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Tech Continues Homestand with Troy, Saint Francis

Dec. 27, 2006

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech continues its five-game holiday homestand Thursday with a 2 p.m. game against Troy, followed by an 8 p.m. tilt Saturday against Saint Francis of Pa. The Yellow Jackets then host Winston-Salem State at 7 p.m. on Jan. 3 before resuming conference play.

None of the three remaining games of the homestand is being televised, but all of them can be heard on radio over the Georgia Tech-ISP Sports Network. In Atlanta, the broadcasts are available on WQXI-AM (790) and WTSH-FM (107.1), while WREK-FM (91.1) will carry the Saint Francis and Winston-Salem State games.

The Tech broadcast can also be heard nationally on XM Satellite Radio Ch. 191 (Troy) and 192 (Saint Francis). Live video streaming can be seen on the Internet at ACC Select.

The Jackets bring an 8-3 overall record into Thursday’s game, having won three of five games since returning from a runner-up finish in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. Tech won its second straight game last Friday in a 78-69 homecourt triumph over state-rival Georgia. If Tech can win the final three games of this homestand, it will match its win total for all of 2005-06.

Tech is undefeated at home this season (6-0), and are 72-23 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum under head coach Paul Hewitt, including a 43-5 mark in non-conference games. Tech has won 30 of its last 31 non-ACC games at home.

Troy (5-7, 0-2 Sun Belt Conference) has lost five of its last six games, including a 67-64 defeat at the hands of Florida International at home in its most recent game on Dec. 17.

Georgia Tech has a 3-2 edge in its all-time series with Troy, including an 88-66 win at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in the teams’ most recent encounter on Dec. 17, 2002.

Each of the other four meetings took place between 1977 and 1981, all of them at Tech’s homecourt in the last four years in the tenure of head coach Dwane Morrison. Tech is 7-2 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference.

Tech’s regular starting lineup this season has included freshman Javaris Crittenton at point guard, sophomore Lewis Clinch and freshman Thaddeus Young on the wings, junior Jeremis Smith at strong forward and freshman Zach Peacock at center. Clinch and Smith are the only two players to start every game, however, and junior Ra’Sean Dickey has replaced Peacock in the lineup for the last two Tech games.

Young, a 6-8 small forward, has been Tech’s best player in the Yellow Jackets’ last three games, averaging 21.7 points in games against Vanderbilt, Centenary and Georgia. The Memphis, Tenn., native established a career high with 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds last Friday against Georgia, his third double-double of the season. Young, who went 9-for-11 from the foul line to help seal the win over the Bulldogs, is shooting 50.4 percent from the floor and 41.9 percent from three-point range this season.

Tech’s leading scorer is Clinch, a sophomore who ranks 10th in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 15.5 points a game. Having reached double digits in all but one game, the 6-3 guard from Cordele, Ga., also ranks fifth in the ACC in field goal percentage (57.0) and second in three-point percentage (48.1). He has scored at least 20 points four times this season.

The other returning player in Tech’s starting lineup is Smith, a 6-8 strong forward from Fort Worth, Texas. Smith, a junior, has improved offensively and is just as tough on the boards and on defense as he was a year ago, averaging 10.0 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds. He leads Tech in field goal percentage (63.5 percent) and has six double-digit scoring efforts.

Crittenton, a 6-5 point guard from Atlanta, has averaged 13.8 points (46.5 pct. FG) as well as 5.2 assists and 2.1 steals, both fifth-best in the ACC. Crittenton scored 27 points in Tech’s wins over Centenary and Georgia, dishing eight assists and hitting 8-of-15 shots from the floor, including 6-of-11 three-point tries.

Given a chance to start Tech’s last two games, Dickey came through with 15 points and nine rebounds in the win over Georgia. The 6-10 junior from Clio, S.C., averages 7.7 points and 5.8 rebounds this season, hitting 56.4 percent of his shots from the floor while adding a team-high 15 blocked shots.

Hewitt has built plenty of depth between the returning players and the four freshmen who are playing, employing a solid nine-man rotation.

Peacock, a 6-8 all-state performer from Miami who started the first nine games, has averaged 7.1 points and 3.1 rebounds while making 57.7 percent of his field goals. Also averaging double-digit minutes are 6-5 senior guard Mario West (4.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.7 apg, 57.9 pct. FG); 6-10 red-shirt freshman forward Mouhammad Faye (3.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg) and 6-5 junior guard Anthony Morrow (6.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg). D’Andre Bell, a 6-5 sophomore wing player, has moved back into Tech’s perimeter rotation in the last three games.

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