Jan. 11, 2011
By Jon Cooper
TECH LEADING SCORER: Iman Shumpert, 15.7 ppg.
CLEMSON LEADING SCORER: Stitt Demontez, 13.3 ppg.
TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Iman Shumpert, 5.8 rpg.
CLEMSON LEADING REBOUNDER: Jerai Grant, 6.9 rpg.
TECH PPG: 71.3 ppg.
OPP. PPG: 67.9 ppg.
CLEMSON PPG: 69.4 ppg.
OPP. PPG: 59.8 ppg.
Clemson Player to Watch: Andre Young: The 5-9 junior point guard loves shooting from downtown and has been especially potent against Georgia Tech. Young, who is leading the Tigers with 34 three-point field goals and has made at least one in 17 straight games, is second on the team in three-point field goal percentage (41.5 percent) and is shooting 57.9 percent (11 of 19) lifetime against the Yellow Jackets.
Getting out of Atlanta and to Littlejohn Coliseum was half the battle for Georgia Tech, which looks for its first road win and first conference win tonight, taking on Clemson (Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m.). They’re hoping it’s the easier half.
The Yellow Jackets are 0-4 on the road this season and are looking to avoid their second three-game losing streak of the season. They are coming off an 86-75 loss at Boston College on Saturday. Redshirt freshman Kammeon Holsey had 18, while Iman Shumpert (15) and Mfon Udofia (14) also hit double-figures for the Jackets, who led early in the second half before a 16-4 run turned the tables.
The Tigers are rolling, having won seven straight, with six of those wins coming at home. In their last game, they knocked off Miami, 79-72, on Saturday at Littlejohn to even their ACC record. Jerai Grant had a big night, scoring 18 points and pulling down 11 rebounds (five offensive) and Demontez Stitt added 17, five of them fueling a 12-0 run to open the second half and break open what had been a one-point game at halftime.
Georgia Tech has not enjoyed playing at Littlejohn, where they have lost five straight and are 8-30 all-time. The 30 wins are the most for Clemson against any team. The Jackets hold a slim 59-57 edge in the series, which is the longest-running series Tech has with an ACC rival, and have won two of three overall. Paul Hewitt’s teams are 4-6 in Clemson, 12-9 overall.
Tonight’s game can be seen on Fox Sports South with Chip Caray doing the play-by-play and Mike Gminski providing the color. As always, the game can be heard on the Georgia Tech/ISP 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.
Iman-ing Up: Iman Shumpert has been the reliable hot hand for the Jackets this season. He’s scored in double-figures in 13 straight games, averaging 16.5 points in that span. Shumpert enters tonight’s game 6th in the ACC in scoring and is averaging 19.3 ppg over his last three games, shooting 39.1 percent. He had a monster game against Charlotte, shooting 8-for-19, making 60 percent of his threes (6-for-10) and was 6-for-6 from the line. He also pulled down nine boards and dealt eight assists.
Pretty Good Company: Shumpert continues to work his way up the Georgia Tech career charts in assists and steals. Shumpert is ninth all-time in swipes, with 158 and is only 10 behind Kenny Anderson for eighth place. He’s currently in 11th place in assists, but the top 10 is still a ways away, as he trails Jim Thorne, by 87 helpers. Thus far, Shumpert has passed five players on the assists list, all five — Dennis Scott, Matt Harpring, Duane Ferrell, Jon Barry and John Salley — played in the NBA. He’s passed eight players on the steals list, including Barry, and Dennis Scott. He currently ranks fourth among active ACC players in steals and fifth in assists.
For the Greater Good: While Georgia Tech’s post trio of redshirt freshmen Daniel Miller and Kammeon Holey and true freshman Nate Hicks is lacking experience, the group has performed well for learning on the job. Together they are averaging a double-double (10.1 points and 10.0 rebounds), while shooting 52.9 percent. Miller is averaging 7.0 rebounds per game over his last seven games and has been held below six boards a game only once. That came against Charlotte, when he had six blocks. He’s shooting 57.1 percent in his last eight games. Holsey, who has started the last three games, has hit in double figures in two of them, scoring 31 points and shooting 13-for-16, 6-for-8 from the line. Hicks, who didn’t play against B.C., is making quieter contributions and has seen his playing time begin to rise.
Encore!: Starting point guard Mfon Udofia had his best game of the season in the ACC opener at Boston College. He hit for a season-high 14 points, canning four of his five shots, including his lone three, and made 5 of 7 free throws. The points and FTMs were season-highs and his four field goals matched his 2010-11 best. Udofia has hit for four field goals in three of Tech’s last six games. In those games, he’s shot 63.2 percent (12-for-19) and has shot 42.8 percent overall. In the other three games he’s shooting 3-for-16 (18.7).
The Road Warrior: Maybe there’s something about silencing visiting crowds, but Glen Rice, Jr. has thrived away from Alexander Memorial Coliseum. He’s averaging 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, both team-highs, he’s grabbed a team-high 12 offensive rebounds, leads the team with 13 assists (3.25 apg), is one off the team lead with six steals, and is shooting 57.4 percent, tops among players with at least 20 field goal attempts. He’s also second in three-point field goals made (three), but he’d like to improve his percentage (he’s shooting 25.0 percent) as well as at the line, where he’s only 1-for-6. He’s shot 45.8 percent over his last four games (27-for-59).
The Sixth Man: Congratulations go out to the voice of the Yellow Jackets, Wes Durham, on winning his seventh Georgia Sportscaster of the Year Award. Durham, is in his 16th season calling Georgia Tech football and basketball. He’s won six awards in the last nine years, wit Skip Caray, Larry Munson and Pete Van Weiren the only others to win it in that time. Coincidentally, Caray’s son, Chip, will be on hand, calling the game for Fox Sports South.