March 2, 2012
ATLANTA – Looking to even its season series with Wake Forest and finish its regular season on a strong note, Georgia Tech plays its final home game of the season at 12 noon Saturday against Wake Forest at Philips Arena.
The second meeting between the two schools this season can be seen on the ACC Network (WATL-TV in Atlanta), and can be heard in Atlanta on flagship station 790 the Zone (790 AM) and True Oldies 106.7 FM, as well as across the country on satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 113, XM Ch. 190).
In its first year under head coach Brian Gregory, Tech (10-19, 3-12 ACC) is coming off a 56-52 loss to Boston College on the road Wednesday night. The Yellow Jackets have lost five of their last six games, four of those by less than 10 points, one in overtime. Wake Forest defeated the Yellow Jackets, 59-50, in the teams’ first meeting on Feb. 15.
Tech is 2-7 at Philips Arena this season (6-10 all-time), one of its two temporary home facilities while its new on-campus home, the McCamish Pavilion, is being built on the site of the old Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Philips Arena will host the 59th annual Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament next week (Mar. 8-11).
Wake Forest (13-16 overall, 4-11 ACC) enters the weekend tied for 11th place with Boston College, having split its last four games following a six-game losing streak.
A win for Tech Saturday will create at least a two-way tie for 11th place with Wake Forest. The Yellow Jackets would win that tiebreaker because it has a victory over a higher seeded team than does Wake Forest (see below for other scenarios). A loss Saturday would guarantee Tech the 12th seed and a spot in the second game of the day in next Thursday’s opening round of the ACC Tournament. The 11th seed plays in the final game of the opening round.
Georgia Tech’s primary goals this season have been to play solid team defense, win the rebounding battle, and be efficient on offense. The Yellow Jackets have a +3.8 edge in rebounding for the season and has won that battle in 17 of 29 games.
The Yellow Jackets rank 4th in the ACC (48th nationally) in field goal percentage defense (40.4 pct.) and 5th in scoring defense (78th nationally, 62.9 ppg). Tech has held 14 opponents under 40 percent from the field, and have held 12 teams under 60 points.
Tech has given up 60.7 points per game this year, which, if the season ended today, would be the program’s third lowest yield going back to the 1955-56 season, the first year statistics are available. Only one other Tech team (1984-85, 59.4 ppg) has given up fewer points per game vs. the ACC than has this year’s team (65.7).
Tech has shared the ball much better since the beginning of of February, assisting on 56.1 percent of its baskets, compared to 47.8 percent for the entire ACC schedule and 47.2 percent for the entire season.
Tech has found the going difficult on the offensive end throughout the conference schedule with a few exceptions. The Yellow Jackets shot a season-high 58.3 percent in an overtime loss at Virginia Tech on F18, shot 49.1 percent against Duke on J7, 51 percent at NC State on J11, and 45.6 percent at North Carolina on J29. Tech averaged 77.5 points in those games.
But altogether, Tech has managed to score just 57.9 points against the conference this year, which would be an all-time low for Tech in the shot clock era, and has converted just 40.8 percent of its field goals. Tech has been held under 40 points in a game twice, and under 60 nine times.
Conversely, Tech has managed to put together some excellent second halves of offense in ACC games. The Jackets have shot 46 percent or better from the floor in the second half of nine conference games, including a 52.6 effort F25 in their win over Maryland.
Tech’s offensive numbers in road games this year (62.9 ppg, 44.0% FG, 37.6% on 3s, 66.5% FT) are far better than those for the Jackets in Philips Arena.
Whom to Watch
6-8 sophomore Kammeon Holsey has scored in double figures in six of his last seven games, leading Tech in scoring in four of those. He has averaged 13.0 points on 57.6% shooting (34-for-59) and has gone 23-for-31 (74.2%) from the foul line over that stretch.
Holsey, who recorded his first career double-double against Maryland (16 pts, 10 reb) last Saturday, leads Tech in field goal percentage in all games (60.2%) and in ACC games (52.5%).
6-11 sophomore center Daniel Miller has scored in double figures in seven of his last eight games, averaging 10.0 points and 7.3 rebounds. Miller has hit 36-of-62 (58.1%) shots from the floor, 7-for-8 from the foul line. He has 20 blocked shots, 8 assists and 8 steals.
Holsey (11.8 ppg) and Miller (10.7) rank 1 and 2 for Tech in scoring since Feb. 1 and are a combined 57.3% from the floor and 76.2% from the foul line.
6-2 point guard Mfon Udofia had a career-high 9 assists with just 3 turnovers against Maryland and played good defense on the the ACC’s leading scorer, Terrell Stoglin (18 pts on 5-17 shooting).
Udofia has 33 assists and 17 turnovers in his last seven games (239 minutes).
Udofia and backup point guard Pierre Jordan have just 19 turnovers between them in the last seven games (319 minutes).
6-3 sophomore Brandon Reed has reached double digits in points in 3 of his last 5 games and 4 of his last 8, beginning with an 18-point effort at FSU on F1. He has averaged 9.4 points over that stretch.
6-10 sophomore center Nate Hicks has been sidelined recovering from mononucleosis since F8 (missed 6 games). He returned to practice Monday and dressed for the Boston College game but did not play.
6-5 junior forward Glen Rice, Jr., was suspended indefinitely on F17 and has not played the last 4 games.
6-3 senior Nick Foreman, a former walk-on who earned a scholarship this year, has played 67 minutes in Tech’s last four games to fill the void left by the absences of Glen Rice, Jr., and Nate Hicks. He has a pair of 3s in each of Tech’s last 2 games, averaging 7.0 ppg.
Three Seniors to be Honored Saturday
Senior players Derek Craig and Nick Foreman, who each walked on the Georgia Tech team from Texas four years ago and earned scholarships for their senior seasons this year, will play their final home games in a Yellow Jacket uniform Saturday.
Craig, a 6-4 sharpshooting guard from Spring, Texas, has played in 21 games in his Tech career and will graduate this summer with a bachelor’s degree in Management.
Foreman, a 6-3 wing player from Bellaire, Texas, has played in more than 100 games in his Tech career. This year, he has averaged more than 10 minutes a game, playing three different positions during the course of the season. He will receive his bachelor’s degree in History, Science and Technology this summer.
They will be honored before the Wake Forest game Saturday along with Marcus Fondon, a senior student trainer and manager from Marietta, Ga. Fondon will graduate this spring with a degree in Computer Science.
Last Time We Met
Travis McKie had 23 points and 11 rebounds to help Wake Forest beat Georgia Tech 59-50 on Feb. 15 in Winston-Salem.
Tony Chennault added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Demon Deacons, who ran off an 11-0 run in the final 6 1/2 minutes to go ahead for good.
The Demon Deacons shot just 33 percent but came through with key baskets that twice beat the shot clock during the decisive run. McKie scored the first seven points of the spurt, which gave Wake Forest an eight-point lead with about 2 1/2 minutes left.
Glen Rice Jr. scored 12 points to lead the Yellow Jackets, who shot 37.3 percent (19 of 51).
Tech-Wake Forest History
The Yellow Jackets have won six of the last nine meetings, but the Demon Deacons captured a 59-50 win over Tech in the first meeting between the two teams this year on Feb. 15 in Winston-Salem.
Tech and Wake have been annual home-and-away opponents in the ACC schedule since the conference expanded to 12 teams, but that will no longer be the case beginning next season. Tech’s only permanent home-and-away conference opponent will be Clemson.
Tech made a sweep of the season series in 2010-11, setting school records in each game for margin of victory in an ACC game (74-39 at home on Jan, 19) and for margin of victory in an ACC road game (80-54 on Mar. 3).
Tech was 23-9 in games played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, winning each of the last seven meetings in the building.
The home team has won 29 of the last 38 regular-season games in the series, with Wake Forest winning four times in Atlanta during that span, and Tech winning five times in Winston-Salem.
Tech is 32-26 against Wake Forest since 1985, including 12 straight victories from 1985-91.
ACC Tournament Scenarios for Tech
If Georgia Tech wins Saturday, both teams would be 4-12 and would be part of a tie for seeding purposes in next week’s ACC Tournament. If the Yellow Jackets are tied only with Wake Forest, it would be seeded 11th and and play in the final game of Thursday’s opening round.
If Boston College and Virginia Tech are involved in the tie, seeding is determined by the teams’ combined records against the others in the tie.
Tech cannot be seeded higher than 11th even if it wins Saturday. A loss would mean a 12th seed for the Jackets and a spot in the second game Thursday.
The Yellow Jackets will be the No. 11 seed with a win AND a Boston College loss.
The Yellow Jackets will be the No. 11 seed with a win AND a Virginia Tech win AND a Boston College loss
The Yellow Jackets will be the No. 12 seed with a loss
The Yellow Jackets will be the No. 12 seed with a win AND a Boston College win AND a Virginia Tech loss