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Tech Begins Three-Game Road Swing at Wake Forest

Feb. 4, 2008

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech begins a three-game road stretch Wednesday night with a 7 p.m. non-televised Atlantic Coast Conference game at Wake Forest. The Yellow Jackets have played only one home game since Jan. 19, that an 88-86 loss to Maryland Saturday. Tech visits Connecticut Saturday and Clemson on Feb. 14.

The game will be not be televised, but can be seen online at www.ACCSelect.com. 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), and nationally on XM Satellite Radio Channel 190.

The Yellow Jackets are 10-10 for the season and 3-4 in the ACC, having won three of four games since an 0-3 conference start. Tech won three straight games over Virginia Tech, NC State and Virginia, the latter two on the road, and finds itself in a four-way tie for sixth place in the ACC standings following last weekend’s action.

Tech is 4-4 on opponents’ home courts this season, 2-1 in ACC road games. At home, the Jackets are 1-3 in conference play, with the three losses coming by a TOTAL of five points.

Wake Forest, 13-7 overall and 3-4 in the ACC, has lost two of its last three games, a 67-65 loss to NC State Sunday on a last-second dunk, and an overtime loss to Clemson (80-75). In between, the Demon Deacons defeated Miami 70-68, and they also have wins over Virginia Tech and Florida State.

Tech has played a strong schedule thus far, posting a schedule strength rank of No. 7 according to this week’s RPI rankings (Collegiate Basketball News). The teams Tech lost to have a combined record of 158-55 (through Sunday’s games), including losses to five top-25 teams who have a combined mark of 93-15.

Tech’s next win will be the 1,200th in the history of Georgia Tech basketball (1,199-1,047 all-time currently).

Series vs. Wake Forest

> 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.

> Wake leads the overall series with Georgia Tech, 34-29, having won eight of the last 12 meetings and 13 of the last 19. The teams have split their regular-season meetings the last four years.

>The home team has won 23 of the last 30 regular-season games in the series, with Wake Forest winning four times at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in that span, and Tech winning three times in Winston-Salem.

> Tech had lost five straight games to Wake Forest at Lawrence Joel Coliseum before its win on Jan. 20, 2004, and is just 4-14 in the building. Tech is 8-21 against Wake Forest on the road, including a 2-3 mark in regular-season games played in Greensboro and a 2-4 mark in games played in Winston-Salem prior to the opening of Joel Coliseum.

> Tech is 26-23 against Wake Forest since 1985, including 12 straight victories from 1985-91.

> Tech is 6-10 against Wake Forest under head coach Paul Hewitt. The Jackets were 5-9 against Skip Prosser-coached Wake Forest teams.

> Tech is 11-8 vs. Wake Forest when the Yellow Jackets are in the Top 25, and 3-5 when both teams are ranked.

> Tech is 20-9 in games played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, including the last three meetings. The Demon Deacons had won two straight meetings in Atlanta and three of five before that.

> Wake Forest has won all four of its meetings with Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament, including a 75-74 triumph in the 1996 championship game in Greensboro.

Quick Look at Tech

Georgia Tech’s starting lineup for the last six games has included freshman Moe Miller at point guard and junior D’Andre Bell at one wing. Miller, who replaced Matt Causey in the lineup, had started Tech’s first two games before injuring his back in the Virgin Islands, and Bell, who replaced Lewis Clinch, has started four games at point guard earlier in the season.

Seniors Anthony Morrow (wing) and Jeremis Smith (big forward) have started all 20 games for the Yellow Jackets, while freshman Gani Lawal has started the last 13 games at center.

Regardless of which player starts, Miller and Causey both play significant minutes at the point, combining to average 14.1 points and 7.1 assists per game. Despite playing roughly 18 minutes a game, the 6-0 Causey ranks eighth in the ACC in assists and assist-turnover ratio. He has been Tech’s top scorer over the last four games, averaging 19.5 points over that stretch. Miller, a 6-1 rookie from Memphis, Tenn., has accumulated 41 assists and 14 turnovers in the last 11 games, and has averaged 6.2 points per game as a starter.

Morrow, a 6-5 guard from Charlotte, N.C., who is the Yellow Jackets’ top returning scorer from 2006-07, currently ranks 14th in the ACC with 14.1 points a game. One of Tech’s best all-time three-point shooters with 223 for his career, Morrow has hit 45.1 percent from that distance this season, and has averaged 12.9 points in Tech’s ACC games.

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 6.1 points for the season, 8.0 vs. the ACC, and has shot 49.4 percent from the floor. Bell started four games at point guard in Miller’s absence early in the year and now is playing primarily on the wing as Miller and Causey have developed into more of a tandem.

Smith, the team captain and a 6-8 forward from Fort Worth, Texas, is Tech’s third-leading scorer at 9.7 points per game and its leading rebounder at 7.1 per game (11th in the ACC). Smith has averaged 11.0 points and 7.9 rebounds in ACC games thus far, including two double-doubles.

Lawal, a 6-8 rookie from Riverdale, Ga., averages 7.8 points and 4.1 rebounds while leading the Jackets in field goal percentage at 63.9. Lawal has averaged 11.6 points in Tech’s last five games.

Backcourt reserves — Clinch, a 6-3 guard from Cordele, Ga., has reached double-digits in scoring in 13 games this year, including 13 points at Virginia (4-of-6 from three). He is Tech’s second-leading scorer at 11.3 points per game, but has struggled in ACC games (7.4 ppg, 38.3 pct. FG). Six-foot-4 freshman Lance Storrs of Decatur, Ga., averaging 1.7 points per game, has begun to see more significant playing time off the bench in the last two games.

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 (8.8) and rebounder (4.3), and has three double-digit scoring games in ACC play. Aminu, who started Tech’s first seven games, has averaged 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds while hitting 55.6 percent of his shots from the floor. Tech also has 6-11 red-shirt freshman Brad Sheehan of Latham, N.Y., who has not played since Dec. 27.

The Bench Factor

Since Matt Causey has come off the bench, which is the last six Georgia Tech games beginning Jan. 12 at Miami, he has averaged 14.7 points per game, which LEADS the team. Tech’s bench players are outscoring those of its opponents over that span, 35.8 to 16.2, and still hold the edge over their counterparts even when the disparity in playing time is factored in.

> Yellow Jackets reserves have played 80 minutes per game (40 percent of available minutes) over the last six games to their opponents’ 50.2 per game (25 percent). They have scored an average of a point every 2.2 minutes compared to the opponents one point every 3.1 minutes.

> In ACC games, Tech’s bench players have logged 39.2 percent of available minutes, compared to 24.9 percent for its opponents, and outscored them 34.3 to 16.0 points per game.

Quoting Coach Hewitt

On the loss to Maryland

“The story of the game was that we just couldn’t get enough stops. We scored enough points. When you score 86 points, you expect to win most of the time, but we just didn’t do enough defensively. It certainly wasn’t about the turnovers. When you commit only 16 turnovers in a fast-paced game like today with a lot of possessions that’s not bad but we just didn’t do the job on the defensive end.”

On going back on the road for three games

(Saturday) “You know what, I’m not sure if the place or the opponent matters with our basketball team. It’s just a matter of us going out there and being focused. Games that we’ve lost this year, we’ve had these lulls.”

(Monday) “Well for our basketball team, the way it has turned out, we are doing better on the road anyway. One of the issues with our team is really paying attention to detail defensively. We are playing hard and the guys are giving great effort. We have been giving people good battles throughout the season. It’s just detail and on the road being more careful of what may happen if you don’t pay attention. That is why we have played better on the road then we have at home this year.”

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