Feb. 20, 2008
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech finishes off a two-game homestand Thursday night with a 7 p.m. regionally-televised game against Virginia at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Yellow Jackets play three of their next five games at home, where they are 4-6 this season overall, 1-4 in ACC games.
The game will be regionally televised on the ACC regional cable network, and will air in Atlanta on FSN South. Radio coverage of the game is provided on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, and can be heard in Atlanta on WQXI-AM (790), WREK-FM (91.1) and WTSH-FM (107.1).
Tech, 11-13 for the season and 4-6 in the ACC, has lost three straight games and dropped four of its last five, including a 64-63 heartbreaker Sunday against Miami. The Yellow Jackets are tied for seventh place in the ACC standings with the Hurricanes, a half-game behind Virginia Tech and 1-1/2 games behind Wake Forest.
At home, the Yellow Jackets are 1-4 in conference play, with the three losses coming by a TOTAL of six points. Tech is 5-6 on opponents’ home courts this season, 3-2 in ACC road games, the first time the Jackets have won as many conference road games since the Final Four season of 2003-04. One of those road wins was a 92-82 overtime win against the Cavaliers on Jan. 27 at the John Paul Jones Arena.
Virginia, 12-12 overall and 2-9 in the ACC, had lost seven straight games before pulling out a 79-74 victory at Boston College Sunday. Five of the Cavaliers’ ACC losses have been decided by two points or less, or gone to overtime.
Tech has played a strong schedule, posting a schedule strength rank of No. 10 according to this week’s RPI rankings. The teams Tech lost to have a combined record of 221-81 (through Sunday’s games), including losses to six top-25 teams who have a combined mark of 131-24.
Series vs. Virginia
> Georgia Tech has won seven of the last nine, 11 of the last 14, and 18 of the last 23 meetings with Virginia. Tech also has four wins in its last six trips to Charlottesville, including a 92-82 overtime victory on Jan. 27 of this season at John Paul Jones Arena.
> Since Tech joined the ACC, the Yellow Jackets are 35-27 against Virginia.
> Tech is 10-3 against Virginia under Paul Hewitt, including all three meetings in Hewitt’s first season of 2000-01, and is 2-1 against Virginia teams coached by Dave Leitao.
> Tech and Virginia have played to overtime six times since the 1983-84 season, including a 72-71 triple-overtime win for Tech in Atlanta on Jan. 23, 1984, and an 88-85 double-overtime triumph for Virginia in Charlottesville on Jan. 22, 1995. Seven of the last nine meetings have been decided by six points or less or gone to overtime, and 25 of the teams’ 58 meetings since the Jackets joined the ACC have been decided by five points or less or gone to OT.
> The Jackets have won 10 of the last 11 meetings between the two teams in the Thrillerdome, including a 63-54 victory in the 2005-06 season. The lone Cavalier win occurred Jan. 22, 2002. Overall, Tech is 21-5 against the Cavaliers in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, 22-7 on all home courts and 24-8 in games played in the city of Atlanta.
> In the ACC Tournament, Tech and Virginia are even at 4-4, including a 70-61 Jacket victory in the 1990 final in Charlotte.
Quick Look at Tech
Georgia Tech’s starting lineup for the last 10 games (beginning Jan. 12 at Miami) has included freshman Moe Miller at point guard and junior D’Andre Bell at one wing. Seniors Anthony Morrow (wing) and Jeremis Smith (big forward) have started all 24 games for the Yellow Jackets, while freshman Gani Lawal has started the last 17 games at center.
The Yellow Jackets, whose regular rotation at the moment includes 10 players, are 4-6 with this starting lineup.
Miller, who replaced Matt Causey in the lineup, had started Tech’s first two games of the season before injuring his back in the Virgin Islands. Regardless of which player starts, Miller and Causey both play significant minutes at the point, combining to average 17.0 points and 7.1 assists in ACC games.
Despite playing only 18 minutes a game, the 6-0 Causey ranks eighth in the ACC in assists and assist-turnover ratio. Tech’s top scorer for five of the last 10 games, Causey has averaged 11.8 points and 3.9 assists since moving to the bench. Miller, a 6-1 rookie from Memphis, Tenn., has accumulated 50 assists and just 25 turnovers in the last 15 games, and has averaged 5.7 points and 3.5 assists per game as a starter.
Morrow, a 6-5 guard from Charlotte, N.C., who is the Yellow Jackets’ top returning scorer from 2006-07, currently ranks 16th in the ACC with 14.1 points a game, 12.9 vs. the ACC. One of Tech’s best all-time three-point shooters with 235 for his career, Morrow has hit 43.0 percent from that distance this season.
Bell, a 6-5 junior, provides good physical defense on the perimeter and can score when needed (three double-figure games in ACC play). He averages 6.3 points for the season, 7.8 vs. the ACC, and has shot 50 percent from the floor. Bell started four games at point guard in Miller’s absence and now is playing primarily on the wing as Miller and Causey have developed into a solid tandem.
Smith, the team captain and a 6-8 forward from Fort Worth, Texas, is Tech’s third-leading scorer at 9.7 points per game and its leading rebounder at 7.1 per game (10th in the ACC). Smith has averaged 10.2 points and 7.6 rebounds in ACC games (11.6 points and 8.3 boards in Tech’s last three games).
Lawal, a 6-8 rookie from Riverdale, Ga., averages 7.2 points and 3.8 rebounds while leading the Jackets in field goal percentage at 58.5.
Backcourt reserves — Clinch, a 6-3 guard from Cordele, Ga., has reached double-digits in scoring in 14 games this year, and is Tech’s second-leading scorer with 10.3 points per game, but has been inconsistent in ACC games (6.6 ppg, 36.5 pct. FG). Six-foot-4 freshman Lance Storrs of Decatur, Ga., averaging 1.4 points per game, has begun to see more significant playing time off the bench in the last six games as an additional perimeter defender.
Frontcourt reserves — Hewitt can go to 6-8 sophomore Zack Peacock of Miami, Fla., and 6-10 junior Alade Aminu of Stone Mountain, Ga. Peacock is Tech’s fourth-leading scorer (9.2) and No. 3 rebounder (4.3), and has averaged 12.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in Tech’s last six games. Aminu, who started Tech’s first seven games of the season, has averaged 6.8 points and 4.3 rebounds while hitting 56.6 percent of his shots from the floor. Tech also has 6-11 red-shirt freshman Brad Sheehan of Latham, N.Y., who has played in just one ACC game.
Home Court No Savior for Tech
Georgia Tech lost its fourth ACC home game Sunday, falling 64-63 to Miami in a game that featured 13 ties and 12 lead changes. The Jackets turned the ball over 22 times, negating a 39-34 advantage on the boards and a defense that held the Hurricanes to 35.2-percent shooting from the floor.
Miami managed to win by winning the boards in the second half, and Jack McClinton found his way free for three three-point baskets in the final seven minutes. The key play of the game, however, occurred when Anthony King muscled between two Tech players to rebound McClinton’s only miss of the stretch. He layed it in while being fouled, and tied the game at 60-all with 1:27 remaining. After Anthony Morrow missed a three-pointer for Tech, McClinton gave the Hurricanes the lead on his bonus shot with 47 seconds left.
Matt Causey led Tech with 20 points, the fifth time in 10 games he has led the Jackets in scoring.
Jackets Suddenly Struggle to Score
After a six-game stretch in which Georgia Tech averaged 84.5 points per game, shot 50 percent from the floor overall and 38.9 percent from three-point range, the Yellow Jackets have gone cold.
In its three straight losses, Tech has averaged 66 points, with a high game of 68, made 42 percent of its field goal tries and 27.4 percent of its threes. The Jackets also have a minus-1.3 turnover margin during this streak after going plus-3.8 in the previous six games.
Tech also has had significantly fewer scoring opportunities in the last three games. Using a formula of field goal attempts + free throw attempts + turnovers minus offensive rebounds, the Jackets have averaged 76.7 offensive possessions in the last three games, 88.5 in the six games before that.
Tech remains among the ACC leaders in scoring average (fourth at 77.0) and field goal percentage (third at 47.1 pct.) for the season, and rank fifth (76.9) and second (47.7 pct.) in ACC games only.
The Bench Factor
Since Matt Causey has come off the bench, which is the last 10 Georgia Tech games beginning Jan. 12 at Miami, he has averaged 11.8 points per game, which ranks second the team. Tech’s bench players are outscoring those of its opponents over that span, 33.1 points per game to 17.0, and still hold the edge over their counterparts even when the disparity in playing time is factored in.
> In ACC games, Tech’s bench has outscored its opponents by 33.8 to 17.5.
> Only two opponents’ benches have outscored Tech’s this season — Tennessee State (7/27) and Kansas (16/22).
> A bench player has led Tech in scoring six times in the last eight games — Causey five times and Zack Peacock once. Each player has reached double figures five times in the last 10 games.
Quick Personnel Notes
> Alade Aminu — has averaged 8.0 points and his 13-of-16 field goals in his last four ACC games.
> D’Andre Bell — has attempted as many as 10 shots in a game only four times in his career – three times in Tech’s last seven games … is playing 15 more minutes per game (24.3 per game, 8.9 last year) than he did last season, the second-largest increase among ACC players … averaging 29.7 minutes in ACC games this year, a team high.
> Matt Causey — has five double-figure scoring games in the last 10, averaging 11.8 ppg … his 30-point performance against Virginia Tech was the third-highest total by a non-starter on record in ACC history.
> Lewis Clinch — has scored just 10 points in his last three games, none against Miami.
> Head coach Paul Hewitt — stands 19th for career victories by an ACC coach with 138.
> Gani Lawal — shooting a team-high 58.5 percent from the floor, 56.4 against the ACC … has grabbed two-thirds (26 of 41) of his rebounds in ACC games from the offensive glass … averaged just 5.2 ppg in his last five games (41.7% FG).
> Moe Miller — has 50 assists, 25 turnovers and 21 steals in his last 15 games … has averaged 7.2 points and hit 15-of-31 field goal attempts in his last five games.
> Anthony Morrow — has moved into fifth place on Tech’s all-time list for three-point field goals; he has 235 for his career (Marvin Lewis holds third with 239) … he is tied for 21st on the ACC’s all-time list … holds 24th place on Tech’s all-time scoring list with 1,283 points and needs 29 points to leap all the way to 21st … has made at least one three-point basket in 33 straight games dating back to last season, the longest current streak in the ACC.
> Morrow’s FTs — his 87.6 percent career success rate on free throws is the best in Tech history if he can maintain it (Roger Kaiser’s 85.8 from 1959-61 is the record) … that rate also would be the second best in ACC history behind J.J. Redick’s 91.2 pct. if he can make 16 more free throws before season’s end (must meet ACC minimum of 200 FT made) … is 14-for-14 from the line in Tech’s three ACC road wins.
> Zack Peacock — has scored in double digits in five of Tech’s last six games (12.2 ppg, 28-of-55 from the floor) … recorded the first double-double of his career against North Carolina (14 points, 11 rebounds).
> Jeremis Smith — averaging 11.7 ppg and 8.3 rpg in the last three games, hitting 70 percent (14-of-20 FG) from the floor … is hitting 63.5 percent from the line this year (65.4 percent in ACC games) after hitting just 52.9 percent in his first three seasons … his 651 rebounds ranks 16th all-time at Tech (needs four to take over 15th place from Ivano Newbill).
Tech Stock Tips
> With its current starting lineup, Tech has shot 46.8 percent from the floor and 34.8 percent from three-point range, and limited the eight opponents to 32.3 percent from three-point range. Tech also has a plus-1.5 turnover margin during that stretch and has averaged 4.0 blocked shots and 9.1 steals per game.
> In its three ACC road wins, Tech rallied from second-half deficits of six, 10 and 12 points, respectively, and committed a total of only NINE turnovers in 65 total minutes after intermission.
> Tech’s highest NCAA statistical rankings are scoring offense (37th) and field goal percentage (38th).
> Four of Tech’s ACC losses have come on its homecourt by a total of six points (one to Miami, two to Maryland, one to North Carolina, two to Florida State).
> Georgia Tech has found itself in several close games this season. Sixteen of Tech’s 24 games this year have been decided by 10 points or fewer, and the Jackets are 6-10 in those games. Eleven games have been decided by five points or fewer or have gone to OT, and Tech is 5-6 in those contests.
> Tech is 4-6 at home this season with three games left. Tech has had only two losing seasons at home since Alexander Memorial Coliseum was built, in 1973-74 (4-10) and 1980-81 (4-11).
> The Jackets are 5-6 on opponents’ home courts this year, the most road victories for Tech since the 2004-05 season. Tech also is 3-2 in ACC road games, and is 7-7 away from Atlanta.
> The last time Tech won more games on opponents’ home courts than its own was the 1947-48 season (4-7 at home, 5-5 away), when the Yellow Jackets played their home games in the Heisman Gym, located on the current site of the Bobby Dodd Stadium North stands. Tech won more games on opponent home courts than its own four times in the 1920s, when the Jackets played in a temporary facility on the same site, and in the 1912-13 season, when home games were played at the Crystal Palace, on the corner of Third and Cherry Streets.