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Tech Hosts Illinois in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Dec. 2, 2013

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THE FLATS – Looking to avenge a 2012 loss and stem a two-game losing streak, Georgia Tech (5-3) returns home to host undefeated Illinois (7-0) at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at McCamish Pavilion.

The 15th annual inter-conference series includes six games Monday night and six Tuesday night. The ACC holds a 10-3-1 lead in the event, which produced a 6-6 tie last year.

Tech’s game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and is available online through the WatchESPN application. Radio coverage of the game will be provided by the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network and can be heard in Atlanta on WYAY-FM (106.7), as well as nationally on channel 85 on Sirius and XM satellite radio.

The Yellow Jackets have lost two straight entering this homestand, having dropped a 77-67 contest to Mississippi and a 69-58 decision to St. John’s last weekend in the Barclays Center Classic.

In its third season under head coach Brian Gregory, Tech has returned four starters – center Daniel Miller, big forward Robert Carter, Jr., and wings Marcus Georges-Hunt and Chris Bolden – from a team that posted a 16-15 overall record last season and went 6-12 to tie for ninth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Jackets are averaging 73.4 points per game and hitting 44.4 percent of their shots from the floor so far. Tech also has out-rebounded each opponent by an average of 7.8 per game, has a plus-1.1 assist.turnover ratio and has improved vastly at the free throw line (71.1 pct.) over last year.

Illinois has squeaked out a couple of two-point wins in its last two games, a 61-59 win at UNLV in its only road game to date, and a 57-55 win Friday over IPFW. The Illini had won their first five games by an average of more than 20 points.

Following this weekend’s action, Tech hosts East Tennessee State at 2 p.m. Saturday before taking a break for fall semester final exams.

Fast Break Points

• Tech and Illinois are meeting for the second straight year in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Tech led 58-54 at the under-8 media timeout before the Illini scored 10 straight points and finished the game with a 21-4 run.

• Tech is 4-1 at home this season, with the only loss coming to Dayton on Nov. 20. The Illini are 1-0 on the road, a 61-59 win at UNLV.

• Tech is trying to snap a five-game losing streak in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Yellow jackets’ last win came in 2006 by a 77-73 margin over Penn State.

• Tech is 3-3 at home in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Tuesday night marks the first Challenge game played in McCamish Pavilion.

Series vs. Illinois

Georgia Tech and Illinois have met eight times previously in men’s basketball, and Tuesday’s meeting in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge will be only the third time the two teams have met on one or the other’s campus arena. Year-by-year results on page 2.

• Illinois holds a 7-1 lead in the all-time series which dates back to December of 1966, and five of the eight meetings have been played on neutral courts. The teams have played in the Bruin Classic in Pauley Pavilion (1966), the Chicago Classic (1967), the NCAA East Regional in Providence, R.I. (1985), the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu (1988) and Las Vegas, Nev. (2001).

• Tuesday night will be the second time the teams have played in Atlanta, but the first time they have played on the Tech campus. The teams played at the Omni downtown, a regular-season meeting on March 1, 1986, in which the unranked Illini edged the 4th-ranked Yellow Jackets, 59-57.

• The only Tech victory in the series occurred in the 1985 NCAA East Regional, a Sweet Sixteen game won by the 6th-ranked Yellow Jackets over the 17th-ranked Illini, 61-53.

• The teams have played twice in Champaign, Ill., including last year’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge meeting in which the Illini rallied for a 75-62 victory. Illinois escaped with a 102-92 win in double-overtime against the 20th-ranked Yellow Jackets at Assembly Hall on Jan. 22, 1989.

Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Georgia Tech holds a 4-9 mark in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and has lost its last five straight games in the crossover series after dropping a 75-62 decision to Illinois last season in Champaign.

• Illinois becomes the fourth “repeat” opponent for Georgia Tech in the Challenge. The Yellow Jackets have played Michigan, Penn State and Northwestern twice each. This is the second time Tech has faced the same opponent in back-to-back meetings. The Jackets played, and lost to, Northwestern in 2010 and 2011.

• Tech has played six “home” games in the series, including the very first in 1999, an 80-77 loss to Michigan at Philips Arena. Four of the games were played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, where Tech defeated Wisconsin (2001) and Michigan (2004) and went 1-1 against Penn State (2006, 2008).

• The Yellow Jackets have a 1-5 mark in Big Ten/ACC Challenge games on the road. The Yellow Jackets’ only road win in the series occurred in 2003, a 73-53 win at Ohio State the year in which Tech reached the NCAA Championship game. Tech also has visited Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan State, Indiana and Northwestern.

• Nebraska and Purdue are the only Big Ten teams the Yellow Jackets have left to face in the annual series.

About Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball

Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its third year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships, 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 (@GTMBK). For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com.

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