Dec. 18, 2001
ATLANTA – After playing only three games in three weeks to start the month of December, Georgia Tech begins a stretch of three games in five days Wednesday when it visits Davidson at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C.
Tech (4-5) follows Wednesday’s game with home contests against Wofford Friday and Tulane Sunday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Yellow Jackets head into the stretch boosted by a 96-80 victory over 13th-ranked Syracuse Sunday at Philips Arena. Davidson, which has a victory over North Carolina to its credit, is 4-3 pending a Monday night game against Washington & Jefferson.
“Davidson will be a tough game for us because they face ACC competition all the time, and they won’t be in awe of us,” said head coach Paul Hewitt. “There will be no fear factor. They’ve already beaten an ACC team on the road. They’re a very good team. They have players who are poised and have experience. They can make shots and make plays.
The Yellow Jackets have been balanced offensively in the last three games, but is led primarily by the backcourt tandem of 5-11 Tony Akins (Sr., Lilburn, Ga.) and 6-4 Marvin Lewis (So., Germantown, Md.). Akins, Tech’s point guard who has averaged 18.8 points with 8.8 assists in the last four games, leads Tech in both categories with 16.7 points and 5.7 assists while shooting 41.6 percent from three-point range. Lewis is Tech’s only other player averaging in double figures with 13.9 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He has hit 57.1 percent of his three-point attempts and is shooting 47.2 percent overall.
“What we did was play up to our capabilities,” said Hewitt of Tech’s win over Syracuse Sunday, which came after a week off for fall semester finals. “Quite often with teams I’ve been around, coming out of finals, they play a little looser. The burden of preparing for finals or worrying about doing well if off their shoulders. Now it’s just all about basketball.”
The rest of Tech’s starting five for Davidson is expected to be 6-5 Clarence Moore (So., Norco, La.) and 6-7 Ed Nelson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at the forwards and 6-8 Robert Brooks (So., Saginaw, Mich.) at center. They have started Tech’s last two games.
Moore, who notched a career-high 20 points against the Orangemen, averages 7.9 points and 5.2 rebounds and is shooting 48.1 percent from the floor. Nelson leads Tech in rebounding (7.0 per game) while scoring 5.6 points per game. Brooks, who averages 4.9 points and 6.0 rebounds, has put together the best two games of his career back-to-back against Georgia and Syracuse.
“Robert has played very well the last two games,” Hewitt said. “With Mo, it’s been coming in practice, we’ve noticed his confidence coming back. We’ve tried to encourage him to look at the basket a little bit more. He’s been passing up a lot of shots that he’s capable of making.”
B.J. Elder (Fr., Madison, Ga.), a 6-3 guard, is Tech’s top scorer off the bench at 8.3 points per game, third on the team. Other key reserves include 6-5 forward Isma’il Muhammad (Fr., Atlanta, Ga.), averaging 7.4 points and 3.3 rebounds, and 6-5 swingman Halston Lane (So., Oak Ridge, Tenn.), averaging 7.9 points, 2.9 rebounds. The sharpness evident Sunday against Syracuse has carried over to practice this week, said Hewitt.
“Yesterday was very, very sharp,” he said. “Today, we scaled back and did more mental preparation because I didn’t want to pound their legs too badly with a flight today and three games in five days coming up.”
Tech Series vs. Davidson
Georgia Tech leads its series with Davidson, 8-3, and Wednesday’s game is the return game for the Wildcats’ trip to Atlanta last Nov. 24, which Tech won, 92-61, at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Marvin Lewis turned in his best scoring effort last season against Davidson, scoring 22 points while hitting 6-of-7 three-point field goals. Tony Akins scored 17 points (3-4 3FG), while Robert Brooks scored 8 and Halston Lane 7.
Tech is 2-2 against the Wildcats away from Atlanta, including a 2-1 mark in the old Charlotte Coliseum (now known as Independence Arena).
This is Tech’s first game vs. Davidson in the current Charlotte Coliseum, but Tech has a fruitful history in the building, posting a 7-5 record in seven ACC Tournaments since 1990, including ACC titles in 1990 and 1993.
Offense Clicking Since Las Vegas
Georgia Tech has emerged from the offensive slump it experienced in the Las Vegas Invitational, averaging 79.3 points in the four games since. That includes 96 points against 13th-ranked Syracuse Sunday, its highest scoring output since 97 in the season opener against Florida A&M.
Against Syracuse, Tech reached season-highs in shooting percentage overall (49.3), from three-point range (50.0) and from the free throw line (76.9), while totalling 26 assists on 33 field goals with just 15 turnovers.
For the last four games (2-2 record), Tech has shot 45.7 percent overall (42.4 for the season), 44.7 percent from three-point range (40.0 for the season), and has averaged 18 assists on 29.5 field goals. At least four players have scored in double figures in the last three games.
“We strive to have a team that can put four, maybe five guys in double figures every time,” Hewitt said. “We don’t want to be dependent on one or two guys, and there have been times this year when we depended on Tony and Marvin maybe a little too much.”
Last Time Out
Clarence Moore earned ACC co-Player of the Week honors by scoring a career-high 20 points and holding Syracuse’s Preston Shumpert to just 13 (4-of-15 FG) in a 96-80 Georgia Tech victory over the 13th-ranked Orangemen at Philips Arena.
Tech led from start to finish, by 13 points at halftime and by as many as 24 points in the second half. The Jackets hit 49.3 percent of their field goal attempts, a season high, and 10 of 20 three-point attempts, a season-high 50 percent, while Syracuse made just 5 of 24 three-point attempts and turned the ball over 23 times.
Moore knocked down his first two three-point attempts and hit 6 of 11 field goals overall, adding 6-of-7 from the free throw line to go with 7 assists, 2 steals and just 1 turnover in 29 minutes. Tony Akins scored 18 points, while Marvin Lewis and Robert Brooks added 17 each. Brooks’ total was a career-high.
Brooks, Moore Give Boost
After a two-game absence from the starting lineup, Clarence Moore got back in the lineup for the Georgia game and responded with a career-high 20 points with 7 assists Sunday against Syracuse. Meanwhile, Robert Brooks has responded with 30 points and 18 rebounds in the last two games against Georgia (13 and 10) and Syracuse (17 and 8) while making 12 of 22 field goals and 6 of 8 free throws.
Head coach Paul Hewitt inserted Brooks in the lineup Dec. 28 against Wisconsin, and the 6-8 sophomore has started the last four contests. Moore started the first five games, came off the bench for Wisconsin and North Carolina, then has started the last two. Guards Tony Akins and Marvin Lewis and freshman forward Ed Nelson have started all nine games.
Bench Providing a Spark for Tech
Playing with a 10-man rotation (nine now with the absence of Schenscher) since the arrival of head coach Paul Hewitt, Georgia Tech has come to rely more heavily on its bench. They have provided the Jackets some real spark offensively through the early going this season.
Tech’s bench scored 46 of 77 points Dec. 1 at North Carolina, led by 17 points each from B.J. Elder and Halston Lane and 12 from Isma’il Muhammad. Previously, the high for the bench in 37 games under Hewitt was 40 against Florida A&M on Nov. 16.
This season, Tech has gotten 26.2 points per game from its bench, roughly 35 percent of its total scoring output of 75.3 points per game. Tech has had a double-figure scorer off the bench in four of seven games.
Last year, Tech received 20.4 points per game from its reserves, 25 percent of its total scoring output.
Akins At The Point
Tony Akins has been Georgia Tech’s most consistent offensive player through the early going, scoring in double digits each time out and leading the Jackets in scoring at 16.7 points per game (7th in the ACC) while averaging 5.7 assists (4th in the ACC).
In Tech’s last four games, the 5-11 senior has averaged 18.8 points and 8.8 assists while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor and an 47.2 percent from three-point range. Akins has scored in double figures and hit a three-pointer in 21 straight games since going scoreless against Clemson on Jan. 24 last season. He has hit 41.6 percent of his three-point attempts this season.
Akins went over the 1,000-point plateau for his career at Wake Forest last Feb. 14, the 32nd Tech player to do so all-time. He now has 1,268 career points, jumping to 21st place in Tech history after beginning the year in 28th. He needs 36 points to move past Michael Maddox (1,303 points, 1995-98) for 20th place.
Akins also ranks eighth in career assists (435) and 9th in steals (131).
Lewis Hot From Long-Range
Marvin Lewis found his range from behind the three-point arc in the last two games, hitting 7 of 11 attempts following a cold four-game stretch where he was just 2 of 7. He has scored 17 points each against Georgia and Syracuse.
The 6-4 sophomore began the season making 11 of 16 in the first three games, and is hitting 57.1 percent of his attempts from that range (20-of-35) for the season. Lewis continues to be outstanding from the line as well (84.0 percent) and gives Tech excellent rebounding from his position (5.0).
As a freshman last year, Lewis averaged 8.7 points and 4.5 rebounds, ranking third among ACC freshmen in both categories, and made the ACC all-Freshman team and the Academic all-ACC team.
Tech Holding Its Own On The Boards
Rebounding and size were pre-season concerns for head coach Paul Hewitt, but the Yellow Jackets have gotten off to a good start on the boards despite having no player taller than 6-8 for the last three games. Tech has outrebounded its opponents by an average of almost six per game (41.6 to 35.7), and has beaten six of nine opponents on the boards.
Even with 6-11 Alvin Jones leading the ACC in rebounding a year ago, Tech struggled as a team, being outrebounded 40-to-37.5 for the season.
More impressive is the fact that Tech has averaged 16.3 offensive rebounds, which leads the ACC. Three Tech players – Clarence Moore (2.67), Ed Nelson (2.56) and Robert Brooks (2.22) rank among the ACC’s top 15 in offensive rebounds.
Akins For Three
Tony Akins has made his mark as one of the top three-point shooters in Georgia Tech history. Only Dennis Scott (351-for-831) and Travis Best (258-for-656) rank ahead of Akins on Tech’s career lists for three-point field goals made and attempted.
Akins, who is 235-for-646 in his career (36.4 percent), has hit a three-pointer in 21 straight games. In his junior and senior years taken together, Akins has posted an accuracy rate of 41.9 percent.
Scott, who set his records in three seasons, shot 42.2 percent from three-point range in his career.
“Mo” Better Moore
Sophomore forward Clarence Moore, who broke a bone in his left foot in early September of last year and played just five games last season, has returned to health and is in the starting lineup for the Yellow Jackets.
The 6-5 sophomore earned ACC co-Player of the Week honors Monday for his 20-point, 7-assist performance Sunday against 13th-ranked Syracuse, and for the defensive job he did on the Orangemen’s Preston Shumpert, holding him to 13 points and just 4 field goals in 15 attempts.
Currently Tech’s fourth-leading scorer at 7.9 points per game, he is the Jackets’ third-leading rebounder at 5.2 per game with a team-best 24 on the offensive glass. The 6-5 Moore sustained the injury in a pickup game on Sept. 3, 2000, and underwent two surgical procedures, one in September and one in February, before being cleared to play in August. His request for a medical hardship was approved by the NCAA, and he has three years of eligibility remaining.
Known as “Mo,” Moore averaged 4.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 30 games as a freshman in 1999-2000, including 10.2 points and 8.6 rebounds in five starts. In Tech’s two exhibition games, Moore averaged 10.5 points and 6.0 rebounds.
Dialing Long Distance
Georgia Tech owns the third-longest active streak in the nation for consecutive games with at least one three-point field goal. Tech’s streak has reached 450 games. The last team to hold the Jackets without a three-point field goal was Virginia in the 1987 ACC Tournament.
UNLV, Vanderbilt and Princeton are the only schools to have at least one three-pointer in every game since the rule was put in for the 1986-87 season.
Consecutive Games Scoring a Three-Point Field Goal (as of Dec. 17) 482-Vanderbilt, Nov. 28, 1986 to present 482-UNLV, Nov. 26, 1986 to present 450-Georgia Tech, March 13, 1987 to present 448-Kentucky, Nov. 28, 1988 to present 421-Princeton, Nov. 19, 1986 to present
Georgia Tech (4-5) vs. Davidson (5-3)December 19, 2001 o 7 p.m. o Charlotte Coliseum o Charlotte, N.C.
TV: none Radio: WTSH-FM (107.1), WMAX-FM (98.1), WSNY-FM (100.1), Wes Durham, pbp, Randy Waters, color, also on Ramblinwreck.com Tech Record: 4-5, 0-1 ACC H: 2-1, A: 0-2, N: 2-2 Series vs. Davidson: Tech leads, 8-3 Last meeting: Nov. 24, 2000, Tech d. Davidson, 92-61, at AMC Tech vs. Davidson in Charlotte: 2-1 Tech at Charlotte Coliseum: 7-5 Hewitt Record: 87-45 (.656), 5th season Hewitt at Tech: 21-18 (.526), 2nd season Last game: Dec. 16, Tech d. #13 Syracuse, 96-80, at Philips Arena Next game: Dec. 21, vs. Wofford, 3 p.m., Alexander Memorial Coliseum More info: Ramblinwreck.com
Probable Starters F 5 Clarence Moore 6-5 So.-R 7.9 ppg 5.2 rpg F 32 Ed Nelson 6-7 Fr. 5.6 ppg 7.0 rpg C 34 Robert Brooks 6-8 So. 4.9 ppg 6.0 rpg G 3 Tony Akins 5-11 Sr. 16.7 ppg 5.7 apg G 24 Marvin Lewis 6-4 So. 13.9 ppg 5.0 rpg