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Men’s Basketball Goes for Clemson Sweep

GEORGIA TECH (11-15, 4-11 ACC) vs. CLEMSON (17-8, 7-7 ACC)

Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 7 p.m. EST | Atlanta, Ga. | McCamish Pavilion

THE FLATS – Looking for its first back-to-back wins in Atlantic Coast Conference play and a regular-season sweep of Clemson, Georgia Tech hosts the Tigers in a 7 p.m. contest Wednesday at McCamish Pavilion.

Tech (11-15, 4-11 ACC) ended a four-game skid Saturday with a 65-60 home court victory over Syracuse. The Yellow Jackets have also defeated No. 7 Duke, Clemson and No. 3 North Carolina in conference play this season.

Clemson (17-8, 7-7 ACC), tied for seventh place in the ACC, lost to NC State, 78-77, at home Saturday on the heels of a three-game winning streak that included victories over the Tar Heels and the Orange.

Wednesday’s game will be televised live on the ACC Network, with a live stream available on the ESPN app. 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 is looking for its first regular-season sweep of an ACC opponent since 2021-22 (Boston College) and its first sweep of Clemson since 2019-20. Since the ACC’s most recent expansion prior to the 2013-14 season, the Yellow Jackets have earned season sweeps of only five conference opponents (BC twice, Clemson, NC State, Wake Forest). Tech has 12 regular-season sweeps since the 2005 expansion.
  • Eleven of Tech’s 15 ACC games have been decided by single digits. Eighteen of Tech’s 26 games overall this season have been decided by fewer than 10 points, which is tied for second-most in Division I (Tech is 9-9 in those games). Eleven 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 three Quad 1 and one Quad 2 opponents remaining on its schedule (Clemson is a Quad 1 opportunity). Tech was 3-14 last season against Quad 1/2 foes.
  • Georgia Tech’s three ACC wins have come against the ACC’s three highest-ranked teams in the NCAA’s NET rankings – North Carolina (9), Duke (17) and Clemson (27).
  • Miles Kelly (14.7 ppg) leads three Yellow Jackets averaging in double figures this season, including freshman forward Baye Ndongo (12.0) and junior guard Kowacie Reeves, Jr. (10.1). Tech’s other rotation player averaged between 4.5 and 9.1 points per game.
  • Kelly is eight 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 22 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 16 games, and in seven of 13 ACC games. They have accounted for nearly a third (31.6 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, 8.3 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 110.
  • 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 on Monday's ACC Coaches Zoom Call

SERIES VS. CLEMSON

  • The oldest and longest-running series the Yellow Jackets have with an ACC member, the 145 all-time meetings are more than 30 greater than Tech has played with any other ACC opponent. The series dates back to the 1912-13 season, when John Heisman coached the Tech basketball team.
  • Tech has won five of the last nine meetings, and the Yellow Jackets snapped a three-game losing streak by defeating the Tigers, 93-90, in double-overtime on Jan. 16 of this season.
  • The Yellow Jackets have swept the season series just once (2019-20) since the 2004-05 season.
  • The Yellow Jackets trail 54-40 to the Tigers since joining the ACC.
  • Tech has an all-time record of 46-27 against the Tigers at home, including a 27-15 record at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and a 6-5 mark at McCamish Pavilion.
  • Tech is 9-20 vs. Tiger teams coached by Brad Brownell.

 

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

 

TEAM TRENDS

  • Tech has attempted 40 percent of its field goals from three-point range, which ranks only No. 108 nationally, but is the highest percentage for the Yellow Jackets since KenPom began tracking the statistic in 1996-97. To put that in perspective, Tech ranked No. 19 in the nation in 1997 with a rate of 38.9 percent.
  • Tech has held four opponents to 60 or fewer points this season, and is 3-1 in those games.
  • Tech has limited its last three opponents and five of its last six to less than 40 percent shooting from the floor (37.8 percent combined).
  • Tech’s last six opponents have each made less than 30 percent of their three-point field goals (23.4 percent combined). Notre Dame and Syracuse each converted less than 20 percent (9-of-51, 17.6 percent, combined).
  • Tech came up one rebound shy of having three players post a double-double against Syracuse. Tafara Gapare finished with 10 points and a career-high nine rebounds in the game, while Baye Ndongo had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Miles Kelly had 16 and 10.
  • Tech outrebounded Syracuse, 49-28, after having been beaten on the boards three straight games by a combined -25. The Jackets allowed only four offensive rebounds and nine second-chance points, the lowest in six games.
  • At least nine players have seen the court in 25 of Tech’s 26 games (only eight played against Hawai’i). Nine players average more than 10 minutes per game in ACC games.
  • Tech has made 74.3 percent of its free throws (124-of-167) in its last six games.
  • Tech ranks No. 108 nationally in use of its bench, 34.5 percent of the minutes compared to a national average of 31.2 percent. The Jackets rank No. 2 in the ACC and No. 81 nationally in bench scoring (23.8 points per game). Tech’s reserves have scored 20 or more points in nine of its last 10 games.
  • Ebenezer Dowuona and Deebo Coleman both missed the last three games (Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse) 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 16, respectively, of Tech’s games at the finish.

PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Miles Kelly has four double-doubles in points and rebounds this season after getting 16 and 10 against Syracuse. His other three came against Mississippi State (22/12), at Duke (16/11) and at NC State (20/10).
  • Kyle Sturdivant has 23 points to go to reach 900 after scoring a team-high 17 against Syracuse, and his four three-point field goals against the Orange matched a career-best and gave him 101 for his career.
  • Sturdivant is 17-for-19 from the free throw line over Tech’s last 10 games. He leads the Jackets at 86.3 percent from the line this season, 87.1 percent (27-of-31) in ACC play.
  • Sturdivant has averaged 17.7 points and 3.3 assists in Tech’s last three ACC wins over Clemson, North Carolina and Syracuse (17-of-34 FG, 11-of-20 3pt FG, 8-of-9 FT combined).
  • Freshman Baye Ndongo has five double-doubles this season after recording 16 points and 11 boards against the Orange. His others came against Penn State (12/19), Hawai’i (22/12), Boston College (18/10) and Clemson (11/10).
  • Kelly’s 168 career three-point field goals rank 14th in Tech program history. He needs eight to break into the top 10.
  • Ndongo ranks No. 4 nationally among freshmen in rebound average (8.0 per game) and No. 2 in field goal percentage (58.0).
  • Ndongo is one of two freshmen in the nation (also JT Toppin of New Mexico) to average at least 12.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and hit 58 percent from the floor.
  • George ranks No. 2 in the ACC in assist average (5.5 per game) and No. 3 in assist-turnover ratio (2.73-1) in conference games. He ranks fourth nationally among freshmen in assist rate, according to KenPom.com.

 

Baye Ndongo has five double-doubles in points and rebounds this season. (photo by Danny Karnik)

 


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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