March 5, 2011
ATLANTA – With two senior players not only playing their final home game in a Georgia Tech uniform, but in the final game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, the Yellow Jackets host Miami in the teams’ second meeting of the season at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The game will be regionally-televised on the ACC Network (WATL-TV in Atlanta).
Tech (12-17, 4-11 ACC) snapped an eight-game conference losing streak Thursday night with an 80-54 rout of Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, and look to build on that momentum heading into next week’s ACC Tournament and even the season series with the Hurricanes. Miami defeated the Yellow Jackets, 59-57, Feb. 3 in Coral Gables in what remains Tech’s closest ACC game this season.
The Jackets are locked into the 11th seed for the ACC Tournament, which begins Thursday in Greensboro, N.C. They will play the late game Thursday (approximately 9:30 p.m.) against the No. 6 seed, which could be either Clemson, Boston College or Maryland.
Tech leads the ACC in turnovers forced (16.6 per game) and steals (9.5 per game), and has begun to click offensively in its last two games, averaging 77 points, shooting 45.8 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three-point range.
The Jackets are led by All-ACC candidate Iman Shumpert, a 6-5 guard from Oak Park, Ill., who is bidding to become the fourth player in ACC history to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. He has averaged nearly 20 points a game over his last 14 games. The Jackets remain without third-leading scorer Brian Oliver, who is not expected back before the ACC Tournament due to a fractured left thumb.
Head coach Paul Hewitt’s team, which returned two starters and eight letterwinners from a team that reached the championship game in last year’s ACC Tournament and won their first-round game in the NCAA Tournament, is one of the youngest in the ACC, with freshmen and sophomores making 90 of 145 possible starts and playing around 70 percent of the minutes.
Miami (18-12, 6-9 ACC) is tied with Virginia for eighth place in the ACC standings. The Hurricanes are 5-3 since they faced Tech in Coral Gables, and are 2-5 on the road in ACC games.
Tech is 9-6 at home this season, 3-4 in ACC games, and is 3-2 at home all-time against Miami.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (12-17, 4-11 ACC) vs. Miami Hurricanes (18-12, 6-9 ACC)
Date: Sunday, March 6, 2011
Tipoff: 2:30 p.m. Eastern time
Site: Alexander Memorial Coliseum (capacity 9,191), Atlanta, Ga.
Television: ACC Network – Steve Martin, play-by-play; Eddie Fogler, color
Radio: Georgia Tech Sports Network from IMG College, live on flagship station WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY-FM (106.7) – Wes Durham, play-by-play; Randy Waters, color.
Satellite Radio: Sirius Ch. 122, XM Ch. 143 (Tech broadcast)
Tech Tickets: 888-TECH-TIX
Tech Record Breakdown: 9-6 at home, 1-10 on the road, 2-1 neutral
Series History: Miami leads, 7-5 (Tech leads, 3-2, at Alexander Memorial Coliseum)
At Alexander Memorial Coliseum: Georgia Tech is 555-194 in its 55th and final season in the building.
Series History – Tech vs. Miami
> After winning the first two meetings with Miami after the Hurricanes became members of the ACC, Tech has dropped five of the last six, including a pair of two-point defeats in Coral Gables in the teams’ last two regular-season meetings.
> The last six meetings have all been decided by 10 points or less.
> The last meeting between the two schools prior to Miami’s joining the ACC occurred in December of 1997 as part of the Orange Bowl Classic doubleheader at Miami Arena, the Hurricanes’ home court until the team moved into the on-campus Convocation Center last year. The Yellow Jackets, led that year by senior forward Matt Harpring, won that game, 69-61.
> Tech played Miami twice under former head coach Whack Hyder, losing the first-ever meeting in the series by 22 points in 1953, then taking a six-point homecourt victory in 1967. That was the only pre-ACC visit by the Hurricanes to Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and the 90-84 Tech win has been the highest scoring game in the brief series.
> Tech coach Paul Hewitt is 3-6 against Miami, and Hurricanes head coach Frank Haith is 6-3 against the Yellow Jackets.
First Meeting vs. Miami
A frantic rally from a 20-point deficit early in the second half failed to pay dividends as Tech fell agonizingly short 59-57 to slip below .500.
The Hurricanes, reduced to panic by a frenzied full-court press after intermission, staved off the Jackets only after a charging foul was whistled against guard Iman Shumpert on a drive to the basket for what would have been a tying goal with 9.8 seconds remaining.
Miami built a 21-point lead with 13 1/2 minutes left, then held on despite making only two baskets the rest of the way. Sophomore Glen Rice Jr. scored a career-high 28 points for the Yellow Jackets.
The last of 28 Miami turnovers that fueled Tech’s comeback then allowed Shumpert a three-quarters-court heave for improbable victory at the buzzer. But the shot bounded off the top of the backboard.
Final Game in the Thrillerdome
Georgia Tech is playing its 55th 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 McCamish Pavilion, which will be built on the same site and be ready for the 2012-13 season. The only parts of the building that will remain are the roof and its 32 steel support ribs.
Georgia Tech has a record of 555-194 (.741) 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.
For the 2011-12 season, Georgia Tech will play some combination of its home games in Philips Arena, which is located downtown and is the home court of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, and the Arena at Gwinnett in Duluth, Ga., home of the Gwinnett Gladiators hockey team and the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League.
The goal is for the Yellow Jackets to play all of their ACC home games at Philips Arena, along with their game in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and a non-conference game against Alabama. Any additional non-conference games would be played at the Arena at Gwinnett. None of that will be finalized, however, until mid-summer.
Tech’s women will play all of their home games at the Arena at Gwinnett. The 2012 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament will be played at Philips Arena.
Miller, Storrs Finishing Their Careers Strong
Georgia Tech’s two lone seniors are finishing their careers as starters after long stretches of being reserve players. Both players have undergone their share of adversity in their careers, but have landed in contributing roles as their time in a Tech uniform comes to a close.
Miller came to Tech as a highly-rated point guard from Memphis, Tenn., but several injuries, including a sprained back, a broken nose and two concussions, as well as competition at his position, have been factors in an up-and-down career. Late in his junior year and early this season, he became a solid, steady floor leader off the bench, and got back into the starting lineup in Tech’s last 20 games.
Storrs arrived from Decatur, Ga. from a state-champion high school team with a repuation as a strong outside shooter, but has seen his role morph into a backup frontcourt player, and he has become a starter at the “4” position over Tech’s last four games.
Since Brian Oliver has been sidelined with a broken thumb, Tech’s two seniors have combined to average 45.4 minutes and 12.0 points a game. Both players will play their final home games in a Tech uniform Sunday against Miami.