Dec. 15, 2009
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s basketball team begins a stretch of three home games in seven days leading into the Christmas break by hosting Arkansas-Pine Bluff Wednesday night. Tip-off is at 8:30 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex. The game is the nightcap of a double-header with Tech’s women, who are hosting Oregon at 6 p.m.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-1, 0-0 ACC) vs.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions (0-7, 0-0 SWAC)
Date: Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tipoff: 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Site: Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex
Radio: Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, live on flagship station WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY-FM (106.7). Wes Durham calls the play-by-play, Randy Waters provides color.
Satellite Radio: XM channel 191
On the web: Audio and live stats available at Ramblinwreck.com
Tickets: $20, available at the gate
Tech is 7-1 following a 95-64 win at Chattanooga Monday night, the Yellow Jackets’ sixth consecutive victory since an opening-round loss to Dayton in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Following Wednesday night’s game, the Jackets open Atlantic Coast Conference play Sunday against Florida State and host Kennesaw State Tuesday afternoon before taking the holiday break.
Pine Bluff has begun its season with seven straight losses, including defeats to such major powers as Colorado, Arizona State, Michigan and Oklahoma State, The Golden Lions have yet to play at home, will not until January 16, a string of 14 consecutive road games to begin the season. UAPB also will visit Missouri, Kansas State and Oregon, among others, before playing at home.
The Jackets are currently leading the ACC in field goal percentage (51.1 percent) and are third in scoring average (80.9 points per game) following MOnday night’s win. Tech shot 60.8 percent against the Mocs and have exceeded 50 percent in five of eight games, and it has outscored its opponents by an average of 18 points a game. They have struggled, however, with turnovers, committing 16.9 per game.
Tech will play without sophomore guard Iman Shumpert for the third straight game as he recovers from surgery to repair a damaged meniscus in his right knee. Senior forward Zachery Peacock is questionable for Wednesday’s game after bruising his right knee in Monday’s game
The Yellow Jackets began the season ranked 22nd in the Associated Press poll, and 20th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. After falling out briefly, the Jackets are now No. 22 in the AP poll and No. 15 in the coaches poll. Tech jumped six spots in the coaches poll that came out Monday despite not having played a game last week.
Series With Arkansas-Pine Bluff
> Both previous meetings with Arkansas-Pine Bluff have occurred since Paul Hewitt became Georgia Tech’s head coach, and both have been played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The most recent meeting was last season, a 74-47 Yellow Jackets’ victory on Nov. 25.
> The first occurred on Nov. 23, 2002, a 113-75 Tech win that remains the Yellow Jackets’ high-water mark for points under Hewitt.
> Tech is 9-1 against current members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The only loss came at the hands of Southern University in the first round of the 1993 NCAA Tournament.
Tech in the Thrillerdome
Georgia Tech is playing its 53rd season of basketball at Alexander Memorial Coliseum (capacity 9,191), and has a record of 536-187 (.740) in the building, which opened Nov. 30, 1956 with a 71-61 Tech loss to Duke. Known as the “Thrillerdome,” the Coliseum is the second-oldest arena in use in the ACC, behind Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke.
Tech set school records for wins (16-1 record) and home games played during the 2006-07 season. Since the 1981-82 season, Tech is 295-86 (.772) in its on-campus home, and the Jackets are 101-39 (.711) at home under head coach Paul Hewitt.
Tech is 168-13 against non-conference foes at Alexander Memorial Coliseum since the beginning of the 1981-82 season, including Penn State and UIC last season, each of whom have beaten the Jackets twice since 1981. From 1981 through last season, the only other non-ACC teams to win at the Thrillerdome have been Penn, Tulane and IUPUI (all in the 2001-02 season), Georgia (2000), College of Charleston (1993), Louisville (1989), and Richmond (1987).
Big Wins over USC and Chattanooga Highlight Six-Game Streak
Georgia Tech returns home riding a six-game winning streak, which includes a 79-53 win over Southern California, the Yellow Jackets’ only game against a “BCS Conference” team this year, and a 95-64 win over Chattanooga Monday night in the Jackets’ first true road game.
In Tech’s only loss, a 63-59 decision to Dayton, the Jackets blew a late seven-point lead and committed 26 turnovers.
Since then, Tech has averaged 81.3 points a game, outscored its opponents by an average of 17.8 points, shot 51.8 percent from the floor, posted a plus-1.1 assist turnover ratio and averaged 15.2 turnovers.
Tech’s opponents are shooting 35.1 percent from the floor and 24.4 percent from three-point range in that span.
Paul Hewitt Quotes – December 15
On preparing for a team on a short turnaround: “It’s not difficult. We had quick turnarounds in Puerto Rico, so we’ll be fine. It’s the old coaching cliché that you worry about yourself more than you worry about your team. There are just some things we have to keep improving upon, especially on the defensive end.”
On Arkansas Pine-Bluff: “They’re a good, veteran team. They’ve got experienced players that are athletic and good off the dribble. The thing that concerns me is that they’re not going to be awed by playing here. They’re veteran guys who have been on the road seven straight games, so the experience factor really is getting my attention.”
On what he got out of in the Chattanooga win: “The one thing I was hoping to see was us respond to their physical play with smart, tough play and I don’t think we did that at times. We had 19 turnovers, which is not good enough. Obviously, Gani [Lawal] had an outstanding game, and Glen Rice [Jr.] played well off the bench, which gave us a nice lift. Moe Miller player his best game of the year. So, those were things that enabled us to win the basketball game, but in terms of cleaning things up as we move forward, the 19 turnovers and our tendency to play soft at times is a problem. It’s two things that either we can correct, or it could be a sign of danger to come.”
On Brian Oliver: “He’s got an oblivious quality about him, nothing seems to faze him. I thought against Chattanooga, he did not come out mentally sharp. He was still his carefree self; he just didn’t execute some things early on. He just needs to be a little more attentive to details. He’s a great shooter, one the best freshman shooters I’ve every coached, and I’ve coached some good shooters. He’s got a quality about him in that he forgets very quickly when he misses a shot. That’s a great quality to have as a shooter.”
On team chemistry at this point: “It’s getting better. Winning sometimes mask things, not that we have anything to hide. We have no problems in the locker room. But, I do think we can be more cohesive and on the same page, especially on the defensive end of the floor. I think there are times when two guys are doing one thing and the other three guys are just standing around and watching. We’re executing parts of our defensive plan better, but it’s not complete.”