Feb. 20, 2012
ATLANTA – Coming off an overtime loss at Virginia Tech in which it played some of the best offense it has displayed this season, Georgia Tech returns home this week for a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference games, beginning with a 7 p.m. regionally-televised contest against Clemson Tuesday night at Philips Arena.
The second meeting between the two schools this season can be seen on the ACC’s regional cable network (Fox Sports South in Atlanta) and can be heard in Atlanta on flagship station 790 the Zone (790 AM) and True Oldies 106.7 FM, as well as across the country on satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 92).
In its first year under head coach Brian Gregory, Tech (9-17, 2-10 ACC) looks to even its season series with the Tigers, who escaped a Yellow Jacket rally for a 64-62 win on Jan. 24 at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Tech has lost nine of its last 10 games and 13 of its last 15, having beaten NC State on the road and Boston College at home in conference action this season. The Jackets were 3.5 seconds away from a victory at Virginia Tech Saturday before a Dorenzo Hudson three-point basket at the buzzer lifted the Hokies to a 74-73 win.
Tech 1-6 this season at Philips Arena, one of two alternate home venues for the Yellow Jackets and the site of ACC Tournament March 8-11.
Clemson, 13-13 overall and 5-7 in the ACC, comes to Atlanta on the heels of a 74-52 loss at North Carolina Saturday, which snapped a two-game winning streak for the Tigers. Clemson is 3-7 on the road this season, including a 1-5 mark at ACC venues.
The Jackets, who play three of their remaining four regular-season games at home, follow Tuesday’s game with a 2:30 p.m. tilt Saturday against Maryland at Philips Arena.
Georgia Tech’s primary goals this season have been to play solid team defense, win the rebounding battle, and be efficient on offense. The Yellow Jackets have a +4.0 edge in rebounding for the season and has won that battle in 15 of 26 games.
The Yellow Jackets rank 4th in the ACC (47th nationally) in field goal percentage defense (40.4 pct.) and 5th in scoring defense (79th nationally, 63.5 ppg). Tech has held 13 opponents under 40 percent from the field, and have held 10 teams under 60 points.
In the nine games preceding Virginia Tech, the Yellow Jackets had difficulty scoring, averaging 54.1 points a game and shot 37.9 percent from the floor, failing to reach 40 percent five times. But Tech shot a season-high 58.3 percent against the Hokies (62.5% in the 2nd half and OT) and made 7 of 13 three-point tries.
Tech’s offensive troubles have manifested themselves mostly in the first half of those nine games. The Jackets have scored less than 20 points in the first half four times, averaging 21.7 ppg and shooting 31.0% over the 9 games. Compare that to an average of 32.4 ppg and 45% shooting from the floor in the second half.
Tech put five players in double figures Saturday for just the fourth time this season. Tech won the other three times that happened.
Tech has averaged just 53.1 points and shot 38.7 percent from the floor (21% on 3s) in its seven games at Philips Arena this year and has been outscored by 12.6 points per game.
Clemson ranks 2nd in the ACC in scoring defense (60.4 ppg), but 9th in field goal defense (43.0%) and 12the in 3-point defense (35.9%). The Tigers rank 9th in scoring offense (64.6 ppg) and 8th in field goal percentage (43.2%).
Whom to Watch
6-11 sophomore center Daniel Miller has scored in double figures in five straight games, averaging 10.4 points and 8.2 rebounds over that stretch. Miller has hit 23-of-35 shots from the floor, 5-for-5 from the foul line. He has 13 blocked shots, 6 assists and 6 steals.
Miller has made a team-high 51.2% of his shots in ACC games and ranks 2nd in the ACC in blocked shots (2.4 per game).
6-2 point guard Mfon Udofia has 16 assists and just 7 turnovers in his last four games (143 minutes). After going 0-for-16 from the floor against Florida State and NC State, Udofia has hit 9-of-16 (5-of-7 on 3s) in the last 2 games.
Point guards Udofia and Pierre Jordan have just 8 turnovers between them in the last 4 games (188 minutes).
6-3 sophomore Brandon Reed has made his last 16 free throw attempts dating back to Jan. 11 at NC State. He is 13-for-13 in Tech’s last 6 games.
6-10 sophomore center Nate Hicks has been sidelined with mononucleosis since F8 (missed 3 games). He is not expected to play in either game this week.
6-5 junior forward Glen Rice, Jr., was suspended indefinitely on Friday of last week and did not make the trip to Blacksburg, and will not play against Clemson.
Last Time We Met
Glen Rice, Jr., scored 15 straight points for Georgia Tech in the final minutes, helping the Yellow Jackets rally from a 17-point hole to within two points at the final buzzer in a 64-62 loss on Jan. 24 at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Tech hit 9-of-18 3-point shots and outrebounded the Tigers 37-26 in the game, but turned the ball over 22 times.
Rice finished the game with 19 points, and Mfon Udofia added 10 for the Yellow Jackets. Andre Young hit 7-of-9 3-point tries and scored a game-high 29 points.
This is the oldest and longest-running series the Yellow Jackets have with an ACC member. The 119 all-time meetings are 31 more than Tech has played with any other ACC member. The series dates back to the 1912-13 season, when John Heisman coached the Tech basketball team.
Clemson has been one of two permanent home-and-away opponents on Tech’s schedule each year (Wake Forest is the other) since the ACC expanded to 12 schools. Beginning next year, Clemson will be Tech’s only permanent home-and-away partner.
Clemson has won 10 of the last 13 meetings in the series, including the last four in a row. The Yellow Jackets trail 37-31 to the Tigers since joining the ACC.
Tech has an all-time record of 40-21 against the Tigers at home, including 27-15 record at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Jackets have won 21 of 28 against the Tigers at home since 1983.
Clemson head coach Brad Brownell is 3-0 vs. Tech.
The Yellow Jackets have won all three ACC Tournament meetings with the Tigers, including a 69-61 semi-final decision on the way to the 1993 conference title in Charlotte.