Feb. 15, 2011
Starting Five: Georgia Tech (10-14, 3-8) vs Chattanooga (14-13, 10-5)
By Jon Cooper
CHATTANOOGA LEADING SCORER: Omar Wattad, 14.7 ppg
CHATTANOOGA LEADING SCORER, Southern: Omar Wattad, 16.3 ppg
CHATTANOOGA LEADING REBOUNDER: DeAntre Jefferson, 6.5 rpg.
CHATTANOOGA LEADING REBOUNDER, Southern: DeAntre Jefferson, 6.3 rpg.
TECH PPG: 69.3/67.4 (ACC)
OPP. PPG: 68.2/70.1 (ACC)
CHATTANOOGA PPG: 72.6/73.0 (Southern)
OPP. PPG: 75.1/75.0 (Southern)
Chattanooga Player to Watch: Omar Wattad: The 6-5, 225-pound junior sharpshooter is ninth in the Southern Conference in scoring and is one of the conference’s top three-point shooters, converting a SoCon-high 3.5 threes per game and shooting at 43.5 percent from behind the arc, seventh in the conference. The former Georgetown transfer (he sat out last season) has struggled of late, however, making only two of his last 11 three-point attempts in his last two games, including a 1-for-7 day on Saturday at Appalachian State.
Georgia Tech takes a one-night hiatus from ACC play but will have its hands full as they host Southern Conference power Chattanooga. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets will try to get back on the winning track, as they’ve lost five straight, and have dropped their last three at home. The Jackets road woes continued in their last game, Sunday afternoon in Blacksburg, as they dropped a 72-57 decision to Virginia Tech. Iman Shumpert had 27 to pace Tech, which surrendered the first nine points of the game and never caught up.
The Mocs also are skidding, as they’ve dropped their last three games and are clinging to a one-game lead over Western Carolina in the Southern Conference North Division. In their last game, UTC fell, 78-68, at Appalachian State, in the second of back-to-back games. Ricky Taylor scored 21 to lead the Mocs, who were undone by a 14-0, second-half Mountaineers run.
Georgia Tech has dominated the series against Chattanooga, winning 14 of the 16 games and is riding a 12-game series winning streak. They’ll carry a perfect 7-0 home record into tonight’s game. The teams last met Dec. 14, 2009, at McKenzie Arena, with Tech taking a 95-64 decision. Gani Lawal had a game-high 29 for the Jackets, who used a 13-0 run to close the first half and take a 52-33 lead at halftime then cruised home. The 31-point win is the largest road win for a Paul Hewitt-coached team.
Tonight’s game can be heard on the Georgia Tech/IMG Sports Network’s flagship stations WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY (106.7 FM). Wes Durham and Randy Waters call the action. Fans also can follow the game on Ramblinwreck.com.
Here now, the starting five for today’s game.
Old Rivals: The Georgia Tech-Chattanooga series has been going on a lot longer than people might realize. The teams first met in 1914 and met every year from 1922, ’23 and ’24. After an 18-year break, the teams resumed hostilities, meeting in 1942, ’46, ’47, ’48, ’49 and ’50. After taking a 34-year break, the teams met in a home-and-home series in 1984 and ’85, then didn’t meet again until another home-and-home in 1991 and ’92. The teams resumed hostilities last year. The Jackets have not lost since 1923.
Talk About Inflation!: Tech and Chattanooga split the first four games of the series, with Tech winning, 23-21, in 1914, losing 25-11, in 1920, winning, 33-30, in 1922, and losing, 41-29, in 1923. In those first four games, Tech scored a total of 96 points. That’s one more than they scored in last year’s game.
Non-Conference Non-Factors: Tonight’s game completes the non-conference portion of the Yellow Jackets’ 2010-11 schedule. The Jackets once again have had great success at home against out-of-conference competition, as they are 6-2 heading into tonight’s game. Since the 1981-82 season, Tech has a 92.1 winning percentage in non-conference games at AMC (176-15).
Dressed to the Nines: It’s getting old hat for Iman Shumpert to carry the load offensively, but he’s been especially hot in recent games. Shumpert has made nine field goals in each of the last two games, including a sizzling 50-percent shooting day against Virginia Tech (9-for-18). He was almost as hot from three, against the Hokies, shooting 46.1 percent from downtown (6-for-13). In two games against Virginia Tech, Shumpert scored 49 points and shot 48.4 percent (16-for-33). Shumpert has now scored in double figures in nine straight games, five of them scoring more than 20 points.
Can’t Miss Kid: Daniel Miller didn’t shoot a lot at Virginia Tech but he was perfect when he did. Miller made all three field goal attempts and was 2-for-2 from the foul line. Granted that’s a modest sampling, but it marked the first game all season where Miller made all of his foul shots.
The Sixth Man: Junior Nick Foreman made the most of his playing time on Saturday, scoring a season-high six points on 1-for-1 shooting (he made his lone three-point attempt) and went 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Foreman hadn’t scored since the season opener in his limited action and had been 0-for-6 from the fioor. He also grabbed a season-high four rebounds. He’s pulled in two offensive rebounds in each of the last two games. Last season, Foreman had one of his best games against the Mocs, scoring six points on 3-for-4 shooting, with a career-high three assists in 15 minutes.