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Tech Finishes Regular Season at Wake Forest

THE FLATS – Looking for its sixth straight win in Atlantic Coast Conference play, Georgia Tech concludes its 2020-21 regular season with an 8 p.m. contest Friday night against Wake Forest at the Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Georgia Tech update – The Yellow Jackets, winners of five straight games and 8-5 since its 17-day COVID pause, are alone in fifth place in the ACC standings and have a NCAA NET ranking of No. 40. Tech’s current surge began with a 71-65 home win over Pitt on Feb. 14, and continued with a pair of big road wins at Miami (87-60) and No. 16 Virginia Tech (69-53) and home wins over Syracuse (84-77) and Duke (81-77).

Wake Forest update – The Demon Deacons have dropped their last six games, the closest of which was a 92-85 overtime defeat at Florida State on Feb. 13. The ensuing five losses have come by an average of 22.8 points. Wake’s last win came Feb. 10 at Boston College by a 69-65 score, and the Deacons also have beaten Pitt and Miami at home.

Broadcast information – Live TV broadcast on the ACC Network and live streaming on the ESPN app. Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech Sports Network by Learfield IMG College and flagship station WCNN-Radio (680 AM, 93.7 FM) in Atlanta. The Tech broadcast can be heard on SiriusXM Ch. 382 (internet 972) and the TuneIn app.

Head coach Josh Pastner speaks to the media Thursday

THE TIPOFF

  • One last snack run – Georgia Tech is closing its regular season with a road game for the third straight year. The Yellow Jackets won each of the last two in the final seconds, prevailing last year at Clemson (65-62) and at NC State (63-61) in 2019.
  • Long time coming – With its win over Duke Tuesday, Georgia Tech improved to 10-6 in conference play and has achieved 10-plus ACC wins in back-to-back years for the first time in program history. Tech also has posted winning ACC records in back-to-back seasons since 1989 and 1990 (both 8-6). Also, the Yellow Jackets are four games over .500 in the ACC for the first time since March 3, 1996.
  • Also – With a 10-6 ACC record to follow last year’s 11-9 finish, Georgia Tech has its most conference victories (21) in back-to-back years since the Yellow Jackets went 8-8 in 1994-95 and 13-3 in 1995-96 (21 wins).
  • One for the thumb – Tech has won five consecutive ACC games, a program high under head coach Josh Pastner. The Yellow Jackets have not won five (or six) straight ACC games since they won the last seven regular season games of the 1995-96 season.
  • Home sweet home – Tech finished the 2020-21 campaign with an 8-1 reord at home in ACC games this season, and has won 14 of its last 15 conference games at McCamish Pavilion. The Jackets won four of those ACC games at home after trailing as the half.
  • Never on Tuesday – Tech’s win over Duke guaranteed the Yellow Jackets an opening-round bye and a spot in Wednesday’s second round of the ACC Tournament. The Yellow Jackets have not had a first-round bye in the tournament since 2005, though last year’s regular-season finish would have given Tech a bye had it participated.
  • A double-bye? – With a win Friday night, Tech has a chance to finish among the top four in the ACC standings and receive a double-bye in next week’s ACC Tournament. However, fourth-place Louisville (8-4) must also lose Saturday game to Virginia.
  • The winning side – Tech now has a winning streak or has won the last meeting against 11 of its 14 ACC foes. The Yellow Jackets have lost their last meetings only to Clemson, Louisville and Virginia (the Cavs have won the last eight meetings).
  • Nothing but NET – Georgia Tech’s five-game winning streak has elevated the Yellow Jackets 22 spots in the NCAA’s NET rankings (from 62 to 40) and 25 spots in the KenPom.com rankings (from 55 to 30). Those are Tech’s highest positions in both rankings during head coach Josh Pastner’s tenure. Tech is 8-6 against quad 1 and 2 teams.
  • Tech’s ACC schedule rated the toughest – Georgia Tech’s ACC schedule is ranked No. 1 in strength according to KenPom.com. In the 15-team ACC era, Tech’s 10-6 mark is by far the best, and the only winning record posted by teams whose conference strength of schedule was rated No. 1 (thanks to GT radio voice Andy Demetra for researching).
  • Big wins for the Jackets – Tech has defeated four AP top 25 teams this season – No. 20 Kentucky (Dec. 6), No. 20 Clemson (Jan. 20), No. 16 Florida State (Jan. 30) and No. 16 Virginia Tech – all by double digits, an average of 15.5 points per game. Only Virginia Tech has beaten as many top 25 teams (also four).
  • Four-large – Georgia Tech is one of two NCAA Division I teams (Ole Miss is the other) to have four active players with 1,000 career points. This has never happened in Tech history. Moses Wright joined the group Feb. 20 at Miami and has 1,091 career points. Michael Devoe (1,082 points) reached that benchmark Feb. 14 against Pitt. Bubba Parham (1,430) already had 1,000 when he transferred to Tech, and Jose Alvarado (1,379) surpassed the mark late last season.
  • Up for Naismith – Jose Alvarado is on the Naismith Trophy Midseason Team for its men’s college player of the year. The senior guard is one of three ACC players on the 30-player list along with Pitt’s Justin Champagnie and Louisville’s Carlik Jones.
  • Doing it at both ends – Entering the final week of the regular season, Georgia Tech ranks No. 5 in the ACC (conference games only) in scoring offense (71.56 ppg) and No. 4 scoring defense (67.56 ppg).
  • On second thought – After intermission during its five-game winning streak, the Yellow Jackets have shot 54.1 percent from the floor (79-of-146). Tech has shot 50 percent or better the second half of 11 of its 16 ACC games this season. In all of Tech’s ACC wins, the Jackets have made 55.7 percent of their attempts after halftime.
  • All in for Alvarado – A season-long ACC Player of the Year candidate, Jose Alvarado ranks among the top 10 in the ACC in seven (7) statistical categories … No. 8 in ACC in scoring (15.68 ppg), No. 5 in FG percentage (.510), No. 1 in FT percentage (.877), No. 6 in assist average (4.14), No. 1 in steals (2.82), No. 7 in assist/turnover ratio (1.98), No. 3 in minutes (36.92). With enough makes he would also rank in the top 10 in three-point percentage (.408), and ranks No. 15 in three-point FG made (1.91 per game).
  • Getting himself Wright – Moses Wright has launched himself into consideration for ACC Player of the Year with a remarkable stretch during Tech’s five-game winning streak, averaging 24.8 points and 11.2 rebounds. He has hit 58-of-85 FG (69.2 pct.), 20-of-31 FT and 3-of-4 3pt FG, adding in 16 assists, 12 blocks, and 5 steals during the stretch.
  • The Wright stuff – Moses Wright ranks among the ACC’s TOP SIX in scoring average (3rd, 18.00 ppg), rebound average (3rd, 8.32 rpg), field goal percentage (4th, .542), steals (6th. 1.55 pg), blocked shots (5th, 1.73 per game), offensive rebounds (3rd, 3.23 rpg) and minutes (5th, 35.91 mpg).
  • Moses climbs the mountain – Moses Wright is the 21st player in Tech history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds in a career, reaching the scoring mark Feb. 20 at Miami and the rebound mark Jan. 30 vs. Florida State. The 6-9 senior now has 1,091 career points and 596 career rebounds.
  • On guard – Michael Devoe (15.88 ppg vs, the ACC) and Jose Alvarado (14.63 ppg vs. ACC) rank No. 8 and 12, respectively, in the ACC and have accounted for 42.6 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ points in conference games. They have scored or assisted on 66.5 percent of Tech’s field goals in conference play. The Jackets are 10-1 this season when both players score in double digits, 8-0 in the ACC.
  • The Three Amigos – Moses Wright (16.94), Michael Devoe (15.88 ppg) and Jose Alvarado (14.63) and all rank among the top 12 players in scoring average. Syracuse is the only other team with three players in the top 20. They have accounted for 66.2 percent of the Jackets’ scoring in league games. Tech is 6-0 in ACC games (8-1 overall) this season when all three reach double figures.
  • Bombs away – Alvarado and Devoe have combined to make 40.5 percent of their three-point shots in ACC games, combining for 68 of the Yellow Jackets’ 124 threes.
  • Ball security – The Jackets remain No. 1 in the ACC in turnover margin (plus-4.14) and rank No. 13 nationally in turnover margin. Tech’s margin of plus 4.13 in ACC games also ranks No. 1. Tech leads the ACC in turnovers forced (15.19) in league games, and is third in turnovers committed (11.06).

Jose Alvarado speaks to the media Thursday

SERIES VS. WAKE FOREST

Georgia Tech has a 45-40 lead in the all-time series and a 44-38 lead in games played since it became a member of the ACC … Tech has won 10 of the last 13 meetings between the two teams, capturing the last four meetings in the series, including the teams’ first regular-season game in 2020-21 by a 70-54 score in Atlanta … Tech has lost 14 of the last 20 meetings at the Joel Coliseum, but has one of its better records in an opponent’s building at 9-20. Tech’s 2020 win snapped a three-game losing streak in the building. Tech is 13-27 against Wake Forest on the road, including a 2-3 mark in regular-season games played in Greensboro and a 2-4 mark in games played in Winston-Salem prior to the opening of Joel Coliseum … Tech is 42-29 against Wake Forest since 1985, including 12 straight victories from 1985-91 … Tech is 4-2 against Wake Forest under Josh Pastner. First-year Demon Deacons’ coach Steve Forbes is 1-1 against the Jackets, having led his East Tennessee State team to a 69-68 victory over the Jackets in Atlanta during his first season with the Buccaneers on Nov. 15, 2015.

TEAM TRENDS

  • Small ball – After Georgia Tech lost its opening two games at home to Georgia State and Mercer, head coach Josh Pastner moved 6-9 senior Moses Wright, who has played the “4” position most of his career, into the “5” spot and started 5-10 senior Bubba Parham beginning with the Dec. 6 win over Kentucky (since replaced by 6-7 junior Khalid Moore for the last five games). The re-alignment worked as the Jackets have shot 48.2 percent from the floor, hit 7.9 three-point field goals per game (36.4 percent), have a plus-98 margin on turnovers, and assisted on 60.9 percent of its field goals in that stretch.
  • Four of Tech’s starters are averaging in double figures in scoring for the season, something Tech has not had since the 2015-16 season. Four or more Yellow Jackets have reached double figures in nine games this season, at least three in all but three games.
  • Tech made great strides in its offensive efficiency during the latter part of last season and continues to progress, ranking No. 19 nationally at 113.8, its highest ranking under Josh Pastner. The Jackets have managed to exceed one point per possession in 18 of 22 games this season (Tech reached that benchmark 11 times in all of 2019-20). Tech has been over a point a game in six straight games.
  • Tech has shot better than 50 percent from the floor in 10 games this season, winning nine of them. The Jackets fell at Clemson on Feb. 12 despite hitting 52 percent of its field goal tries.
  • Tech lost the turnover battle for only the second time in the last 20 games against Duke (15 to Duke’s 14). The Yellow Jackets have a plus-4.1 turnover margin in conference play, plus-4.1 in all games. Both rank No. 1 in the ACC. Tech also leads the ACC in turnovers forced in conference games (15.2) and is second in all games (15.4).
  • Tech scored over a point per possession (KenPom.com offensive efficiency) for the sixth straight game and for the 18th time this season. The Yellow Jackets rank 19th in the nation on offensive efficiency (113.8).
  • Tech was credited with nine steals against Duke, right on its ACC-leading average of 9.0 per game overall, 9.1 in conference games.
  • One of the bottom teams in the ACC in rebound margin, Georgia Tech has outrebounded its last four foes – Miami (35-26), Virginia Tech (31-23), Syracuse (41-36), Duke (39-36).
  • Moses Wright posted a double-double for the fourth straight game (29 points, 14 rebounds) and for the seventh time this season. Six of his double-doubles have come in ACC games, all of them in Tech’s last 11 games (Duke, Louisville, Miami, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Duke).
  • Jordan Usher has scored 33 points in his last two games (19 vs. Syracuse, 14 vs. Duke), after tallying 16 total in his previous three games. The 6-7 senior hit 13-of-22 shots from the floor with 11 rebounds, nine assists and four steals combined in the two games.
  • Jose Alvarado was credited with three steals against Duke, giving him 214 for his career, fourth place on Tech’s all-time list. He is bidding to become the first Tech player to lead the ACC in steals twice and the first ACC player to do so since Chris Paul in 2004 and 2005. Alvarado’s conference leading rate is 2.82 in all games, 3.06 in ACC games. His overall rate is the most by an ACC player since Johnny Rhodes of Maryland set the ACC record in 1996 (3.7), and his rate in ACC games is the most since Clemson’s Vernon Hamilton set the conference record of 4.1 in 2006.
  • Michael Devoe scored 15 points with seven rebounds and four assists against Duke, the eighth time this season he has had a game of five or more rebounds. Though he did not shoot the ball well from the floor (3-of-10), he went 8-for-10 at the foul line, and added two steals and a blocked shot with just one turnover.
  • Starting his fifth straight game, Khalid Moore gave the Yellow Jackets seven points and six rebounds with an assist and a stea against Dukel. He has averaged 6.2 points )10-4 FG, 6-9 FT) and 4.2 rebounds over the five-game stretch, all Tech wins.

Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the A-T Fund’s Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes, and the Support The Swarm Fund, created to give fans an opportunity to help Georgia Tech athletics maintain its recent momentum through the financial challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic! 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 fifth season under head coach Josh Pastner, having finished fifth in the ACC in 2019-20, the program’s highest finish since 2005. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 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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