 10-game losing streak on its home floor in the teams’ last meeting, a 74-63 win on Jan. 10.
> Prior to that, the lone Tech win occurred on Mar. 3, 2004 in a 76-68 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium, which snapped a 41-game homecourt winning streak for the Blue Devils. Duke leads the overall series 57-22, and is 44-18 against Tech since the Jackets joined the ACC.
> Last meeting: Javaris Crittenton made a key steal and dunk, and followed with a three-point play off a fast break to key a 19-10 finishing run for Tech in a 74-63 victory on Jan. 10 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Ra’Sean Dickey scored 21 points to lead Tech, and Anthony Morrow added 19 off the bench as the Yellow Jackets overcame 28 turnovers by shooting 56.4 percent from the floor. The 11-point margin of victory was the largest for Tech in the history of the series.
> Tech’s best stretch of the series occurred between 1982 and 1989, with 10 wins in 17 meetings. Tech has never won more than two in a row.
> Tech is 18-43 against Duke teams coached by Mike Krzyzewski, 11-16 in games played in Atlanta. Paul Hewitt is 2-12 vs. Duke.
> From 1984 to the present, Tech has faced Duke only twice when the Blue Devils were unranked, and only 14 times when they were out of the top 10 in both polls. Tech is 8-16 against Duke when both teams are in the top 25.
> Tech has won just five of 32 games played at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the first four coming in 1996, 1987, 1984 and 1959.
Market Up for Jackets
In a season that has seen several twists and turns, Georgia Tech is currently on an upswing, having won its last four games following a four-game losing streak. The Yellow Jackets are tied for sixth place in the ACC standings with five games remaining in conference play, four of which come against teams ahead of them in the standings. Only two of those teams (North Carolina, Boston College) is ranked in the AP top 25.
The Yellow Jackets began the season with five straight wins, including wins over Purdue and No. 11 Memphis in the first two rounds of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. Then came three losses in the next four games to UCLA (Maui championship game), Miami and Vanderbilt as Tech approached fall semester final exams.
Coming out of finals, Tech won seven of its next eight games, including homecourt wins over state-rival Georgia, 11th-ranked Duke and Florida State, playing with renewed vigor on the defensive end of the floor. Tech has won its last four games with the same defensive energy, giving up just 59 points a game.
Quick Look at Tech
Georgia Tech has a solid nucleus of veteran players, but the Yellow Jackets have started three freshmen in 15 of their 25 games this season and have started more first-year players than any ACC teams except North Carolina. Point guard Javaris Crittenton, currently on a four-game tear in which he has averaged 22.3 points, and forward Thaddeus Young are the Jackets’ only players averaging in double figures for the season.
Crittenton, a 6-5 point guard from Atlanta, is the trigger man, averaging 14.5 points (16th in the ACC) as well as 5.5 assists per game (third in the ACC), while hitting nearly 42 percent of his three-point field goal tries. Crittenton has averaged a team-high 16.6 points in Tech’s ACC games (7th in the ACC), has played an average of 34.5 minutes in those games and tops ACC freshmen in scoring, assists and steals in league games.
Young, a 6-8 small forward, has been around the team lead in scoring all season, currently second at 13.9 points per game (18th in the ACC). The Memphis, Tenn., native has averaged 13.2 points in Tech’s ACC games in 2007, and has made 47.9 percent of his shots from the floor in conference play.
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 8.8 points and a team-high 5.6 rebounds. He leads Tech in field goal percentage (60.6 percent) and has 12 double-digit scoring efforts.
Since returning to the starting lineup for the Centenary game on Dec. 18, Dickey has posted eight double-figure efforts and has made 62.5 percent of his field goal attempts in ACC games (58.1 percent overall). Dickey averages 8.1 points and 5.5 rebounds overall this season.
Anthony Morrow, a 6-5 junior who has reached double figures in 10 of Tech’s last 13 games, has started the last four since Feb. 3 against Clemson. The Charlotte, N.C., native has averaged 10.0 points in ACC games, third-best on the team, and 9.1 points per game for the season.
Off the bench, Mario West, a 6-5 senior guard from Douglasville, Ga. (4.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.7 steals), has been the Jackets’ catalyst on defense and logged important backup minutes at point guard, and has come through on the offensive end in three of Tech’s bigger wins this season. Tech has gotten a big lift in its last four games from 6-10 post player Alade Aminu, a sophomore from Stone Mountain, who scored 10 points against Clemson and NC State after not having appeared in any of Tech’s first eight ACC games.
Red-shirt freshman Mouhammad Faye, a 6-10 forward from Dakar, Senegal, who has started eight games, has averaged 4.6 points and 3.3 rebounds this season, but his biggest contributions come on defense, where his 7-foot-3 wingspan has caused havoc in Tech’s press and in halfcourt defensive situations. Also averaging double-digit minutes is 6-8 freshman Zach Peacock of Miami, who started the first nine games of the season and averages 6.1 points and 3.1 rebounds (50 pct. FG) as Tech’s backup center and power forward, and 6-5 sophomore D’Andre Bell of Los Angeles, who gave Tech a spark in the last three games with excellent defense and 13 points combined against NC State and UConn.
Crittenton Making Case for Rookie of the Year
Javaris Crittenton, despite some fits and starts in his role as point guard on Georgia Tech’s basketball team, effectively taken over the Yellow Jackets’ floor leadership of late, and has been the catalyst in Tech’s four-game winning streak.
Following some well-documented struggles in Georgia Tech’s four-game losing streak, which head coach Paul Hewitt attributed more to the Yellow Jackets’ stagnant offense in general, the 6-5 freshman has averaged 22.3 points in Tech’s last four games, most recently carrying the Jackets with 29 points in their 63-57 win at Florida State Tuesday night. Crittenton also scored 26 points against Clemson, then a career-best and 21 against NC State. The Atlanta native also has averaged 5.3 assists, 5.5 rebounds, taken 13 steals and gone 22-for-25 at the free throw line.
Crittenton also put together a three-game stretch of ACC games against Clemson, Duke and Florida State in early January in which he averaged 18.7 points (59.4 pct. FG) and 5.3 assists. Tech defeated Duke and FSU and lost to Clemson on a last-second shot.
> Currently, IN ACC GAMES ONLY, Crittenton is the highest-ranked freshman in scoring (16.6 ppg), assists (4.64 per game), and steals (2.36 per game), and No. 2 in free throw percentage (88.0 pct.). He is third in field goal percentage (46.9 pct.).
> Five of Crittenton’s six 20-point games this season have come in ACC games (the other was Purdue on Maui), and Tech has won five of those six games.
Jackets Get Back to Physical Defense
Georgia Tech has built its current winning streak with strong, physical defense, holding Clemson, NC State, Connecticut and Florida State each to 65 points or fewer. The 52 points by Connecticut Sunday were the fewest allowed to a major conference opponent this year, and the Huskies’ 30.9-percent shooting from the floor was the second-lowest figure for any Tech opponent this year (only Troy shot worse, 30.3 pct.).
> In the four wins, Tech has held the opposition to 39.2-percent shooting from the floor, 31.6 percent from three-point range.
> Tech has a 54-to-53 assist-turnover ratio in the four games combined. The Yellow Jackets have forced 70 turnovers, 42 of them directly by steal, and have a 34-to-28.5 average rebound advantage.
> Tech has been even more dominant after intermission of these four games, limiting opponents to 31.2 percent from the floor, 24.4 percent from three-point range, forcing 33 turnovers (23 by steal), and outrebounding the teams by 4.5 per game.