March 3, 2009
ATLANTA – With four senior players making thier final appearances on Georgia Tech’s home court, the Yellow Jackets conclude their 2008-09 home schedule Wednesday night, hosting Miami at 7:30 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The game will not be televised, but can be seen online at ACC Select.com.
Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, and can be heard in Atlanta on Tech flagship station WQXI-AM (790), as well as Tech student station WREK-FM (91.1) and WTSH-FM (107.1). The Tech broadcast can be heard nationally on XM Radio Channel 192.
Tech (10-17 overall, 1-13 ACC), has lost seven straight games and 12 of its last 13, the lone victory a 76-74 triumph over No. 6 Wake Forest on Jan. 31. The Yellow Jackets, who finish the regular season at Boston College Saturday, have clinched the 12th seed in next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at the Georgia Dome, and will play the No. 5 seed at 2 p.m. in the opening round on Thursday, March 12. Clemson and Boston College, both 8-6, currently are tied for fifth place, with Clemson holding the tiebreaker over the Eagles.
Miami (17-10, 6-8 ACC) has won its last two games, winning 62-55 at Virginia last Thursday and defeating Boston College at home, 69-58, on Feb. 21. The Hurricanes, 13-3 at one point this season, enter the week in ninth place in the ACC standings with Tech and NC State left to play.
Playing their final home game for Georgia Tech Wednesday night will be Alade Aminu of Stone Mountain, Ga., and Lewis Clinch of Cordele, Ga., both four-year scholarship players, as well as three-year walk-on Gary Cage of Atlanta, and transfer Bassirou Dieng of Dakar, Senegal, who enrolled in graduate school at Tech this year while completing his basketball eligibility. Manager Alex Hill of Duluth, Ga., also is working his final home game.
All five will be recognized in a ceremony prior to tipoff Wednesday night.
Three-Guard Lineup Produces Mixed Results
It allowed junior Zachery Peacock, who has played the small forward position for most of this season, to return to the strong forward position where he is most effective. Until Jan. 25, Tech started two guards along with Peacock, Aminu and sophomore Gani Lawal in the front court.
The alignment has worked well for Aminu, not as well for Miller, who was replaced in the starting five for two games by walk-on Nick Foreman. Miller returned to the starting lineup at North Carolina following his 11-point, 5-assist, 1-turnover game against Clemson.
Miller, a 6-1 sophomore averaging 5.1 points and 3.7 assists in ACC games, has struggled the entire season, suffering two concussions and missing seven games with a broken nose. Foreman, a 6-3 freshman from Bellaire, Texas, averaging 2.0 points per game, has provided energy and hustle on the defensive end, but did not score in either of his starts.
For Aminu’s part, the 6-10 senior has averaged 12.1 points and 7.8 rebounds in nine games coming off the bench, having reached double figures in seven of those games. He has shot 52.3 percent from the floor and blocked 18 shots. Aminu will return to the starting lineup for Senior Night against Miami in place of Peacock.
Quick Look at Tech
Georgia Tech has relied heavily on post players Gani Lawal (15.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg), Alade Aminu (12.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and Zachery Peacock (9.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg), who rank 1-3-5 on the team in scoring and 1-2-3 in rebounding. Lawal leads the ACC in rebounding and is second in field goal percentage, while Aminu ranks fifth in rebounding and field goal percentage.
Freshman Iman Shumpert, who has played both the point guard and wing positions this year, is Tech’s fourth-leading scorer overall (11.0 ppg) and third in conference games (11.1 ppg). Tech’s top shooting threat (35.8 pct. from three-point range) among its guards, Shumpert ranks third in the ACC and 39th nationally in assists with 5.1 per game.
Senior Lewis Clinch has struggled with his outside shot most of the season, but has gotten hot over Tech’s last three games, scoring more than 20 points in each (24.3 avg.) while making 46.6 percent of his shots from the floor and 48.6 percent from three-point range. He is Tech’s second-leading scorer for the season, averaging 13.5 points overall and in ACC games.
Sophomore Moe Miller, who averages 5.9 points and 4.3 assists per game, has started seven of the last nine games. Miller has averaged 9.0 points and 4.5 assists in Tech’s last two games.
Freshman Nick Foreman, a walk-on who has played in every game this season because of his defensive abilities, and sophomore Lance Storrs (4.6 ppg, 37.2 pct. from three-point range) are the key reserves in the backcourt. Brad Sheehan, a 7-foot sophomore averaging 2.4 points and 2.0 rebounds, is a key reserve in the post.
Series With Miami
> Miami has won four of six meetings with Georgia Tech since the Hurricanes joined the ACC, including a sweep of last season’s regular-season series. The Yellow Jackets swept the season series from the Hurricanes in UM’s first ACC season, but UM has won the last four meetings, including the last two at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
> The most recent meeting between the two schools prior to Miami’s joining the ACC occurred in December of 1997 as part of the Orange Bowl Classic doubleheader at Miami Arena, the Hurricanes’ home court until the team moved into the on-campus Convocation Center last year. The Yellow Jackets, led that year by senior forward Matt Harpring, won that game, 69-61.
> Tech played Miami twice under former head coach Whack Hyder, losing the first-ever meeting in the series by 22 points in 1953, then taking a six-point homecourt victory in 1967. That was the only pre-ACC visit by the Hurricanes to Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and the 90-84 Tech win has been the highest scoring game in the brief series.
> Tech coach Paul Hewitt is 2-4 against Miami, and Hurricanes head coach Frank Haith is 4-2 against the Yellow Jackets.
Tech Players vs. Miami
Alade Aminu – 5.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg in two games vs. Hurricanes last year … did not face UM prior to that
Lewis Clinch – 22 points in December, 2006 meeting in Coral Gables, scoreless in loss in Atlanta last year … 10.0 ppg, 32.4 pct. FG in four career games vs. Hurricanes (1 start)
Gani Lawal – 2 points in two meetings last year, 0-for-3 from the floor, 2-for-2 FT in 16 minutes of game in Atlanta
Moe Miller – 5 points (1-for-9 FG) in two meetings last year
Zachery Peacock – 5.3 ppg, 43.8 pct. FG in three career meetings (1 start) vs. Hurricanes
Brad Sheehan – has not played against Miami
Lance Storrs – scoreless in only appearance (5 minutes) vs. Miami last year
Quoting Coach Hewitt
On why Tech does not get to the free throw line more – “I would like to say we just have to be more aggressive. Maybe we don’t have some guys who are comfortable attacking the basket, but you know you just got to do what you have to do with that, going to the basket more and throwing it inside more. One area that I have had some concerns, and I have expressed it to them, is being that there are times when people will play Gani Lawal a little tough and a little physically, and I think he could have gone to the line more this year. Other than that, I think it’s more a case of us being a little more aggressive taking the ball to the hoop.
On the development of Alade Aminu – “He’s a guy that when we saw him in high school, he was a year younger than all the kids in his grade. He came in here, probably should have redshirted, which is something I could or would have done differently with him if given the chance. He has really developed into a very good player. ven coming off the bench this year, you can tell he is much more mature – coming off the bench doesn’t bother him at all. He just goes out and does exactly what you ask him to do in terms of rebounding and playing with a lot of energy. He is one of those guys whose future in basketball looks very, very bright because he is so young. He is younger than most of the seniors, and actually some of the juniors that we played this year. So, he has a bright future. Somebody would be wise to look at him.
On what you want to see from your team to finish out this season – “Trying to go into the ACC Tournament with some momentum. We’ve got Senior Day coming up, and we’ve got a game up at Boston College. We do have the luxury of having the tournament here in Atlanta, so no travel, and we should be a little bit more rested. The goal for us right now is to get momentum going into the tournament, and hopefully we can create an environment where we have the home court here.”