Nov. 10, 2007
ATLANTA – Coming off an 83-74 homecourt loss to UNC Greensboro in its season opener Friday night, Georgia Tech turns around almost immediately for its first road game of the year Sunday night at Tennessee State. Tech will not play another game in the city of Atlanta until Dec. 5 (at Georgia State) and not again on its home floor until Dec. 18 (No. 4 Kansas).
Tech’s game tips off at 7 p.m. Eastern time Sunday night and can be heard on radio in Atlanta on WQXI-AM (790), WREK-FM (91.1) and WTSH-FM (107.1). No live stats will be available online.
Tech is beginning its 92nd season of men’s basketball at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have an all-time record of 1,189-1,038, dating back to Feb. 17, 1906. Tech is beginning its eighth season under head coach Paul Hewitt (127-96).
Until its loss to UNCG Friday night, Tech had won all seven previous season-openers with Paul Hewitt as head coach, and the Jackets had not lost a season-opener that was played at home since the 1980-81 season, the final year under Dwane Morrison. Tech, which went 20-12 last year and made the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last four years, is looking to avoid its first 0-2 start since the 1974-75 season (Georgia, Alabama, both on the road).
The Tigers under fifth-year head coach Cy Alexander won their season opener Friday night against Cumberland, Tenn. (90-80). TSU went 12-20 last season, 8-13 in the Ohio Valley Conference (8th place), and return three starters from that team.
Tech has won both previous meetings with the Tigers, both under Hewitt and both played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The teams last played in December of 2005.
Tech has 38 days between games at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, the longest such stretch since the 1986-87 season, when the Jackets played their home opener on Dec. 1 then did not play at home again until Jan. 14, a period of 43 days. After Sunday night’s game at Tennessee State, Tech travels next weekend to play in the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, then have road games Nov. 27 at Indiana, Dec. 1 at Vanderbilt and Dec. 5 at Georgia State.
Yellow Jacket Storylines
> Georgia Tech returns six players who had started at least eight games last year, including junior guard Lewis Clinch, who started the first 12 games before his season ended due to a violation of Institute policy. Seven players who return from last year averaged at least 10 minutes per game for the games they played, and an eighth player, D’Andre Bell, averaged 8.9 minutes over 28 games.
> One of those returnees, senior center Ra’Sean Dickey, is academically ineligible for the fall semester and will not be available to play for at least the first eight games of the 2007-08 season.
> Tech adds five players to its roster this year — three incoming freshmen in 6-8 forward Gani Lawal, 6-1 point guard Maurice “Moe” Miller and 6-4 guard Lance Storrs, a transfer who sat out last season in 6-0 point guard Matt Causey, and a 2006-07 freshman who red-shirted – 6-11 center Brad Sheehan.
> Tech’s returning players accounted for 61 percent of the minutes played, 57 percent of its scoring and nearly 70 percent of its rebounding last season.
> Tech will play one of the most ambitious road schedules in recent memory, traveling to the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Notre Dame, Baylor, Wichita State are possible opponents after first-round meeting with Charlotte. Tech also visits Nashville twice for games against Vanderbilt and Tennessee State and travels to Indiana and Connecticut, while playing its annual games with state-rival Georgia and cross-town rival Georgia State on their home floors.
> Tech has only three home games before the Christmas holiday, UNC-Greensboro to open the season, Kansas on Dec. 18, and Centenary on Dec. 22. In contrast to last season, when the Jackets played 17 home games, they play only 13 this year, which would be the fewest for a full season since 1990-91.
Tough Road Ahead
A visit by Kansas to Alexander Memorial Coliseum on Dec. 18 and a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam highlight a rugged non-conference schedule.
Aside from the Paradise Jam (Nov. 16-19), which includes a first-round game against Charlotte and potential clashes with Winthrop and Notre Dame, the Jackets also travel to Indiana (ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 27), Vanderbilt (Dec. 1), Georgia (Jan. 9) and Connecticut (Feb. 9).
Also on the travel itinerary are a Nov. 11 trip to Tennessee State in Nashville and a Dec. 5 game at Georgia State’s Sports Arena, Tech’s first visit to the Panthers’ home court since 1973.
The appearance by Kansas is a return engagement for Tech’s Jan. 1, 2005 trip to Lawrence, which the Jayhawks won in overtime. That game highlights a non-conference home schedule that includes the regular-season opener against UNC-Greensboro (Nov. 9), Centenary (Dec. 22), Tennessee Tech (Dec. 27) and Presbyterian (Jan. 6).
ACC foes North Carolina (Jan. 16), Virginia Tech (Jan. 19), Maryland (Feb. 2) and Virginia (Feb. 21), each of whom played in last year’s NCAA Tournament, all make visits to Alexander Memorial Coliseum this year, as well as NIT participants Florida State (Dec. 30) and Clemson (Mar. 6).
Miami (Feb. 17) and Wake Forest (Mar. 1) also visit the Thrillerdome this year in home-and-away series, while the games with the Tar Heels, Terrapins and Seminoles are once-only meetings. Tech makes visits to NC State, Duke and Boston College for single games only.
> By the numbers, Tech has 14 games scheduled against teams that finished in the top 50 of last year’s Ratings Percentage Index, at least 11 games against teams that played in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, and five others against NIT participants.
> All but one of Tech’s ACC games will be televised, with five non-conference games also scheduled for TV. Tech will appear on national television 11 times, eight on ESPN or ESPN2, one on ESPNU and two on the FSN Sunday Hoops package, and one, Boston College on Mar. 8, is on the ABC regional package. Six additional games are part of the ACC’s Raycom/Lincoln Financial regional syndication schedule, and three more on regional cable (FSN South and other cable partners).
Quick Look at Tech
Head coach Paul Hewitt started the same five players aqgainst UNC Greensboro who were on the floor for the opening tip of the exhibition game – freshman Maurice “Moe” Miller at point guard, senior Anthony Morrow and junior Lewis Clinch on the wings, senior Jeremis Smith at strong forward, and junior Alade Aminu at center.
The Jackets were without sophomore center Zack Peacock, who is recovering from a stress reaction in his right foot, for Friday night’s game, and Peacock also will sit out Sunday night’s game at Tennessee State.
Morrow, a 6-5 guard from Charlotte, N.C., who is the Yellow Jackets’ top returning scorer at 9.9 point a game, scored 18 points with eight rebounds against Carson-Newman. One of Tech’s all-time three-point shooters with 177 for his career, Morrow knocked down three triples against the Eagles. Smith, the team captain and a 6-8 forward from Fort Worth, Texas, is the Jackets’ top returning rebounder at 5.9 per game and the top returning percentage shooter (59.6 pct.).
Clinch, a 6-3 guard, led the way for Tech against Carson-Newman with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting. The Cordele, Ga., native was Tech’s leading scorer through 10 games last season before missing the spring semester due to a violation of Institute policy. Aminu, a 6-10 center from Stone Mountain, Ga., who enjoyed a solid final month to the 2006-07 campaign, had a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) in the exhibition game.
Miller, a 6-1 point guard from Memphis, had nine points and six rebounds with three assists and four steals in 17 minutes against Carson-Newman. His backup, 6-0 senior Matt Causey, played 13 minutes and had nine assists.
In reserve, Tech has 6-5 junior D’Andre Bell from Los Angeles, Calif., and 6-4 freshman Lance Storrs of Decatur, Ga., in the backcourt. Bell plays some minutes at the point guard position and scored nine points with four assists and three steals in the exhibition game. Storrs has impressed coaches with his long range shooting ability in practice.
In the frontcourt, Hewitt can go to 6-10 sophomore Mouhammad Faye of Dakar, Senegal, 6-8 freshman Gani Lawal of Norcross, Ga., and 6-11 red-shirt freshman Brad Sheehan of Latham, N.Y. They combined for 39 points and 17 rebounds against Carson-Newman.
Tech Surprised in Opener
Georgia Tech lost its season opener Friday night, 83-74, to UNC Greensboro at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, the first time the Yellow Jackets had lost a season opener at home since 1980. Tech managed a 43-39 halftime lead, despite being outshot 50 to 35.9 percent from the floor, on the strength of its rebounding. The Jackets outrebounded the Spartans in the first half 27-14, taking 17 offensive rebounds for 19 second-half points.
But the Spartans reversed that trend in the second half, taking a 22-15 advantage on the boards while opening a 14-point lead at one point. Kyle Hines led UNCG, which shot 49.1 percent for the game, with 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the floor.
Anthony Morrow paced Tech with 23 points, making 8-of-18 shots from the floor and 3-of-6 from three-point range. Freshman Gani Lawal (12 points, 6 rebounds) and Moe Miller (10 points) also reached double figures for Tech.
> Anthony Morrow moved into 7th place on Tech’s all-time list for three-point field goals Friday night with three against UNCG. He pushed his career total to 180, passing Drew Barry. A comparable year to his last two, when he averaged 70 three-pointers, would vault him into fourth place. ahead of B.J. Elder, Marvin Lewis and Matt Harpring.
> Morrow’s 23 points were the most the senior has scored in 41 games, dating back to his sophomore season. It was the 11th 20-point game of his career and pushed his career point total to 967. He is 33 points away from becoming the 37th Tech player to score 1,000 career points.
> After not playing in Tech’s first eight ACC games last season, Alade Aminu averaged 14.4 minutes and 6.1 points (65.3 pct. FG) in the last 11 games of the season. He opened the season Friday night with five points and a career-high nine boards in a career-high 26 minutes.
> Jeremis Smith grabbed 10 rebounds Friday night to lead Tech for the 34th time in his career. It was his 13th career double-figure rebound game.
> Two of Tech’s freshmen reached double figures in their collegiate debuts Friday night. Forward Gani Lawal scored 12 points (5-of-8 FG) with six rebounds, while point guard Moe Miller scored 10 with three rebounds and two assists.
> Lewis Clinch endured one of the poorest shooting performances of his career Friday night, hitting just 2-of-13 shots from the floor and scoring five points.