Dec. 21, 2011
ATLANTA – Looking to finish its pre-Christmas schedule on a strong note, Georgia Tech hosts in-state rival Mercer at 7 p.m. Thursday night, finishing off the five-game portion of its 2011-12 home schedule at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. When the Yellow Jackets return to Atlanta for the New Year, they will play their remaining nine home games at Philips Arena.
Tickets are $10 at the door for general admission seating. There is no television coverage Thursday night, but the Tech radio broadcast can be heard in Atlanta on flagship station 790 the Zone (790 AM) and True Oldies 106.7 FM, as well as nationally on XM satellite radio channel 190.
Tech (7-4), in its first year under head coach Brian Gregory, has won its last three games, picking up road wins at Georgia (68-56) on Dec. 7 and Savannah State (65-45) on Dec. 10 before exam break, then getting past Alabama A&M (65-54) Monday night.
Mercer, 7-5 overall, 1-1 in the Atlantic Sun Conference, is playing its sixth road game in the last seven, having lost, 72-58, at Georgia Tuesday night and 80-77 in overtime at Seton Hall Sunday. The Bears, in their fourth season under head coach Bob Hoffman, play at home only four times in their first 14 games this season.
Following Thursday’s game, Tech breaks for Christmas before preparing for a Dec. 29 game at Fordham.
Tech continues to play solid defense early in the season. The Yellow Jackets rank second in the ACC and 11th in the nation in field goal percentage defense (36.0 pct.) and are third (26th nationally) in scoring defense (57.1 ppg). Tech has held nine of its 11 opponents under 40 percent from the field, and only three teams have score 60 points or more against the Yellow Jackets.
Offensively, Tech is averaging 65.5 points a game, 10th in the ACC, and hitting 46.1 percent of its field goal tries (5th). The Yellow Jackets have shot 50 percent or better from the floor six times, including two of the last three games.
Two Yellow Jackets are averaging double figures in scoring, led by 6-5 junior Glen Rice, Jr., of Marietta, Ga., who is scoring 14.1 points per game and and grabbing 7.0 rebounds per game, second on the team. Mfon Udofia, a 6-2 junior from Stone Mountain, Ga., averages 11.4 points per game.
Tech and Mercer
Georgia Tech and Mercer are squaring off for the 45th time in a series that dates back to 1909. Tech leads the overall series, 28-16, and has won the last nine straight meetings, 13 of the last 14 and 20 of the last 22 dating back to 1933.
Tech won last year’s meeting, 87-78, in Atlanta, and has 68 of the points it scored back for this game – Rice 24, Morris 13, Holsey 13, Miller 9, Udofia 7, Hicks 2.
The teams have met seven times since Tech joined the ACC, four times under Bobby Cremins and three times under Paul Hewitt.
This is the beginning of a new three-game contract. The teams have met each of the last three seasons, once in Macon and twice at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Tech won all three by an average margin of 8.7 points, and one of the games went to overtime.
Tech is 17-7 in games played in Atlanta, including a 7-1 mark at AMC. One meeting took place at the Omni, a 65-58 Tech win over the Bears in the first round of the 1985 NCAA East Regional.
Tech has won both games it has played against in-state teams this season (Georgia, Savannah State), and is 154-107 all-time against current Division I teams from Georgia.