Dec. 6, 2013
THE FLATS – Buoyed by a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Illinois Tuesday night at McCamish Pavilion, Georgia Tech continues a stretch of three straight home games with a 2 p.m. contest Saturday against East Tennessee State.
Radio coverage of the game will be provided by the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network and can be heard in Atlanta on WYAY-FM (106.7), as well as nationally on satellite radio – Sirius channel 117 and XM channel 192. Tech’s women’s team also is in action Saturday against Alabama A&M following the men’s game.
The Yellow Jackets (6-3) snapped a two-game losing streak with Tuesday night’s 67-64 victory in which they erased a 60-48 deficit over the last seven minutes. The win also ended a five-game skid in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge series, and the Illini represented the highest-ranked team in the RPI (No. 18) that Tech has beaten since No. 6 Miami late last season.
In its third season under head coach Brian Gregory, Tech has returned four starters – center Daniel Miller, big forward Robert Carter, Jr., and wings Marcus Georges-Hunt and Chris Bolden – from a team that posted a 16-15 overall record last season and went 6-12 to tie for ninth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Jackets are averaging 72.7 points per game and hitting 44.0 percent of their shots from the floor so far. Tech also has outrebounded each opponent by an average of 7.2 per game, has a plus-1.2 assist/turnover ratio and has improved vastly at the free throw line (71.8 pct.) over last year.
East Tennessee State (4-5), in its 11th season under head coach Murry Bartow, has won four of its last five games since beginning the season 0-4. The Buccaneers defeated Austin Peay, 80-74, Wednesday night to improve to 1-3 on the road.
Following this weekend’s action, Tech breaks for fall semester final exams and returns to action Dec. 16 at home against Kennesaw State.
Fast Break Points
Tech demonstrated some grit and closing strength in its win over Illinois Tuesday night. The Yellow Jackets erased a nine-point deficit with a 19-7 streak to end the first half, then erased a 12-point deficit with a 19-4 run over the final seven minutes.
The rally from 12 points down was the second-largest deficit Tech has overcome to win a game in Brian Gregory’s two-plus seasons. The Jackets came back from 13 points down in the second half to win at No. 6 Miami last March, and erased a 13-point first-half deficit to beat VCU in Gregory’s first season.
Tech is 5-1 at home this season, with the only loss coming to Dayton on Nov. 20. The Buccaneers are 1-3 on the road after an 80-74 win at Austin Peay in their last game.
The last time Tech and East Tennessee State played basketball was in 1990 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., a first-round NCAA Tournament game featuring players such as Kenny Anderson, Dennis Scott and Brian Oliver (Georgia Tech) and Greg Dennis and Mister Jennings (ETSU). All five Tech starters scored in double digits (Scott had 36), while the Bucs also placed five players in double digits.
Tech’s three losses have come to teams with a combined record of 18-3 and RPI rankings of 22, 44 and 77 (CBS). Illinois had an RPI rank of 18 at the time of Tuesday night’s game.
Series vs. East Tennessee State
Georgia Tech and East Tennessee State are meeting for the fifth time in men’s basketball, and the Yellow Jackets have won three of the previous four games.
The teams are meeting for the first time since 1990, when the Yellow Jackets took a 99-83 win over the Buccaneers in the first round of the NCAA Southeast Regional in Knoxville, Tenn. It was Tech’s first step in reaching its first Final Four.
The other three meetings took place between 1976 and 1978 under former head coach Dwane Morrison. Tech won both encounters in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and ETSU took its only win in a 1978 game played in Johnson City.
About Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its third year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships, played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004).