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Tech Begins Homestretch With Visit From Wake Forest

Feb. 29, 2008

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech opens a stretch off three home games in six days Saturday when it hosts Wake Forest at 2 p.m. Saturday in a regionally-televised Atlantic Coast Conference game.

The game will be regionally televised on the Raycom/ACC network, and will air in Atlanta on WATL-TV.

See a complete listing of affiliates carrying the Tech game

Radio coverage of the game is provided on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, and can be heard in Atlanta on WQXI-AM (790), WREK-FM (91.1) and WTSH-FM (107.1). Tech’s broadcast also can be heard on XM Radio Ch. 192.

Tech, 11-15 for the season and 4-8 in the ACC, has lost five consecutive games and six of its last seven, including a 71-58 decision Wednesday at No. 7 Duke. The Yellow Jackets are in ninth place in the ACC standings, a game out of last place, 3-1/2 games out of third.

The Yellow Jackets defeated the Demon Deacons, 89-83, on Feb. 6 in Winston-Salem for their most recent win. Virginia comes to Atlanta Monday night in a make-up of a game postponed from Feb. 21, and Clemson closes out Tech’s home schedule Thursday.

Wake Forest has a 16-10 overall record and a 6-7 mark in the ACC, seventh place in the ACC. The Deacons have won three of five games since the loss to Tech, but have lost their last two, including a 74-70 homecourt loss to Maryland Thursday night.

With a 4-6 home record, Georgia Tech must win all three upcoming home games to avoid its first losing mark in 27 years. Tech has had two losing seasons at home since Alexander Memorial Coliseum was built, in 1973-74 (4-10) and 1980-81 (4-11).

Tech has played a strong schedule, posting a schedule strength rank of No. 13 according to this week’s RPI rankings. The teams Tech lost to have a combined record of 282-106 (through Thursday’s games), including losses to six top-25 teams who have a combined mark of 164-30. Tech is 5-12 vs. teams in the top 100 of the RPI.

Series vs. Wake Forest

> Wake leads the overall series with Georgia Tech, 34-30, having won eight of the last 13 meetings and 13 of the last 20. The teams have split their regular-season meetings the last four years. Georgia Tech won the teams’ first meeting this year, an 89-93 decision in Winston-Salem on Feb. 6.

> Tech and Wake split their regular-season games in 2007, each winning at home. Wake Forest took the rubber match in the first round of the ACC Tournament, winning 114-112 in double-overtime, the highest scoring game in ACC Tournament history and the highest scoring game for Tech involving and ACC opponent in its history.

> Tech is 20-9 in games played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, including the last three meetings. The Jackets captured a 75-61 win on Feb. 21 of last year. The Demon Deacons had won two straight meetings in Atlanta and three of five before that.

>The home team has won 23 of the last 31 regular-season games in the series, with Wake Forest winning four times at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in that span, and Tech winning four times in Winston-Salem.

> Tech is 27-23 against Wake Forest since 1985, including 12 straight victories from 1985-91.

> Tech is 7-10 against Wake Forest under head coach Paul Hewitt. The Jackets are 1-0 against Dino Gaudio-coached Wake Forest teams.

Quick Look at Tech

Georgia Tech’s starting lineup for the last 12 games (beginning Jan. 12 at Miami) has included freshman Moe Miller at point guard and junior D’Andre Bell at one wing. Seniors Anthony Morrow (wing) and Jeremis Smith (big forward) have started all 26 games for the Yellow Jackets, while freshman Gani Lawal has started the last 19 games at center.

The Yellow Jackets, whose regular rotation at the moment includes 10 players, are 4-8 with this starting lineup.

Miller, who replaced Matt Causey in the lineup, had started Tech’s first two games of the season before injuring his back in the Virgin Islands. Regardless of which player starts, Miller and Causey both play significant minutes at the point, combining to average 18.3 points and 5.7 assists in ACC games.

Despite playing only 18 minutes a game, the 6-0 Causey ranks eighth in the ACC in assists and assist-turnover ratio. Tech’s top scorer for six of the last 12 games, Causey has averaged 10.8 points and 3.4 assists since moving to the bench. Miller, a 6-1 rookie from Memphis, Tenn., has averaged 10.0 points and 3.4 assists over his last eight games, including 29 points and five assists Feb. 23 at Virginia Tech.

Morrow, a 6-5 guard from Charlotte, N.C., who is the Yellow Jackets’ top returning scorer from 2006-07, currently ranks 15th in the ACC with 14.1 points a game, 13.0 vs. the ACC. One of Tech’s best all-time three-point shooters with 240 for his career, Morrow has hit 42.9 percent from that distance this season.

Bell, a 6-5 junior, provides good physical defense on the perimeter and can score when needed (three double-figure games in ACC play). He averages 6.2 points for the season, 7.3 vs. the ACC, and has shot 47.7 percent from the floor. Bell started four games at point guard in Miller’s absence and moved primarily to the wing as Miller and Causey developed into a solid tandem.

Smith, the team captain and a 6-8 forward from Fort Worth, Texas, is Tech’s second-leading scorer at 9.8 points per game and its leading rebounder at 6.8 per game (10th in the ACC). Smith has averaged 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in ACC games, and has reached double figures in points in four of the last five games.

Lawal, a 6-8 rookie from Riverdale, Ga., averages 7.2 points and 3.8 rebounds while leading the Jackets in field goal percentage at 58.1.

Backcourt reserves — Clinch, a 6-3 guard from Cordele, Ga., has reached double-digits in scoring in 14 games this year, and is Tech’s second-leading scorer with 9.8 points per game, but has been inconsistent in ACC games (6.3 ppg, 33.8 pct. FG). Six-foot-4 freshman Lance Storrs of Decatur, Ga., averaging 1.3 points per game, has begun to see more significant playing time off the bench in the last several games as an additional perimeter defender.

Frontcourt reserves — Hewitt can go to 6-8 sophomore Zack Peacock of Miami, Fla., and 6-10 junior Alade Aminu of Stone Mountain, Ga. Peacock is Tech’s fourth-leading scorer (8.6) and No. 3 rebounder (3.9). Aminu, who started Tech’s first seven games of the season, has averaged 6.5 points and 4.3 rebounds while hitting 55.0 percent of his shots from the floor. Tech also has 6-11 red-shirt freshman Brad Sheehan of Latham, N.Y., who has played sparingly in ACC games.

Jackets Suddenly Struggle to Score

After a six-game stretch in which Georgia Tech averaged 84.5 points per game, shot 50 percent from the floor overall and 38.9 percent from three-point range, the Yellow Jackets have gone cold.

In its five straight losses, Tech has averaged 68.4 points, with a high game of 84 at Virginia Tech, made 41.9 percent of its field goal tries and 29.2 percent of its threes. The Jackets also have a minus-3.6 turnover margin during this streak after going plus-3.8 in the previous six games.

Tech also has had significantly fewer scoring opportunities in the last five games. Using a formula of field goal attempts + free throw attempts + turnovers minus offensive rebounds, the Jackets have averaged 79.6 offensive possessions in the last four games, 88.5 in the six games before that.

Tech remains among the ACC leaders in scoring average (fourth at 76.6) and field goal percentage (third at 46.7 pct.) for the season, and rank fourth (75.9) and third (46.7 pct.) in ACC games only.

Quick Personnel Notes

> Alade Aminu — has averaged 6.3 points and his 16-of-25 field goals in his last six ACC games.

> D’Andre Bell — has attempted as many as 10 shots in a game only four times in his career – three times in ACC games this year … is playing 15.8 more minutes per game (24.7 per game, 8.9 last year) than he did last season, the third-largest increase among ACC players … averaging 29.3 minutes in ACC games this year, a team high.

> Matt Causey — has six double-figure scoring games in the last 12, averaging 10.8 ppg … his 30-point performance against Virginia Tech was the third-highest total by a non-starter on record in ACC history.

> Lewis Clinch — has scored just 19 points in his last five games, and is 1-for-11 from three-point range.

> Head coach Paul Hewitt — stands 19th for career victories by an ACC coach with 138.

> Gani Lawal — shooting a team-high 58.1 percent from the floor, 56.1 against the ACC … has grabbed two-thirds (29 of 48) of his rebounds in ACC games from the offensive glass … averaged just 4.8 ppg in his last five games (10-of-26 FG).

> Moe Miller — scored a career-high 29 points at Virginia Tech … has averaged 10.0 points and hit 25-of-50 field goal attempts (50 pct.) in his last eight games.

> Anthony Morrow — has moved into third place on Tech’s all-time list for three-point field goals with 240 … he is 20th on the ACC’s all-time list … holds 22nd place on Tech’s all-time scoring list with 1,310 points and needs two points to reach 21st … has made at least one three-point basket in 35 straight games dating back to last season, the longest current streak in the ACC.

> Morrow’s FTs — his 87.4 percent career success rate on free throws is the best in Tech history if he can maintain it (Roger Kaiser’s 85.8 from 1959-61 is the record) … that rate also would be the second best in ACC history behind J.J. Redick’s 91.2 pct. if he can make 14 more free throws before season’s end (must meet ACC minimum of 200 FT made) … was 14-for-14 from the line in Tech’s three ACC road wins.

> Jeremis Smith — averaging 11.4 ppg and 6.4 rpg in the last five games, hitting 62.9 percent (22-of-35 FG) from the floor … is hitting 637 percent from the foul line this year (65.6 percent in ACC games) after hitting just 52.9 percent in his first three seasons … his 658 rebounds ranks 15th all-time at Tech.

Tech Stock Tips

> With its current starting lineup, Tech has shot 46.0 percent from the floor and 34.4 percent from three-point range, and limited the eight opponents to 31.0 percent from three-point range. Tech also has a plus-0.1 turnover margin during that stretch and has averaged 4.3 blocked shots and 8.3 steals per game.

> Tech’s highest NCAA statistical rankings are scoring offense (36th), steals (42nd) and field goal percentage (46th).

> Tech’s four home ACC losses have come by a total of six points (one to Miami, two to Maryland, one to North Carolina, two to Florida State).

> Georgia Tech has found itself in several close games this season. Seventeen of Tech’s 26 games this year have been decided by 10 points or fewer, and the Jackets are 6-11 in those games. Eleven games have been decided by five points or fewer or have gone to OT, and Tech is 5-6 in those contests.

> The last time Tech won more games on opponents’ home courts than its own was the 1947-48 season (4-7 at home, 5-5 away), when the Yellow Jackets played their home games in the Heisman Gym, located on the current site of the Bobby Dodd Stadium North stands. Tech won more games on opponent home courts than its own four times in the 1920s, when the Jackets played in a temporary facility on the same site, and in the 1912-13 season, when home games were played at the Crystal Palace, on the corner of Third and Cherry Streets.

> Six of the Yellow Jackets’ losses this year have come to teams in the current top 25 (No. 3 North Carolina, No. 6 Kansas, No. 7 Duke, No. 12 Indiana, No. 15 Connecticut, No. 18 Vanderbilt), four of those on the road. A seventh loss came to Miami, ranked No. 25 at the time (Jan. 12).

> Tech’s victory at Wake Forest was the 1,200th in the history of the program.

> Nine Tech players are averaging 17 or more minutes per game, 15.2 or more per game against the ACC.

> Tech’s seniors and juniors have made 98 of a possible 130 starts this season. Seniors Morrow, Smith and Causey have started 62 between them, while juniors Aminu, Bell and Clinch have 36 starts combined.

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