ATLANTA (Jan. 31) – Looking to snap a three-game losing streak, Georgia Tech (9-10, 2-5 ACC) travels to Clemson Wednesday to finish the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference slate with a 7 p.m. contest at Littlejohn Coliseum, and then the Yellow Jackets host their final non-conference game against Florida A&M Saturday at 1 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center.
Neither game will be televised but both can be heard on the Georgia Tech-ISP network (WGST 640AM/105.7 FM in Atlanta), featuring Wes Durham and Randy Waters.
Tickets for the Florida A&M game can be purchased by calling the Tech ticket office at 1-888-TECH-TIX.
Tech was plagued by poor shooting in last week’s home losses to Wake Forest and North Carolina. In those two games, the Jackets managed to shoot just 29.5 percent (36-122) from the field, including nine-for-45 (20 percent) from three-point range.
“What’s killing us right now is that we’re not putting the ball in the basket,” said Tech head coach Bobby Cremins. “I thought we played hard against North Carolina, but we just could not put the ball in the basket.
“We’re very fragile, confidence-wise, right now, and we really need something good to happen. I just would like to see us shoot the ball better, and take care of the ball.”
Senior forward Jason Collier leads Georgia Tech both scoring (17.8) and rebounding (9.7). The 7-footer from Springfield, Ohio, ranks second in the ACC in scoring and first in rebounding, and he leads the league with nine double-doubles, including four in ACC play.
Collier is joined in the frontcourt by 6-11 junior center Alvin Jones (Lakeland, Fla.), who averages 11.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game, and 6-6 senior swingman Jason Floyd (Hampton, Ga.), 10.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
The Tech backcourt features 5-11 sophomore point guard Tony Akins (Lilburn, Ga.), 10.5 points and 4.2 assists per game, and 6-3 junior Shaun Fein (Centerville, Mass.), 10.5 ppg and 3.4 apg.
Tech’s top subs are 6-5 freshman forward Clarence Moore (Norco, La.), 3.9 ppg and 3.2 rpg; 5-10 junior guard T.J. Vines (Woodstock, Ga.), 4.2 ppg and 2.2 apg.
Junior forward Jon Babul (North Attleboro, Mass.), 4.1 ppg and 4.2 rpg, who has missed the last three games with a strained right quadriceps, is doubtful for Clemson but could return against Florida A&M.
Clemson (7-13, 1-6) earned its first ACC win last week with a 59-42 victory over NC State.
The Tigers are the ACC’s top rebounding team (41.7 per game) and feature the league’s leading scorer in Will Solomon, whose 20.7 scoring average leads Tech’s Collier.
“Like us, Clemson is struggling, but they had a great win last week over NC State,” said Cremins. “Will Solomon has been sensational, and we all know how tough it has been for us to play at Clemson.”
The Clemson lineup also includes 6-9 senior forward Andrius Jurkunas, 7.2 ppg and 6.2 rpg; 6-8 sophomore forward Chucky Gilmore, 3.4 ppg and 6.9 rpg; and 6-0 freshman guard Edward Scott, 5.7 ppg and 2.7 rpg. Starting center Adam Allenspach, the team’s top rebounder (7.4) and second-leading scorer (12.1), is not expected to play with a back injury.
Florida A&M of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference has a record of 3-14, pending games Monday against Hampton and Wednesday versus Norfolk State. Participants in the 1999 NCAA Tournament, the Rattlers are led by 6-4 guard Travis Grant, 9.0 ppg and 2.3 rpg; 6-1 guard Morris Scott, 6.6 ppg and 3.4 rpg; and 6-7 forward Germaine Diggs, 6.1 ppg and 5.9 rpg.
The Series with Clemson
Clemson holds a 47-46 lead in the series with Georgia Tech, which began in 1913. The two teams split last year’s meetings, with each team winning on its homecourt. Tech won, 66-62, in Atlanta, while the Tigers prevailed, 92-64, at Clemson. The home team has won 22 of the last 25 regular season games in the series.
Georgia Tech was the opponent for the first game at Littlejohn Coliseum on Nov. 30, 1968. The Tigers won that game, 76-72, and since then, the Jackets have managed just four victories at Clemson for a 4-23 record. Tech has lost six in a row and 12 of its last 13 games at Littlejohn. Since 1986, the Jackets’ only win at Clemson was a 66-59 decision in 1993. Among those 12 losses, however, are three overtime defeats (1988, 1989 and 1992) and three other games decided by three points or fewer (1990, 1995 and 1996).
The Series With Florida A&M Georgia Tech has won both of the previous meetings with Florida A&M, winning 112-83 on Dec. 1, 1992 and 112-56 on Nov. 26, 1994. Both games were played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center. The 112 points scored in each game is the sixth-best total in school history, while the 59-point margin in the 1994 meeting ranks fourth in Tech annals.
LaBarrie Faces Former Team
Yellow Jacket reserve Darryl LaBarrie (Decatur, Ga.) played one season at Florida A&M (1996-97) before transferring to Tech. He averaged 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game to earn Mid-Easter Athletic Conference All-Rookie honors. The 6-3 junior guard has played in seven games this season, including six points in the season opener against Mercer.
Collier Enjoying All-Around Season
Jason Collier leads Georgia Tech in both scoring (17.8) and rebounding (9.7). The 7-0 senior is second in the ACC in scoring, to Clemson’s Will Solomon, and first in rebounding as he bids to become the first Yellow Jacket to lead the ACC in that category.
Collier is fifth in the ACC in field goal percentage (50.4) and eighth in free throw percentage (.745), joining Maryland’s Terence Morris as the only players to rank among the league’s Top 10 in scoring, rebounding, field goal and free throw percentage. Collier also ranks seventh in blocks shots (1.3).
The Springfield, Ohio, native is shooting fewer threes than he did last season but has been effective from beyond the arc, hitting 19 of 49 (.388).
Tech from Beyond the Arc
Georgia Tech is second in the ACC in three-point field goals per game. The Jackets, who hit 12 treys against Florida State (12-26) and nine versus Maryland (9-17), average 7.9 treys per game and rank fifth in the league in percentage (33.8).
Two Tech players rank in the ACC Top 10 in three-point field goals per game and three-point percentage. Shaun Fein is second in treys per game (2.4) and sixth in percentage (.387), while Tony Akins ranks fourth (2.0) and 10th (.359), respectively. In addition, 7-0 forward Jason Collier shoots 38.8 percent (19-49) from beyond the arc.
Jackets Cashing In At The Line
The Yellow Jackets have made a significant improvement as a team in free throw shooting this season, ranking third in the ACC at 70.4 percent. That’s almost 10 percentage points above last year’s average (62.1).
The improvement has been most pronounced for Alvin Jones. In his first two seasons at Tech, Jones hit 53.5 percent of his free throws. This season, he has improved to 62.4 percent, connecting on 83 of 133 from the stripe.