Nov. 6, 2003
ATLANTA – Isma’il Muhammad had 21 points and 10 rebounds off the bench and B.J. Elder scored 21 points to lead Georgia Tech to a 100-89 victory over Team NIKE in an exhibition game Thursday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Muhammad hit seven of 11 shots from the field, including several crowd-pleasing dunks, and was 7-for-9 from the free throw line to record his high in a Tech uniform; his career-best in a regular-season game was 16 points in 2002. He also recorded his first double-figure rebound effort for the Jackets.
“He’s picking up where he left off at the end of last year,” said Tech head coach Paul Hewitt of the 6-6 junior from Atlanta.
“Offensively, if he’s just patient and lets the ball come to him, he’s tough to cover because he can go off the dribble, he can post up pretty well and he’s very active around the glass. His outside shooting has improved; that’s not where he’s going to earn his living, but he does enough things offensively to be tough to cover.”
Tech shot nearly 56 percent from the field and outrebounded Team NIKE, 41-29, but the Jackets commited 24 turnovers.
“I think we learned that if we defend and we rebound, than we’re pretty good in transition,” said Hewitt, beginning his fourth season on the Flats. “We have the type of team that is capable of getting out in transition and creating easy shots. Part of that is because we have some good outside shooters, but it all comes back to the defensive end.
“The other thing we have to cut down is the careless turnovers.”
Trailing 71-66 midway through the second half, Tech scored 17 straight points in a three-and-a-half minute span to take control with an 83-71 lead with seven minutes to play. Muhammad keyed the run with two three-point plays.
“I told the team after the game that we’re a team that is truly a work in progress. We’ve got a couple of key pieces missing,” continued Hewitt, referring to 6-9 forward Theodis Tarver, out with a knee injury, and transfer Will Bynum, who does not become eligible until mid-December, “but I like what I see in terms of the intensity defensively. When Will becomes eligible and Theodis comes back, I like the way this team is shaping up.”
Former Arizona State player Curtis Millage scored 21 points and Donta Richardson from Wyoming added 20 to lead Team NIKE, coached by former Michigan and Arizona State head coach Bill Frieder.
Tech hosts Southeast Atlanta All-Stars in another exhibition on Monday at 7 p.m., while the Jackets’ regular-season opener a Nov. 18 home game against Louisiana-Lafayette in the first round of the Preseason NIT.