Nov. 11, 2010
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech opens its 2010-11 season Friday against Charleston Southern of the Big South Conference. The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. and is the back end of a double-header with the Tech women’s team (vs. Georgia State at 5 p.m.).
The Yellow Jackets, 23-12 overall, 7-9 in the ACC last year, return two starters and eight letterwinners from a team that won three games in the ACC Tournament to reach the championship game, then won their first-round game in the NCAA Tournament. Tech has been picked to finish ninth in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Charleston Southern finished its 2009-10 campaign 13-17 overall with a seventh place finish in the Big South (7-11 record). The Buccaneers, who have been picked to finish seventh again in the Big South, return their top four scorers from a year ago.
Tech head coach Paul Hewitt is beginning his 11th season at Tech, the third-longest tenure of any ACC head coach behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (30th season) and Maryland’s Gary Williams (22nd season), and has an overall record of 177-144.
Series vs. Charleston Southern
Georgia Tech and Charleston Southern are meeting for the eighth time, and the Yellow Jackets have a 6-1 lead in the series that began in 1978. All seven prior meetings have been played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
The Buccaneers, known then as Baptist College, captured their only win in the series by a score of 74-51 on Nov. 14, 1981, during the Yellow Jackets’ final season under head coach Dwane Morrison. The next four wins came with Bobby Cremins as the Tech head coach, and the most recent meeting, a 90-48 Tech win on Dec. 22, 2004, came under head coach Paul Hewitt.
The last four meetings, all Tech wins, have been decided by an average of 35 points. The largest margin of victory for Tech occurred in the very first meeting in 1978, a 111-54 victory.
Georgia Tech has an all-time record of 23-3 against current members of the Big South Conference. The other two losses came to VMI, which was a member of the Southern Conference at the time.
Final Season in the Thrillerdome
Friday night’s game marks the beginning of the 54th and final season for Georgia Tech basketball in Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Following this season, the venerable building will be replaced by a new facility called the Hank McCamish Pavilion, which will be built on the same site and be ready for the 2012-13 season. The Jackets will play the 2011-12 season at an undetermined site, or sites.
The only parts of the building that will remain are the 32 support ribs and the roof.
Georgia Tech has a record of 546-188 (.743) in the building, which opened Nov. 30, 1956 with a 71-61 Tech loss to Duke. Known as the “Thrillerdome,” the Coliseum is the second-oldest arena in use in the ACC, behind Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke.
Since the 1981-82 season, Tech is 325-99 (.767) in its on-campus home, and the Jackets are 111-41 (.730) at home under head coach Paul Hewitt.
Tech is 171-13 against non-conference foes at Alexander Memorial Coliseum since the beginning of the 1981-82 season. Penn State and UIC are the only teams to beat the Jackets twice in that time frame. From 1981 through last season, the only other non-ACC teams to win at the Thrillerdome have been Penn, Tulane and IUPUI (all in the 2001-02 season), Georgia (2000), College of Charleston (1993), Louisville (1989), and Richmond (1987).
Unveiling its new alignment for the first time against an outside opponent – Iman Shumpert, Mfon Udofia and Glen Rice, Jr., across the perimeter, Brian Oliver at the strong forward position and Kammeon Holsey in the post – Georgia Tech barely shook off a determined Clark Atlanta team to win its exhibition game, 71-68, in overtime.
Rice led Tech with 20 points, hitting 7 of 13 shots from the floor, and grabbed nine rebounds, while Shumpert added 14 points and Moe Miller 13. Oliver scored a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Tech, which never led by more than nine points in the second half, needed Shumpert to knock down a go-ahead jumper with 39 seconds left in overtime (69-68) and get a steal on Clark’s last possession to seal the game. Holsey hit two free throws at the 13-second mark to give the Jackets a three-point cushion.
With the departures of post players Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors to the NBA and the completion of forward Zachery Peacock’s eligiblity, the focus of Georgia Tech’s team has shifted from the lane to the perimeter this year, and the Yellow Jackets’ playing style will be decidedly different as a result.
Replacing the feed-the-post offensive focus of the last two Tech teams is the more familiar motion offense and a full-court, fast-paced attack used the most of the prior Tech teams under head coach Paul Hewitt.
All of Tech’s experience lies with the perimeter group of seniors Moe Miller and Lance Storrs, juniors Iman Shumpert and Nick Foreman, and sophomores Brian Oliver, Glen Rice, Jr., and Mfon Udofia, who have a total of 143 starts between them.