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Men’s Basketball Back Home to Face Syracuse

GEORGIA TECH (10-15, 3-11 ACC) vs. SYRACUSE (16-9, 7-7 ACC)

Saturday, February 16, 2024 | 5:30 p.m. EST | Atlanta, Ga. | McCamish Pavilion

THE FLATS – Back home after two games on the road, Georgia Tech looks for its first February victory Saturday when it hosts Syracuse in a 5:30 p.m. tip at McCamish Pavilion.

Tech (10-15, 3-11 ACC) dropped its fourth straight game Wednesday in a 58-55 defeat at Notre Dame. The Jackets also lost 82-76 at NC State, 80-51 at home to Wake Forest and 79-67 at Louisville since knocking off No. 3 North Carolina to close out the month of January. The Yellow Jackets, who have also defeated Duke and Clemson in conference play, have lost seven of their last eight games.

Syracuse (16-9, 7-7 ACC) has won two of its last three games to even its ACC mark, including an 86-79 home court victory over North Carolina Tuesday night. The Orange also own ACC wins over Boston College, Pitt, Miami and Louisville, but are just 1-5 on the road in conference play.

Saturday’s game will be televised live on The CW Network, which airs in Atlanta on Peachtree TV. Radio coverage is on the Georgia Tech Sports Network by Legends Sports and flagship station 680 the Fan (680 AM/93.7 FM). The Tech broadcast is also available on SiriusXM channel 384 and the SiriusXM app.

THE TIP-OFF

  • Georgia Tech’s three ACC wins have come against the ACC’s three highest-ranked teams in the NCAA’s NET rankings – North Carolina (11), Duke (15) and Clemson (26).
  • Ten of Georgia Tech’s 14 ACC games have been decided by single digits. Seventeen of Tech’s 25 games overall this season have been decided by fewer than 10 points, which is tied for second-most in Division I (Tech is 8-9 in those games). Ten of those by five points or fewer.
  • Tech is 6-10 against Quad 1 and Quad 2 teams this season, with Quad 1 wins over Duke, Clemson and North Carolina and Quad 2 wins over Mississippi State, Penn State and Massachusetts. The Jackets have four Quad 1 and zero Quad 2 opponents remaining on its schedule (Syracuse is a Quad 3 opportunity). Tech was 3-14 last season against Quad 1/2 foes.
  • Miles Kelly (14.6 ppg) leads three Yellow Jackets averaging in double figures this season, including freshman forward Baye Ndongo (11.8) and junior guard Kowacie Reeves, Jr. (10.4). Freshman point guard Naithan George is just under 10 at 9.5 points per game, but averages 10.3 in ACC games.
  • Kelly is now 24 points away from reaching 1,000 for his career. He would become the 48th player in Tech history to reach that milestone.
  • Tech has started two freshmen – Baye Ndongo and point guard Naithan George – in its last 21 games. The Jackets have not had two freshmen in its regular starting lineup since the 2018-19 season (Michael Devoe, Khalid Moore), and have not had a freshman regularly start at point guard since Jose Alvarado in 2017-18.
  • Either Ndongo or George has led Tech in scoring in nine of Tech’s last 15 games, and in seven of 12 ACC games. They have accounted for nearly a third (32.1 percent) of Tech’s points in ACC games.
  • Freshman forward Baye Ndongo has won the ACC’s Rookie of the Week honor three times this season (Dec. 2, Dec. 18, Dec. 26), most for a Yellow Jacket since current NBA star Josh Okogie did so during the 2016-17 season.
  • Tech’s point guard tandem of Naithan George and Kyle Sturdivant has averaged 7.1 assists per game combined, 8.4 in ACC games. Their assist/turnover ratio is 2.30-to-1 combined overall, 2.74-to-1 in conference games. Both players rank among the nation’s top 70 players in assist rate (assists divided by the field goals made by the player’s teammates while he is on the court) according to KenPom.com.
  • Naithan George is the first Tech freshman since Iman Shumpert in 2008-09 to collect 100 assists in a season, surpassing the century mark against Wake Forest, and now has 107. He is the first freshman since Javaris Crittenton in 2006-07 to average more than five assists per game.
  • Seven Tech players have scored at least 20 points in a game this season – Naithan George, Kyle Sturdivant, Deebo Coleman, Tafara Gapare, Kowacie Reeves, Jr., Baye Ndongo and Miles Kelly. It is only the second time that as many as seven different Yellow Jackets have scored 20-plus in a game during a season (2007-08).

Head coach Damon Stoudamire Friday media availability

SERIES VS. SYRACUSE

  • Tech has won six of the 14 meetings between the two teams since Syracuse joined the ACC and eight of 17 meetings in the history of the series, which dates back to the 1986 NCAA Tournament. (2017 victory was vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions)
  • The teams split their regular-season series in 2022-23, each winning on the other’s home floor. Syracuse took an 80-63 decision on Jan. 21 in Atlanta, and Tech evened the series with a 96-76 triumph on Feb, 28 at the JMA Wireless Dome.
  • The Yellow Jackets have won three times in eight visits to the JMA Wireless Dome, including a 67-62 decision on March 4, 2014, with the Orange ranked No. 7 in the nation. They are 3-3 against the Orange at McCamish Pavilion.
  • Nine of the 14 meetings as ACC brethren have been decided by seven points or fewer, with one decided in overtime.
  • Three of the first four games in the series were played on neutral courts, the first of which had the highest stakes, a second-round NCAA Tournament game at the Omni in Atlanta in 1985.
  • The last meeting between the two teams before Syracuse joined the ACC occurred in the championship game of the Legends Classic in Atlantic City in 2010, and ninth-ranked Syracuse survived a 32-point effort by Brian Oliver (who later transferred to Seton Hall) to win, 80-76.
  • Tech’s first trip to the JMA Wireless Dome came in December of 2003, when the Orange, led by freshmen Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara, routed the Jackets with its freshman duo of Chris Bosh and Jarrett Jack, 92-65, and eventually won the national championship.
  • Syracuse had never played on Tech’s campus until the 2014-15 season, but the Yellow Jackets did host the 13th-ranked Orange in a Delta Air Lines Classic for Kids game at Philips Arena in 2001. Jim Boeheim missed the game due to prostate surgery and the Yellow Jackets won by 16.

Miles Kelly needs 24 points to reach 1,000 for his career. (photo by Danny Karnik)

 

TEAM TRENDS

  • Tech has scored less than 60 points three times this season (at Cincinnati, Wake Forest, at Notre Dame), all losses.
  • Tech has held three opponents under 60 points this season, but this was the first loss in such a game. The last time Tech lost a game in which the opponent scored fewer than 60 points was Jan. 9, 2019, a 52-49 loss to Virginia Tech.
  • At least nine players have seen the court in 24 of Tech’s first 25 games (only eight played against Hawai’i). Nine players average more than 10 minutes per game in ACC games.
  • Tech ranks No. 106 nationally in use of its bench, 34.8 percent of the minutes compared to a national average of 31.2 percent. The Jackets rank No. 2 in the ACC and No. 78 nationally in bench scoring (24.0 points per game). Tech’s reserves have scored 20 or more points in nine straight games.
  • Tech has made 73.5 percent of its free throws (114-of-155) in its last five games.
  • Ebenezer Dowuona and Deebo Coleman both missed the last two games (Louisville and Notre Dame) games with injuries.
  • Miles Kelly and Kowacie Reeves, Jr., remain the only Tech players to start every game this season.
  • Deebo Coleman and Kyle Sturdivant have not started a game this year, but have been on the floor for 16 and 15, respectively, of Tech’s games at the finish.

PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Miles Kelly is now 24 points away from reaching 1,000 for his career after tallying 11 at Notre Dame. He would become the 48th player in Tech history to reach that milestone.
  • Kyle Sturdivant has 40 points to go to reach 900, and three three-point field goals to reach 100.
  • Freshman Ibrahima Sacko more than doubled his season high in points by scoring a team-high 13 at Notre Dame. His previous six at Louisville). The 6-7 forward made 6-of-8 shots from the floor, including a three-pointer. He added four rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal in a season-high 26 minutes.
  • Carter Murphy, a grad transfer from Air Force, has played 38 minutes in Tech’s last two games, the most he has played all season. He scored a season-high eight points against Louisville, including a pair of three-point field goals, and added another three at Notre Dame.
  • A freshman has led Tech in scoring in 10 of its last 16 games, with Ibrahima Sacko doing the honors at Notre Dame. Baye Ndongo led the Jackets in points in seven games, Naithan George in three.
  • Kelly’s 165 career three-point field goals rank 14th in Tech program history.
  • Freshman point guard Naithan George has reached double digits in points seven times in Tech’s last 10 games after doing so only twice in his first 12 games.
  • George ranks No. 2 in the ACC in assist average (5.6 per game) and No. 1 in assist-turnover ratio (2.93-1) in conference games.
  • Freshman Baye Ndongo ranks No. 4 nationally among freshmen in rebound average (7.9 per game) and No. 2 in field goal percentage (57.9).
  • Ndongo is one of two freshmen in the nation (JT Toppin of New Mexico is the other) to average at least 11.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and hit 57 percent from the floor.
  • Kyle Sturdivant is 16-for-17 from the free throw line over Tech’s last nine games. He leads the Jackets at 87.8 percent from the line this season, 89.7 percent (26-of-29) in ACC play.
  • Tyzhaun Claude is 25-of-33 (75.8 pct.) at the free throw line over Tech’s last 10 games.
  • Kowacie Reeves, Jr., has hit a team-best 43.5 percent from three-point range in ACC games. He shot just 19 percent from three-point range in SEC games last year at Florida.

Kowacie Reeves, Jr., Friday media availability

 


Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of the development of Yellow Jackets that thrive academically at the Institute and compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL

Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its first year under head coach Damon Stoudamire. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won four ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993, 2021), played in the NCAA Tournament 17 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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