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Jackets Visit Wake Forest Hoping to Sweep Series

Feb. 17, 2009

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Complete Game Notes in PDF Format

ATLANTA – Hoping to sweep the regular-season series and snap a four-game losing streak, Georgia Tech visits No. 8 Wake Forest Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The game is not being televised, but can be viewed online at ACCSelect. See link above.

Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network and can be heard in Atlanta on flagship station WQXI-AM (790), student station WREK-FM (91.1) and WTSH-FM (107.1). XM Satellite Radio carries the broadcast nationally on Channel 191.

Tech (10-14 overall, 1-10 ACC), has lost nine of its last 10 games, the lone victory a 76-74 triumph over No. 6 Wake Forest on Jan. 31. The Yellow Jackets dropped an 86-65 decision at home to NC State Saturday, their worst defeat of the season. Tech is 2-7 on the road this season, 0-5 in conference games.

Wake Forest (19-4, 6-4 ACC) is tied for third place in the ACC standings with Clemson, Florida State and Virginia Tech, two games behind in the loss column to North Carolina. The Demon Deacons have split four games since their loss to Tech, winning both games at home to improve to 11-1 at the Joel this season.

The Demon Deacons are the first of three consecutive top-25 teams the Jackets will play, continuing with No. 13 Clemson Sunday and No. 3 North Carolina on Feb. 28.

Free throw shooting and/or turnovers, the primary culprits in Tech’s 1-10 conference start, have negated a mostly fine defensive effort by Coach Paul Hewitt’s team. The Jackets rank 36th nationally in field goal percentage defense, 74th in three-point percentage defense and 27th in blocked shots.

Despite giving up 86 points and 61.4-percent shooting to NC State Saturday, the Yellow Jackets rank second in the ACC in field goal percentage defense in conference games (40.4 pct.) and rank fourth in scoring defense (73.6 ppg). But Tech has struggled to score consistently, averaging 64.9 points over its last 10 games while committing 4.4 more turnovers per game and getting outscored by 5.8 points per game at the charity stripe. Tech has scored less than 60 points five times this year, and has shot less than 50 percent in its last 15 straight games.

Series With Wake Forest

> The Yellow Jackets have won the last three meetings, including both games in the 2007-08 season and the first meeting this year in Atlanta. Tech also has captured four of the last five meetings and five of the last seven, and now trails the overall series, 34-32.

> Tech is 22-9 in games played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, winning each of the last five meetings including a 76-74 decision on Jan. 31 of this season.

> The home team has won 25 of the last 33 regular-season games in the series, with Wake Forest winning four times at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in that span, and Tech winning four times in Winston-Salem.

> Tech has lost eight of the last 10 meetings at the Joel Coliseum, and is just 5-14 in the building. Tech is 9-21 against Wake Forest on the road, including a 2-3 mark in regular-season games played in Greensboro and a 2-4 mark in games played in Winston-Salem prior to the opening of Joel Coliseum.

> Tech is 29-23 against Wake Forest since 1985, including 12 straight victories from 1985-91.

> Tech is 9-10 against Wake Forest under head coach Paul Hewitt, and 12 of the 19 meetings have been decided by fewer than 10 points (four in overtime). The Jackets are 3-0 against Dino Gaudio-coached Wake Forest teams.

> Tech is 10-15 against Wake Forest when the Demon Deacons are ranked in the top 25, 11-8 when the Yellow Jackets are in the Top 25, and 3-5 when both teams are ranked.

Tech Players vs. Wake Forest

Alade Aminu – scored 10 points with 13 rebounds and six blocked shots in the Jan. 31 meeting … 7.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 55.2 pct. FG in six career games

Lewis Clinch – scored 19 points despite going 0-for-6 from three-point range in first meeting this year … 13.4 ppg, 47.3 pct. FG, 36.4 pct. on threes in five career games vs. Deacons

Gani Lawal – 25 points (7-10 FG, 11-14 FT) in first meeting this year was a career best vs. an ACC team (also had 10 rebounds, two blocks) … 13.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 60 pct. FG in three career games vs. Deacons

Moe Miller – 5 points, 5 assists in teams’ first game this year … 11.3 ppg, 4.0 apg in three meetings vs. Deacons

Zachery Peacock – 3 points (0-6 FG) in first meeting this year … 5.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 34.3 pct. FG in six career games vs. Deacons

Brad Sheehan – no points or rebounds in two career games vs. Deacons (5 minutes in Jan. 31 meeting)

Iman Shumpert – 9 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists in Jan. 31 meeting

Lance Storrs – 3 points in teams’ first meeting this year

Aminu vs. Aminu II

When Georgia Tech faced Wake Forest on Jan, 31, it marked only the second time in ACC history that two brothers faced one another as members of opposing teams. Wake Forest was involved in both instances.

In the meeting, won by Tech, 76-74, Yellow Jacket senior Alade Aminu scored 10 points and grabbed 13 rebounds while also blocking six shots. Wake freshman Al-Farouq Aminu had 17 points, 11 rebounds and five steals.

The only previous meeting between brothers in the ACC occurred back on Jan. 3, 1969, when Charlton Heights, W. Va., brothers’ Jerry and Roger Montgomery, played in Wake Forest’s 93-71 win over Maryland at the Greensboro Coliseum. The Deacons’ Jerry out-scored Terp brother Roger 6-to-4.

Tech Back to Three-Guard Lineup

Head coach Paul Hewitt returned to a three-guard starting lineup for Georgia Tech’s game at Clemson on Jan. 25, inserting sophomore Moe Miller at point guard in place of senior forward Alade Aminu.

It allowed junior Zachery Peacock, who has played the small forward position for most of this season, to return to the strong forward position where he is most effective. For most of this season, Tech has started two guards along with Peacock, Aminu and sophomore Gani Lawal in the front court.

Tech has relied heavily on post players Lawal (15.4 ppg, 10.1 rpg), Aminu (11.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg) and Peacock (10.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg), who rank 1-2-5 on the team in scoring and 1-2-3 in rebounding. Lawal leads the ACC in rebounding and is third in field goal percentage, while Aminu holds the No. 4 position in each category.

Freshman Iman Shumpert, who plays the point when Miller is not in the game, is Tech’s third-leading scorer overall (11.6 ppg) and No. 2 in conference games (12.5 ppg). Tech’s top shooting threat (32.6 pct. from three-point range) among its starting guards, Shumpert ranks third in the ACC and 38th nationally in assists with 5.2 per game.

Senior Lewis Clinch has started the last 17 games after missing the first seven games due to academic ineligibility. He has scored in double digits in 11 of the 17, averaging 11.5 points and 3.0 assists a game, but he struggled with his outside shot, hitting just 26.1 percent from three-point range. Miller, who has missed seven games this season with a broken nose, and averages 5.9 points and 4.4 assists per game, but also has struggled from long-distance (16.3 pct.).

Sophomore Lance Storrs (4.5 ppg, 38.0 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 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds, is a key reserve in the post.

Quoting Coach Hewitt

On Wake Forest – “They are having a great year, obviously. They are a good team, they have tremendous presence under the basket on the defensive end. I just thought we played a pretty good game (on Jan. 31). Like I said, down the stretch it was a game like all the other games we played this year. We made the plays and we made the shots we had to in order to win. They have got a guy, Jeff Teague, who he is competing for ACC Player of the Year, certainly a candidate for first team All-American. Al-Farouq Aminu has made a huge difference to them, just bringing another rebounder, shot-blocker, and scorer around the basket. That’s been a big difference that I’ve seen in their team from last year to this year. I mean he has been the key factor.”

On the dynamic of playing a conference team a second time – “I think there is, and one of the things I’ve always said. In the double round-robin format, the second game always had a little bit of added intensity. The game [in Atlanta] was intense, and I imagine the game on Wednesday night will be a little more intense. They have got the revenge factor going, and obviously, we are trying to break out of a tough stretch here.”

On how to get ready for the game against Wake Forest – “I think there are things we can gain out of this (loss to NC State). Maybe we address the confidence factor because some of the baskets that we missed could just be a confidence issue in terms of knocking them down. We have to go out and play Wednesday night and that’s it. They aren’t going to call off the game, and we don’t want them to call off the game. We are just going to go out there and play with the same level of effort that we have seen all season except for maybe a half or two here and there.”

Key to winning last three games against Wake Forest – “I can’t really put my finger on it. I know in the games last year, Anthony Morrow shot the ball very, very well. I thought the game here this year, we kept the turnovers down, Iman made a couple of big plays down the stretch offensively and Nick Foreman made a couple of big plays down the stretch defensively. To paraphrase, or to quote Herm Edwards we play to win the game. We are just playing to beat Wake Forest Wednesday night, and leave all the other stuff to everybody else as far as motivation. We are playing to win on Wednesday night, and that’s what we are all about right now. That’s all we should be about.”

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