THE FLATS – Georgia Tech begins its final non-conference push Friday afternoon when the Yellow Jackets host Kennesaw State for a 4 p.m. matinee at McCamish Pavilion.
Tech (6-5), in its third season under head coach Josh Pastner, is 5-2 at home this season, dropping home games the week before Christmas to Gardner-Webb (79-69) and Georgia (70-59) sandwiched around a 69-65 victory at Arkansas. The Yellow Jackets wrap up their non-conference schedule next Wednesday at home against USC Upstate.
Kennesaw State (3-10), in its fourth season under head coach Al Skinner, comes to Tech for the first time since the 2014-15 season. The Owls have won two of their last three games, all at home, following a nine-game losing streak. KSU and Tech have two common opponents – the Owls lost at Georgia 84-51 and took Gardner-Webb to overtime before losing 81-77, both on the road.
Friday’s game will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra, which is available through the ESPN app. Radio coverage is provided on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, airing in Atlanta on 680 AM and 93.7 FM the Fan. The Tech broadcast is available on satellite radio (XM ch. 380, internet ch. 971).
- Home for the holidays – Tech is in the midst of seven home games in a stretch of eight games. It began Dec. 9 with a 73-40 victory over Florida A&M and carries the Yellow Jackets through the pre-conference schedule and ends with ACC games against Wake Forest (Jan. 5) and Virginia Tech (Jan. 9). Tech’s only road game in that span was at Arkansas.
- Tough slate – Eight opponents on Georgia Tech’s schedule were ranked in the top 25 of the preseason AP and coaches polls, including Tennessee and ACC foes Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Florida State and Clemson. Six ACC teams are currently in the top 25 of both polls, and one other is receiving votes.
- Freshmen emerge – Guard Michael Devoe and forward Khalid Moore have started Tech’s last two games against Arkansas and Georgia. Tech has deployed five different starting lineups this season.
- Defending well – Georgia Tech ranks third in the ACC in scoring defense (No. 22 nationally), sixth in field goal percentage defense (No. 34 nationally) and third in three-point percentage defense (15th nationally). The Jackets are also third in blocked shots and in second in steals.
- Longer bench – Tech has deployed at least eight players for significant minutes in each of its 11 games so far, sometimes nine or 10. Tech’s bench has played 32.5 percent of available minutes, 130th in the nation according to KenPom.com (national average is 30.9 pct.). Tech reserves are outscoring its opponents 24.7 to 15.5 per game).
- That’s a triple – Georgia Tech has averaged 5.6 three-point field goals, 62 total threes made by six different players. Tech averaged just 4.9 made threes last season, last in the ACC.
- Creating offense with defense – Georgia Tech has forced an average of 15.5 turnovers per game, about two per game more than last season (ranks 6th in ACC, 71st in NCAA). Tech has turned those into 16.8 points per game (24.3 percent of total points).
- 648 – Career points for Brandon Alston, the most of any current Tech player. Jose Alvarado is next with 445, followed by Shembari Phillips with 401, and Abdoulaye Gueye with 249. Georgia Tech finished last season with a trio of 1,000-point career scorers on its roster for the first time since 1989.
SERIES VS. KENNESAW STATE
- Georgia Tech leads the overall series 2-1, though the teams played an exhibition game in 2004 when the Owls were a Division II program.
- Tech scored an 80-55 victory in 2009, the first meeting between the two teams as Division I foes, and the most recent contest in 2014, 74-57. Both games were played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
- The Owls captured an 80-63 upset in 2010 at the KSU Convocation Center.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its third year under head coach Josh Pastner. 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.