Georgia Tech (3-1) vs. UCLA (2-2)
December 2, 2000 3 p.m. EST
Wooden Classic Arrowhead Pond Anaheim, Calif.
TV: Fox Sports Net (Bob Neal, Bill Walton)
Radio: WGST (640 AM) in Atlanta, flagship for the Georgia Tech Radio Network (Wes Durham, play-by-play; Randy Waters, color)
Tech Record: 3-1, 0-0 ACC
Home: 3-0; Away: 0-1; Neutral: 0-0
Tech vs. UCLA: 0-2
Tech vs. Pac-10: 3-7
Last Meeting: Dec. 27, 1969; UCLA 121, Tech 90
Hewitt Record: 69-28 (.711), 4th season
Hewitt at Tech: 3-1 (.750), 1st season
Next Tech game: Dec. 6 vs. Georgia, 8 p.m., Alexander Memorial Coliseum
UCLA Awaits as Tech Comes Off First Loss
Georgia Tech lost its first game of the season Tuesday night, November 28 at Iowa, 85-67, and continues its road trip Saturday, December 2 in the Wooden Classic against UCLA.
The Yellow Jackets tipped off the Paul Hewitt era with convincing wins over Wofford (92-49), Charleston Southern (85-62) and Davidson (92-61), before falling at Iowa Tuesday in its first road game of the season. Tech stayed with the Hawkeyes until the final six minutes, trailing Iowa 67-59 at the 5:58 mark.
Senior center Alvin Jones has led the Jackets on both ends of the floor thus far, pacing Tech with 18.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game following a season-high 24 points against Iowa. Three other Tech players are averaging in double figures junior guard Tony Akins and senior guard Shaun Fein at 14.3 points, and freshman guard/forward Marvin Lewis at 13.0.
The Jackets are shooting 48.6 percent from the floor, 47.7 percent from three-point range, while holding their opponents to 35.3 percent. Jones tops the Jackets at 61.4 percent, followed by Akins at 60.6 and Fein at 52.5.
Tech vs. UCLA
Georgia Tech is meeting UCLA for the first time since the 1960’s. The Yellow Jackets and Bruins met twice in the Bruin Classic, with Tech dropping a 91-72 decision on Dec. 29, 1966 and a 121-90 contest on Dec. 27, 1969. John “Whack” Hyder was the Tech coach at the time, facing the UCLA legend, John Wooden.
Saturday is Georgia Tech’s first appearance in the Wooden Classic, and its first game in the state of California since playing in the Cable Car Classic in the 1995-96 season. Tech lost both its games in that event to Bradley and Santa Clara.
Hot Shooting Out of the Gate
Head coach Paul Hewitt’s team has met his expectations in shooting, hitting 47.7 percent of its three-point attempts against its four three opponents after making 50 percent (28-of-56) in its two exhibition games.
Tech is shooting 48.6 percent from the floor overall, led by Alvin Jones at 61.4 percent. Tony Akins has shot 61.4 percent overall and 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from three-point range, while Shaun Fein has shot 52.5 percent overall and 38.5 from three-point range, and freshman Marvin Lewis is 12-of-18 from three-point range and 48.5 percent overall.
The Jackets have been consistent from game to game, shooting 51.5, 48.4, 47.0 and 47.1 percent in the four games thus far, and the Jackets are attempting about 35 percent of their shots from beyond the arc, close to the coaching staff’s goal of one-third.
Tech shot 58.3 percent from three-point range against Wofford, 47.4 percent against Charleston Southern, 48.0 percent against Davidson and 33.3 percent against Iowa.
Different Guy Every Night
Tech has had three different players lead the team in scoring so far, another design of the Yellow Jackets’ style of play.
Against Wofford, it was senior guard Shaun Fein with a career night of 32 points on 12 of 16 field goal attempts and 7-of-11 from three-point range. Alvin Jones dominated the inside against Charleston Southern to score 21 on 8-of-12 shooting, and freshman Marvin Lewis canned 6-of-7 three-point attempts to score 22 last time out against Davidson. Jones topped the Jackets with 24 at Iowa (9-of-13 FG).
No player has attempted more than Fein’s 16 field goals against Charleston Southern. Lewis’ 22 points came on just 11 shots.
All of Tech’s players have participated in the Yellow Jackets’ high scoring efforts not just by scoring, but by working the ball around.
Tech has managed 81 assists on its 119 field goals, meaning 68 percent of the Jackets’ field goals have come as a direct result of another player’s passing. Only the 1987-88 Tech team has been able to achieve that percentage over the course of a season. Only three have ever assisted on as many as 65 percent of the team’s field goals.
At least six players have recorded an assist in each game thus far, nine each against Wofford and Davidson.
A Lid on the Other Basket
In the season opener, Tech held Wofford to 25.5-percent shooting from the floor and only 14 field goals made. It was the eighth-lowest percentage Tech has allowed and included just 3-for-16 from three-point range. Charleston Southern didn’t fare much better, shooting 32 percent overall and 4-of-17 from three-point range, and Davidson managed 36.7 percent overall.
While holding the three teams collectively to 35.3 percent shooting, Tech has also forced 73 turnovers, made 44 steals and blocked 26 shots.
Until Iowa shot 47.3 percent Tuesday night, the Jackets had held five straight opponents under 40 percent shooting from the floor dating back to last season.
Ten Players in Rotation
Head coach Paul Hewitt has used a regular rotation of 10 players in the four games thus far, with all of them averaging at least 10 minutes a game.
Tech still awaits the return of sophomore forward Clarence Moore, who continues to do a little more each day in practice is expected to see action against UCLA.
The lineup Tech has begun each game with will be the same one that starts against Iowa: 5-11 junior Tony Akins and 6-3 senior Shaun Fein at the guards, 6-3 freshman Marvin Lewis and 6-7 senior Jon Babul at the forwards, and 6-11 senior Alvin Jones at center.
Moore To Return for UCLA
Sophomore forward Clarence Moore, who fractured a bone in his left foot in early September, has continued to progress in practice and is expected to see game action against UCLA.
Moore, who played in all 30 games and started five last year (4.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg), sustained the injury in a pickup game. He was in a hard cast for three weeks after surgery to place a pin in the bone.
Schedule Heats Up
Georgia Tech’s schedule is heating up after Tuesday night’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge game at Iowa and Saturday’s game against UCLA in the John Wooden Classic.
Next week, Tech hosts Georgia on Dec. 6 and meets Kentucky on Dec. 9 at Philips Arena in the Delta Air Lines Classic for Kids. UCLA and Kentucky began the season ranked in the top 20 in both polls, but have both fallen out.
Tech then takes a week off for fall semester exams before playing in the Stanford Invitational on Dec. 18-19.
Jones Poised to Surpass 1,000 Points
Alvin Jones needs just 15 points to surpass 1,000 points for his career and become the 31st Tech player to do so. The senior center has 985 career points and is averaging a team-high 18.5 points per game so far this season.
Jones also has a chance this season to become only the second player in Tech history to accumulate 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career. He has 802 career rebounds following the Iowa game, and would need to hold his current average of 9.8 per game to reach 1,000 this season. Only Malcolm Mackey, who holds the Tech record for rebounds with 1,205 and ranks 10th in Tech history with 1,734 points, has done that.
The 6-11 pivotman is the ACC’s active leader in rebounds. He moved past former Yellow Jacket John Salley for seventh place in Tech history Tuesday night with seven rebounds against Iowa. James Forrest holds sixth place with 846.
Center Alvin Jones missed a double-double in each of the first two Tech games by a single rebound, but he notched his first of the season, and 22nd of his career, against Davidson with 15 points and 14 rebounds. That leads active ACC players.
It was the first double-double for the 6-11 senior in 12 games dating back to last Feb. 5, when he had 11 points and 10 rebounds against Florida A&M.
Lewis Fills It Up
Freshman Marvin Lewis has demonstrated outstanding shooting ability in the early going, particularly in the last two games. The 6-3 guard has grabbed a starting role and averaged 13.0 points and made 12 of 18 three-point attempts this season.
He led the Jackets with 22 points against Davidson, hitting 6 of 7 three-pointers, and followed that with 15 points Tuesday against Iowa, making all three of his three-point attempts.
Lewis came to Tech from Montrose Christian school in Germantown, Md., where he was coached by Stu Vetter, who was the high school coach of former Tech great Dennis Scott, Tech’s all-time three-point field goal leader.
Akins Much Improved
Tony Akins may be the most improved player on the floor for Georgia Tech. The 5-11 junior point guard has been very consistent so far in all phases of his game, averaging 14.3 points and 5.3 assists per game.
Akins has 21 assists and just six turnovers in four games, and has been Tech’s top shooter from three-point range at 68.8 percent (11-of-16). He also has nine steals, tied for the team lead.
Brooks Starring off the Bench
Georgia Tech has gotten solid contributions from its freshmen this season, with Marvin Lewis grabbing a starting role (13.0 ppg, 12-of-18 3FG) and forwards Robert Brooks and Halston Lane coming off the bench.
Brooks has given the Jackets much-needed help on the front line, averaging 4.3 rebounds with five blocks and nine steals while averaging 5.3 points per game. He is averaging 21.8 minutes off the bench, tops among the reserves.
Making Strides at Free Throw Line
If Georgia Tech’s first few regular-season games are any indication, the Yellow Jackets look to be vastly improved in their free throw shooting.
Tech has made 69.5 percent of its free throws in the first four games, and was at 73.3 percent before Tuesday night at Iowa, when the Jackets made just 13 of 22 attempts in their first road game of the season.
Tech hit 26 of 30 free throw attempts in its two exhibition games (86.7 percent).
The Jackets shot 68.3 percent from the line last season, a six-percent improvement from the year before.
Excellent free throw shooting was one of the hallmarks of Paul Hewitt’s teams at Siena. The Saints made 77.8 percent of their free throws during his three seasons at the Loudonville, N.Y., school.
New Bench, New Uniforms
Along with its new coach, Georgia Tech is wearing new uniforms and sitting on a new bench this season.
Tech has redesigned its home and road uniforms. They still sport the block “Georgia Tech” lettering on the front with the jersey number in between, but in a different typeface. The center of the neckline features a GT logo, and the sides of the jersey and pants feature a color band bordered by blue piping from underarm to the bottom of the shorts with a GT logo at the bottom of the shorts. The players’ names are on the backs, unlike last year.
Road uniforms are gold with white lettering and blue trim, while the home uniforms are white with gold lettering and blue trim, as before.
Additionally, Tech sits on the opposite bench at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, nearest the tunnel where the teams enter the floor.
Tech Head Coaches in their Debuts
Coach Date Opponent ResultJohn Heisman Jan. 8, 1909 Mercer W, 28-7William Alexander Jan. 10, 1929 Auburn L, 24-29Joe Bean Jan. 8, 1921 Mercer L, 19-20Harold Hansen Jan. 9, 1925 Atlanta Athletic Club L, 22-23Roy Mundorf Dec. 20, 1926 @Ohio State L, 26-35Dwight Keith Jan. 7, 1944 @Atlanta NAS W, 46-34Roy McArthur Dec. 12, 1946 Chattanooga W, 63-37John "Whack" Hyder Dec. 8, 1951 @South Carolina W, 66-64Dwane Morrison Nov. 30, 1973 Alabama L, 64-88Bobby Cremins Nov. 30, 1981 Presbyterian W, 82-66Paul Hewitt Nov. 17, 2000 Wofford W, 92-49
Jackets Tabbed Eighth in ACC
Georgia Tech was predicted to finish eighth in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season by a vote of the attending media at the conference’s Operation Basketball media day in late October.
The Yellow Jackets have appeared anywhere from seventh to ninth in the various pre-season magazines 7th by The Sporting News, 8th by Dick Vitale’s and Lindy’s, and 9th by Street & Smith’s.
Georgia Tech’s roster includes six seniors, including scholarship players Alvin Jones, Shaun Fein, Jon Babul, T.J. Vines and Darryl LaBarrie, as well as walk-on Winston Neal. That represents Tech’s largest senior class since the 1975-76 season, when the roster included seven seniors.
It took only 60 games for Alvin Jones to become Georgia Tech’s all-time leader in blocked shots, breaking the record late in his sophomore season. Jones, who surpassed the record of 243 set by John Salley from 1983-86, now has 340 rejections in 97 games. He passed Maryland’s Derrick Lewis for fifth place on the all-time ACC list Friday night against Davidson.
Jones, who had 107 blocks in 30 games last season (3.5 per game), also continues his climb up the Atlantic Coast Conference career lists for blocked shots. After becoming just the seventh player in league history to reach 300 blocked shots, his next target is Duke’s Mike Gminski (345).
Jones, whose season high is 141 blocks in his freshman year, needs 142 rejections to break the ACC record of 481 held by Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan.
From the Left …
For the second year in a row, Georgia Tech features three left-handed players on its roster. Tony Akins, Clarence Moore and Halston Lane all shoot left-handed. Last season, Akins, Moore and Jason Collier were the southpaws on the squad.
Dialing Long Distance
Georgia Tech owns the third-longest active streak in the nation for consecutive games with at least one three-point field goal. Tech’s streak has reached 415 games. The last team to hold the Jackets without a three-point field goal was Virginia in the 1987 ACC Tournament.
UNLV held the longest streak with 449 games entering the 2000-01 season, followed by Vanderbilt at 442 games. UNLV, Vanderbilt and Princeton (386 games) began the season as the only schools to have at least one three-pointer in every game since the rule was put in for the 1986-87 season.
Tech Signs Five Early
Georgia Tech signed five players during the November early signing period. Joining the fold will be 6-4 guard Barry Elder of Madison, Ga., 6-6 forward Isma’il Muhammad of Atlanta, 6-7 forward Ed Nelson of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 6-10 center Michael Southall of West Salem, Wis., and 6-6 guard Anthony Vasser of Birmingham, Ala.
Jackets in the NBA
Nine former Yellow Jackets are currently active in the NBA. The only school with more active NBA players than Tech is North Carolina. In addition to the nine currently active, Drew Barry spent time with the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks last year.
Player Team Yrs in NBAKenny Anderson Boston Celtics 9Jon Barry Sacramento Kings 8Travis Best Indiana Pacers 5Jason Collier Houston Rockets RMatt Geiger Philadelphia 76'ers 8Dion Glover Atlanta Hawks 1Tom Hammonds Minnesota Timberwolves 11Matt Harpring Cleveland Cavaliers 2Stephon Marbury New Jersey Nets 4
Georgia Tech’s basketball roster, which for the fourth consecutive year is without a player from New York, has taken on a very home-state and Southern look.
Of the 13 players on Tech’s roster, six are native Georgians, all from metropolitan Atlanta. Senior Alvin Jones is from Florida, freshman Clarence Moore is from Louisiana and freshman Halston Lane is from Tennessee.
Jon Babul (North Attleboro, Mass.), Shaun Fein (Centerville, Mass.), Marvin Lewis (Germantown, Md.) and Robert Brooks (Saginaw, Mich.) are the only Jackets not from the Southeastern United States.
Georgia Tech is playing its 45th season at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center in 2000-01. The Jackets have a record of 437-147 (.748) in the facility, which opened Nov. 30, 1956 with a 71-61 Tech loss to Duke.
Since the beginning of the 1981-82 season, Tech is 200-48 (.806) in its on-campus home, including an 11-3 mark last season. The Jackets are 115-4 against non-conference opponents at the Thrillerdome since 1981-82.
Non-Conference Foes Beware
Georgia Tech is 115-4 against non-conference opposition at Alexander Memorial Coliseum since the beginning of the 1981-82 season, including the last 13 in a row. Tech’s third-round NIT loss to Penn State to end the 1997-98 season, its last home loss to a non-ACC team, snapped a 24-game home winning streak against teams outside the conference.
The other non-conference teams to win at the Thrillerdome during that period of time are Richmond (Dec. 22, 1987), Louisville (Jan. 15, 1989) and the College of Charleston (Jan. 16, 1993).