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Tech Finishes Homestand vs. Pittsburgh

GEORGIA TECH (9-9, 2-5 ACC) vs. PITTSBURGH (11-7, 2-5 ACC)

Tuesday, January 23, 2024 | 7 p.m. EST | Atlanta, Ga. | McCamish Pavilion


 

THE FLATS – Looking for a bounce-back win after dropping a close game Saturday to Virginia, Georgia Tech finishes a two-game homestand at 7 p.m. Tuesday night against Pittsburgh at McCamish Pavilion.

The Yellow Jackets (9-9, 2-5 ACC) has lost three straight ACC games at home to Boston College (95-87), Notre Dame (75-68 in overtime) and Virginia (75-66) since beating Duke (72-68) on Dec. 2. The Yellow Jackets’ other conference win came at Clemson last Tuesday (93-90 in overtime).

Pittsburgh (11-7, 2-5 ACC) had lost four of its last five games before capturing an 80-76 win at Duke Saturday, avenging a 23-point home loss to the Blue Devils in early January. The Panthers also have an 83-70 road win at Louisville to its credit.

Tuesday’s game will be televised live on ESPNU with a live stream available on the ESPN app. Radio coverage is on the Georgia Tech Sports Network by Legends Sports and flagship station 680 the Fan (680 AM/93.7 FM). The Tech broadcast is also available on SiriusXM channel 383 and the SiriusXM app.

THE TIP-OFF

  • Tech’s five ACC losses have been decided by an average of eight points, only one by double digits. In the last four, the Jackets had leads of 16 points against Boston College, seven vs. Notre Dame, 10 at Duke and 11 vs. Virginia.
  • Tech has averaged 76.6 points per game and has connected on 47.4 percent of its field goal tries in ACC play, which ranks No. 4 and No. 2, respectively, in those categories.
  • Tech has the ACC’s fourth-most efficient offense in conference games (109.5 points per 100 possessions according to KenPom.com) and ranks No. 2 in effective field goal percentage in conference games.
  • Seven Tech players have scored at least 20 points in a game this season – Naithan George, Kyle Sturdivant, Deebo Coleman, Tafara Gapare, Kowacie Reeves, Jr., Baye Ndongo and Miles Kelly. It is only the second time that as many as seven different Yellow Jackets have scored 20-plus in a game during a season (2007-08).
  • Four Tech players are averaging double figures in ACC play – Miles Kelly (15.9), Baye Ndongo (15.2) and Kowacie Reeves, Jr. (12.6) and Naithan George (10.6). Those three players have combined to hit 49.1 percent of their shots from the floor (144-293) and 39.5 percent from three-point range (58-of-129).
  • Tech has started two freshmen – Baye Ndongo and point guard Naithan George – in its last 14 games, winning seven of them. The Jackets have not had two freshmen in its regular starting lineup since the 2018-19 season (Michael Devoe, Khalid Moore), and have not had a freshman regularly start at point guard since Jose Alvarado in 2017-18.
  • Miles Kelly, Tech’s leading scorer in 2022-23 at 14.4 points per game, is Tech’s leading scorer again this season at 15.1 points per game. The junior guard leads three Jackets averaging in double figures with freshman forward Baye Ndongo (12.9 ppg) and junior guard Kowacie Reeves, Jr. (11.9 ppg). Five other Jackets average between 4.5 and 9.3 points per game.
  • Kelly sits 17 points away from 900 for his career, while Tyzhaun Claude needs 15 to reach the same plateau.
  • Freshman forward Baye Ndongo has won the ACC’s Rookie of the Week honor three times this season (Dec. 2, Dec. 18, Dec. 26), most for a Yellow Jacket since current NBA star Josh Okogie did so during the 2016-17 season.
  • Tech’s point guard tandem of Naithan George and Kyle Sturdivant has averaged 7.1 assists per game combined, 9.9 in ACC games. Their assist/turnover ratio is 2.37-to-1 combined overall, 3.45-to-1 in conference games. Both players rank among the nation’s top 51 players in assist rate (assists divided by the field goals made by the player’s teammates while he is on the court) according to KenPom.com.
  • Tech is 4-6 against Quad 1 and Quad 2 teams this season, with a Quad 1 win over Duke and Quad 2 wins over Mississippi State and Massachusetts. The Jackets have five Quad 1 and five Quad 2 opponents remaining on its schedule. Tech was 3-14 last season against Quad 1/2 foes.

Head coach Damon Stoudamire on Monday's ACC Coaches Zoom call

SERIES VS. PITTSBURGH

  • Pittsburgh swept the regular-season series from Tech in 2022-23, winning 71-60 in Atlanta and 76-68 in Pittsburgh, and added an 89-81 win over the Yellow Jackets in the ACC Tournament.
  • Tech had won three straight meetings prior to that and still leads the series 12-8, including a 7-8 mark since Pitt became an ACC member.
  • Pitt swept a regular-season series from Tech for the first time in 2022-23. Tech and Pitt split the games the other two times they have played twice, in 2017 and 2020.
  • Tech’s 73-57 win in its final home game of the 2019-20 campaign was the widest margin of victory for either team in 15 meetings as ACC foes.
  • Tech won the first five games in the series, prior to Pitt’s entry into the ACC, all of which took place between 1966 and 1989. The Panthers won the first three meetings after joining the conference.
  • The two most entertaining games between Tech and the former Big East member played in the same month of the 1989-90 season, when the Yellow Jackets were on the way to their second ACC title and first Final Four appearance. Bobby Cremins and Paul Evans were the respective head coaches at the time.
  • Tech overcame an early 26-5 deficit to win the ACC/Big East Challenge game in Hartford in early December, getting 42 points from Dennis Scott, including the game-winner with 8 seconds left. Later in the month, the Panthers came to Atlanta for a Kuppenheimer Classic game at the Omni, and Tech won the game without Cremins, who was attending his father’s funeral. Kenny Anderson recorded a triple-double with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 18 assists.
  • Tech scored easy wins over Pitt in the first three games of the series, all under head coach Whack Hyder, two of which were played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on the Tech campus.
  • Tech is 5-4 against the Panthers’ current head coach, Jeff Capel, having scored an 86-65 victory over VCU during the 2003-04 season when Capel was the Rams’ head coach.

TEAM TRENDS

  • Thirteen of Tech’s 18 games this season have been decided by 10 points or fewer, eight of those by five points or fewer. Four of Tech’s five ACC losses have come by single digits, and the fifth was 11 points.
  • Tech snapped a streak of four straight games with at least 10 three-point field goals, but the Jackets went 9-of-27 from long range against Virginia and have made 40 percent (56-of-140) from distance in their last five games.
  • Tech’s current scoring average of 76.6 points per game in ACC play (ranks No. 2 in the ACC) would be the highest for the team since the 2007-08 season (77.4) if maintained.
  • Tech is shooting 47.4 percent from the floor in ACC games, 37.0 percent from three-point range, and has a team 108-to-82 assist/turnover ratio.
  • Tech has averaged 11 turnovers over its last seven games, after averaging more than 19 in the three games prior and 14 over the first 10 games of the season.
  • Tech has shot 50 percent or better in five games this season, four of them in ACC games.
  • Only five Tech teams since 1997 have finished a season with a KenPom.com offensive efficiency rating higher than the current Yellow Jackets’ rating of 111.2.
  • Miles Kelly and Kowacie Reeves, Jr., are the only Tech players to start every game this season.
  • Deebo Coleman and Kyle Sturdivant have not started a game this year, but have been on the floor for 13 and 11, respectively, of Tech’s games at the finish.
  • Tech is 7-7 since freshmen Baye Ndongo and Naithan George entered the starting lineup Nov. 28 against Mississippi State.
  • At least nine players have seen the court in 17 of Tech’s first 18 games (only eight played against Hawai’i). Eight players average more than 12 minutes per game in ACC games.

PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Freshman point guard Naithan George reached double digits in points in three straight games (17 at Duke, 20 at Clemson, 15 vs. Virginia team-high each time). George has averaged 17.3 points over his last three games, hitting 18-of-32 from the floor, 8-of-17 from three-point range. He also has 20 assists against five turnovers in those three games.
  • George (nine assists vs. Virginia) has dished eight or more assists in five games this season. He averages 6.7 assists in ACC games, which ranks No. 2 in the conference.
  • Freshman forward Baye Ndongo made 6-of-7 shots from the floor against Virginia and is converting at a 63.4-percent rate in ACC games.61.2 percent for the season. He ranks No. 2 nationally among freshmen in field goal percentage.
  • Ndongo has scored in double digits in Tech’s last 10 games, averaging 15.2 points and 9.5 rebounds, and has hit on 68.8 percent of his field goals (64-of-93).
  • Miles Kelly is averaging 15.9 points in ACC games this season, and his shooting percentages in conference games are well above his full-season norms – 41.2 percent from the floor, 36.5 percent from three-point range and 70.6 percent from the foul line.
  • Kyle Sturdivant has 18 assists and five turnovers in his last four games, and has a 53/26 (2.04-to-1) ratio for the season, 22/7 vs. the ACC.
  • Sturdivant reached exactly 800 career points in the Virginia game.
  • George and Sturdivant have recorded 56 assists and just 15 turnovers combined in Tech’s last six games, nearly a 4-to-1 ratio. For the season the point guard combo has 128 assists vs. 54 turnovers, a 2.37-to-1 ratio. In ACC games they have a 3.45-to-1 ratio and rank No. 3 and 4 individually.
  • Kowacie Reeves, Jr., has hit 49.2-percent of his shots from the floor and a team-best 50 percent from three-point range in ACC games. He shot just 19 percent from three-point range in SEC games last year at Florida.
  • Deebo Coleman has just eight turnovers this season in 407 minutes (two in 147 ACC minutes), and has had 11 turnover-free games.
  • Tyzhaun Claude has scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, hit 3-of-3 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the foul line in Tech’s last two games. He has played 61 total minutes.

Baye Ndongo has scored in double digits in 10 straight games. (photo by Danny Karnik)

 


Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of the development of Yellow Jackets that thrive academically at the Institute and compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL

Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its first year under head coach Damon Stoudamire. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won four ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993, 2021), played in the NCAA Tournament 17 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram. For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com.

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