Jan. 8, 2010
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s 20th-ranked (AP) basketball team gets back into Atlantic Coast Conference play Saturday with a 2 p.m. nationally-televised (ESPN) contest against 5th-ranked Duke at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (11-3, 0-1 ACC) vs.
Duke Blue Devils (13-1, 1-0 ACC)
Date: Saturday, January 9, 2010
Tipoff: 2 p.m. Eastern time
Site: Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex
Television: ESPN; Brad Nessler play-by-play, Jay Bilas color
Radio: Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, live on flagship station WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY-FM (106.7). Wes Durham play-by-play, Randy Waters color.
Satellite Radio: XM 190, Sirius 214
On the web: Audio and live stats available at Ramblinwreck.com. Live video broadcast on ESPN360.com.
Tickets: available at www.Ramblinwreck.com/tickets
Series History: Duke leads, 61-22
Tech is 11-3 overall, off to its best start since the 2006-07 season despite a 73-66 loss at Georgia Tuesday night. The Yellow Jackets are 7-1 at home this season, the lone loss coming in their ACC opener against Florida State, 66-59 in overtime on Dec, 20.
Duke, 13-1 overall, has won seven straight games, including a 74-53 rout of No. 21 Clemson in its first ACC game Sunday night in Durham. The Blue Devils are coming off an 86-65 win over Iowa State Wednesday night in Chicago.
Tech’s last 11-3 start came in the 2006-07 season, when the Yellow Jackets also began 11-3 before dropping their next game. The 2004-05 team also began the season 11-3, and the 2004 Final Four unit was 12-2 through its first 14 games.
Head coach Paul Hewitt, coaching his 300th Tech game Saturday, guides the Yellow Jackets through a tough upcoming stretch, which includes four top 25 teams in the next five games. Following Saturday’s game with the Blue Devils, Tech goes back on the road to face Virginia and No. 9 North Carolina, return home to meet No. 21 Clemson, then visit No. 18 Florida State. Those four teams have a combined record of 57-14.
The Jackets have been inconsistent on offense of late, averaging just over 70 points in their last six games and shooting just 40.8 percent from the floor, but have played well defensively, limiting their last nine foes to an average of 59.4 points per game. Tech’s last nine foes have shot just 35 percent from the floor and turned the ball over more than 17 times a game.
Tech returned to full strength Jan. 2 when Iman Shumpert, the sophomore guard, returned from a six-game absence due to surgery to repair a damaged meniscus in his right knee. Shumpert has played 59 minutes in Tech’s last two games.
The Yellow Jackets have been in and out of the Associated Press poll of writers after beginning the season ranked 22nd, and have returned to the AP top 25 this week at No. 20. Tech has been in the ESPN/USA Today coaches top 25 each week of the season, currently holding the 17th position, up from No. 20 last week.
Tech Honoring 1985 ACC Championship Team Saturday
Saturday’s game marks Georgia Tech’s observance of the 25th anniversary of its first Atlantic Coast Conference championship team. It is the second of three anniversaries this year of major accomplishments by the Yellow Jackets on the hardwood.
Twenty-five years ago, in 1985, Tech won the first of its three ACC titles and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1960. Called the “Thin Gold Line,” the Bobby Cremins-coached team featured All-Americans Mark Price, John Salley and Bruce Dalrymple. That Yellow Jackets’ unit won the ACC Tournament at the Omni in Atlanta, defeating Virginia, Duke and North Carolina, then reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to defending champion Georgetown, and finished 27-8.
Price, Salley, Dalrymple and Duane Ferrell, a freshman on that team, all will attend Saturday’s game.
Tech, playing its 93rd season of basketball, honored its 1960 team, the first to play in the NCAA Tournament, on its 50th anniversary in December. Roger Kaiser, a consensus All-American from Dale, Ind., led the Yellow Jackets to a first-round victory over Ohio University before Tech fell to eventual national champion Ohio State in the second round. Tech finished the year 22-6.
Twenty years ago, in 1990, Tech reached the NCAA Final Four for the first time behind the famous “Lethal Weapon 3” trio of Brian Oliver, Dennis Scott and Kenny Anderson. The Yellow Jackets defeated East Tennessee State, LSU, Michigan State and Minnesota on the way to Denver, where they fell to eventual champion UNLV and finished 28-7. That Tech team also won the ACC title in Charlotte that season.
Tech is honoring these teams by wearing replica uniforms throughout the 2009-10 season, and each team has been invited back for a reunion at a Tech game. The 1990 team, the first to advance to the NCAA Final Four, will be feted at the NC State game Feb. 6.
Series with Duke
> Duke has won 24 of the last 26 games in the series, including a 70-56 victory in Atlanta in the team’s only regular-season meeting last season.
> Duke has won 11 of the last 12 meetings at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and has a 21-12 lead over Tech in games played in the Jackets’ home court, as well as a 25-15 mark in games played in Atlanta.
> Duke leads the overall series 61-22, and is 48-18 against Tech since the Jackets joined the ACC.
> Tech’s best stretch of the series occurred between 1982 and 1989, with 10 wins in 17 meetings. Tech has never won more than two in a row.
> Tech is 18-47 against Duke teams coached by Mike Krzyzewski, 11-17 in games played in Atlanta. Paul Hewitt is 2-16 vs. Duke.
Head Coach Paul Hewitt Comments
On the Georgia Loss:
“It was a tough game for our guys. I don’t want to take anything away from Georgia; they played well and deserved to win the basketball game. Our guys felt they were prepared pretty well going into the game, so they were pretty upset afterwards. It was just one of those games. It’s a rivalry game.”
On whom the Yellow Jackets plan on attacking defensively in the Duke game:
“Well, their whole perimeter game is strong. I’m also very impressed with how their big guys play their role. [Brian] Zoubek is a very good rebounder and Lance Thomas sets some very good screens. They’re a very good unit.”
On Georgia Tech’s young squad will have to learn to win close games in ACC play:
“There’s some of that. First, you have to separate last year from this year. It’s not just one continuous season. The thing I was happy about at the end of the Charlotte game was we had a six-point possession go against us late. When the game was over, I was happy that happened, because I wanted to see how they would respond to a situation like that, and they responded well. There are some glimpses of saying that maybe these guys are putting it together.”
On if the team was not being patient in the half court in the Georgia loss:
“There were some things that if I had to go back and do over, I would’ve done differently defensively. I was probably too passive; I’m not going to put that on them. I thought we had some good looks; we just didn’t knock them down. Shooting can be fickle sometimes. I would put it on me being not as aggressive as I should’ve been. But, you don’t get any do-over’s.”
On if the press can effectively wear down Duke’s perimeter players:
“I don’t think it’ll wear them down. Those guys know how to pace themselves and are very experienced. Hopefully, you hope the press can get them out of their rhythm and you can force some turnovers. But, I don’t think you can go in and wear them down with pressure.”
On playing four Top 25, ACC opponents in the next five games:
“That’s the ACC. That’s the way it’s always been. In terms of rankings and such, that’s just life in the ACC.”