Nov. 21, 2008
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech continues its 93rd season of basketball Saturday afternoon when the Yellow Jackets visit Mercer at the University Center in Macon, Ga. It is Tech’s first road game of the 2008-09 season and its only road test before a Dec. 20-22 trip to California.
Saturday’s game, regionally televised by FSN South, is Tech’s first visit to Mercer since 1975. The Jackets are 26-62 on opponents’ home courts under head coach Paul Hewitt.
> Hewitt is beginning his ninth season with the Yellow Jackets (143-112) and his 12th season as a head coach (209-139). Hewitt ranks 19th all-time in victories among ACC coaches.
> Georgia Tech opened its season at home Friday night with a 92-47 victory over Winston-Salem State.
> Mercer has begun its season with three wins, including a 72-69 upset of Alabama in Tuscaloosa Sunday and a 78-74 win at Auburn Wednesday. The Bears upset Southern California on the road early last season and nearly upended the Crimson Tide days later in Macon. Mercer also has road trips scheduled to Dayton, Oklahoma State, UCLA and Iowa State before the end of December.
> Georgia Tech has been picked to finish eighth in the ACC by the media at the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Operation Basketball media gathering. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 15-17 season (7-9, tie for seventh in the ACC) from which only six players with starting experience return, two of whom are not available to play due to injury or academics.
Series With Mercer
> Georgia Tech faces in-state foe Mercer for the first time since the 1999-2000 season, and visits the Bears for the first time since 1975.
> Mercer will play Tech in Atlanta in each of the next two seasons.
> Tech holds a 25-16 overall lead in the series, including a 9-7 mark in games played on the Bears’ home floor. The teams played for the first time in 1925, and the Yellow Jackets have won the last six meetings and 17 of the past 19.
> The last three meetings between the two teams, in 1991, 1993 and 1999, were played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Current Tech basektball team academic advisor Jon Babul (5 pts, 5 reb) played in the 1999 meeting, a 91-79 Jacket win.
> The teams also met in an NCAA Tournament game, a 65-58 Tech win in the first round of the 1985 NCAA East Regional in the Omni in Atlanta. That Mercer team was led by Sam Mitchell, the current head coach of the NBA Toronto Raptors, which features former Tech star Chris Bosh.
> Tech’s last visit to Mercer occurred on Jan. 14, 1975 and resulted in a 70-68 Yellow Jacket win. Mercer’s last win occurred on Jan. 28, 1974, a 102-85 decision in Atlanta.
> Tech head coach Paul Hewitt has never faced Mercer, nor has Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman ever faced Georgia Tech.
> Mercer is Tech’s most frequent opponent of any team outside the Atlantic Coast Conference or Southeastern Conference, with the exception of Tulane. The Jackets and Green Wave, however, were both members of the SEC throughout the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
> Mercer is a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Georgia Tech is 51-24 all-time against current members of the league.
Quick Look at Tech
Head coach Paul Hewitt will start the same five players against Mercer that took the court against Winston-Salem State last Friday – sophomore Moe Miller and freshman Iman Shumpert at the guards, with junior Zachery Peacock, senior Alade Aminu and sophomore Gani Lawal along the front line.
With senior D’Andre Bell (spinal stenosis) out for the season and senior Lewis Clinch (academically ineligible) out for the semester, Peacock is being asked to utilize his outside shooting and defensive abilities at the small forward spot.
Tech still has some depth in the backcourt with sophomore Lance Storrs and walk-on freshman Nick Foreman coming off the bench. Storrs showed some of his shooting ability against WSSU, hitting 3-of-4 from the three-point area while scoring 14 points. Foreman scored eight points and hit a pair of threes in Tech’s exhibition win over LeMoyne.
In the frontcourt, Tech has good numbers with red-shirt sophomore Brad Sheehan and senior Bassirou Dieng, a transfer from St. Francis, Pa., who is enrolled in graduate school. Sheehan has added weight and strength, while Dieng can rebound, block shots and shoot from the perimeter.