Dec. 17, 2007
ATLANTA – For the first time since its season opener on Nov. 9, Georgia Tech will play a home game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum Tuesday, Dec. 18, when it hosts No. 3 Kansas in a nationally televised game (ESPN). The Yellow Jackets have been off since Dec. 5, when they defeated Georgia State, 72-67, snapping a two-game losing streak.
Radio coverage of the game is provided on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, and can be heard in Atlanta on WQXI-AM (790), WREK-FM (91.1) and WTSH-FM (107.1). The game is sold out save for a limited number of “single” tickets which will go on sale at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday night at the gates of the Coliseum. These tickets may be purchased with cash only.
Tuesday night also marks the final collection for the annual Michael Isenhour Toy Drive, a project of Tech’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board which honors the late Yellow Jackets basketball player who died of leukemia in 2001. Student-athletes and Marines will be on hand at each gate to collect new, unwrapped toys or cash donations, which all go to Toys for Tots.
> Tech is 4-4 for the season, having lost at Indiana (83-79 on Nov. 27) and Vanderbilt (92-79) before the win at Georgia State. The 38-day gap between home games is the longest such stretch for the Jackets since the 1986-87 season. Tech does not leave the city of Atlanta to play again until Jan. 9 when it visits Georgia in Athens.
> Kansas remains undefeated at 10-0 following the Jayhawks’ 88-51 win over Ohio on Saturday. Head coach Bill Self’s team has left Lawrence for only two games this season, a 59-55 victory over Southern California on Dec. 2 and Saturday’s game in St. Louis.
> At No. 3 in the nation, Kansas is the first top-10 non-ACC team to visit Alexander Memorial Coliseum since Jan. 15, 1989, when No. 9 Louisville defeated the Yellow Jackets at the Thrillerdome, 67-65. The Jayhawks are the highest-ranked non-conference opponent to visit Tech since Jan. 26, 1976, when as a member of the Metro Conference, the Yellow Jackets hosted and lost to No. 3 Marquette, 55-44.
Series vs. Kansas
After two postponements, the teams are meeting in the return engagement for the last meeting on Jan. 1, 2005 which was played in Lawrence. Tech’s only previous homecourt meeting with Kansas occurred during the senior year of all-time leading scorer, Rich Yunkus. He scored 24 points, but the Jackets lost by 13.
> The last two meetings were both decided in overtime, including the 70-68 Jayhawk victory on New Year’s Day at Allen Fieldhouse. The Yellow Jackets led by as many as 16 points in the first half, but watched the lead slowly dwindle after senior guard B.J. Elder went down with a hamstring injury. Jarrett Jack kept the Jackets afloat with 26 points.
> Tech’s only win in the series came in the 2004 NCAA St. Louis Regional final, a 79-71 overtime win that punched the Yellow Jackets’ ticket to their second Final Four, where they defeated Oklahoma State in the national semifinals and played Connecticut for the national championship in San Antonio.
Quick Look at Tech
Head coach Paul Hewitt has used three different starting point guards this season, beginning with freshman Moe Miller in the first two games, then senior Matt Causey for one game and D’Andre Bell for four after Miller was injured in a practice just before the Paradise Jam. Causey returned to the starting lineup for Tech’s last game, Dec. 5, at Georgia State.
The rest of the starting lineup remained the same for Tech’s first seven of the season — senior Anthony Morrow and junior Lewis Clinch on the wings, senior Jeremis Smith at strong forward, and junior Alade Aminu at center. Freshman Gani Lawal replaced Aminu in the lineup for the Georgia State game.
Causey, a 6-0 senior from Gainesville, Ga., played 31 minutes against the Panthers, scoring five points with six assists and no turnovers. He ranks sixth in the ACC in assist average (4.25) and fifth in assist-turnover ratio (2.62-1) while averaging 5.1 points for the season
Lawal had his best game of the season at Indiana with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting, and the the 6-8 rookie from Riverdale, Ga., has averaged 6.9 points and 3.0 rebounds this year while hitting 60.5 percent of his shots from the floor.
Clinch, a 6-3 guard from Cordele, Ga., has reached double-digits in scoring in seven straight games, including an average of 18.3 in his last three and a season-high 22 to help Tech win at GSU. He is Tech’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game, and has hit 43.9 percent of his three-point attempts.
Morrow, a 6-5 guard from Charlotte, N.C., who is the Yellow Jackets’ top returning scorer from 2006-07, currently ranks sixth in the ACC with 16.4 points a game. One of Tech’s best all-time three-point shooters with 197 for his career, Morrow has hit 44.4 percent of his three-point attempts this season, and is seventh in the ACC in three-pointers per game (2.5).
Smith, the team captain and a 6-8 forward from Fort Worth, Texas, made the all-tournament team at the Paradise Jam. Tech’s fifth-leading scorer at 10.0 points per game and its leading rebounder at 7.1 per game, Smith has four double-figure rebound games this season, including a pair of double-doubles.
Backcourt reserves — Moe Miller, a 6-1 native of Memphis, Tenn., averaged 9.0 points and 3.5 assists in Tech’s first two games before a back injury sidelined him for the Paradise Jam. He has returned but played limited minutes in the last three games. Bell, a 6-5 native of Los Angeles, averages 4.9 points for the season with 18 assists and eight steals and has hit 59.1 percent of his shots from the floor. Six-foot-4 freshman Lance Storrs of Decatur, Ga., has excellent long-range shooting ability but has played limited minutes thus far.
Frontcourt reserves — Hewitt can go to 6-10 junior Alade Aminu of Stone Mountain, Ga., 6-8 sophomore Zack Peacock of Miami, Fla., 6-11 red-shirt freshman Brad Sheehan of Latham, N.Y., and 6-10 sophomore Mouhammad Faye of Dakar, Senegal. Aminu is Tech’s fourth-leading scorer (10.1 ppg) and third-leading rebounder (5.1 rpg), and Peacock has scored 17 points (12-of-18 from the field combined) in each of his last two games. Sheehan has seen limited action, but played 21 minutes in a reserve role at Vanderbilt, and Faye has played mostly in situations where Tech needs his length on defense.
Injured Players Return
Sophomore center Zack Peacock returned Nov. 27 at Indiana after missing the first five games with a stress reaction in his right foot. The 6-8 Miami played eight minutes at Indiana, scoring just two points, but scored 17 points in 19 minutes at Vanderbilt, and 17 more in 27 minutes at Georgia State. He is 12-for-18 combined from the floor in the last two games.
> Moe Miller, Tech’s freshman point guard who started the first two games of the season, also played at Indiana after missing all three games in the Paradise Jam with a back injury. Miller, a 6-1 native of Memphis, Tenn., took a spill into the base of a goal standard in practice the day before the first round of the tournament, sustaining a bone bruise in his lower back. He has played limited minutes in the last three games, scoring in only one.
Last Time Out — Georgia Tech 72, Georgia State 67
Georgia Tech evened its record at 4-4, rallying from an eight-point, second-half deficit to defeat cross-town rival Georgia State on Dec. 5, the teams’ first meeting at GSU’s downtown arena since 1973. Lewis Clinch, with a game-high 22 points, and Zack Peacock, with 17, led the comeback and salted the game away at the free throw line, combining to make 10-of-11 shots from the stripe.
Tech shot 52 percent from the floor in the second half, 49 percent for the game, and outrebounded the Panthers, 30-27.
Tech Carries on Offensively
Head coach Paul Hewitt has said repeatedly this season that his Yellow Jackets can score, but the team’s success will depend on defense and rebounding the basketball.
> Tech is averaging 78.5 points per game (5th in the ACC), is hitting 47.6 percent of its shots from the floor (3rd in the ACC) and 38.7 percent of its three-point attempts (5th in the ACC). Last season, the Jackets’ season scoring average of 78.6 points per game (3rd in the ACC) and its field goal percentage of 49.0 percent (also No. 3) were the best figures the Jackets have achieved in seven seasons under head coach Paul Hewitt.
> Tech has shot 45.9 percent or higher from the floor in six of eight games.
> Tech ranks fourth in the ACC in assist-turnover ratio (1.06-to-1) and assist average (16.50 per game). The Jackets have assisted on 58.1 percent of their made field goals.
> Five Yellow Jackets are averaging in double figures, led by Anthony Morrow (16.4 ppg). In the Paradise Jam, four Tech players averaged between 12.0 and 13.7 ppg over three games, and the Jackets have had at least four players in double digits in each victory.
> Without Zack Peacock, Tech has not been as dominant on the boards as it was last year, but the Yellow Jackets still hold a rebounding edge of 1.5 per game this year.
> Defensively, Tech ranks at or near the bottom of the league in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense, three-point percentage defense and blocked shots.
Quick Personnel Notes
> Tech’s win over Georgia State left head coach Paul Hewitt (197-126 career record) three wins shy of 200 for his career, and left Tech seven wins shy of 1,200 all-time.
> Anthony Morrow, who has 20 three-point field goals in eight games, has moved into 7th place on Tech’s all-time list for three-point field goals with 197. A comparable year to his last two, when he averaged 70 three-pointers, would vault him into fourth place, ahead of B.J. Elder, Marvin Lewis and Matt Harpring.
> With his first basket against Charlotte in the Paradise Jam, Morrow became the 37th Tech player to score 1,000 career points. He now stands 36th all-time with 1,075 points and needs six to move into 34th place.
> Morrow has made at least one three-point basket in 17 straight games dating back to last season. But his streak of 11 straight game scoring in double figures was snapped at Georgia State (7 points).
> Morrow has played the most minutes (241) for Tech this season, and committed the fewest turnovers (7).
> Morrow is hitting 90.5 percent of his free throws (19-of-21), which would rank second in the ACC if he had enough free throws made to qualify.
> Jeremis Smith has four double-figure rebound games this season, twice as many as he had all of last year when he led the team with 5.9 boards per game. He currently paces Tech with 7.1 rebounds per game, and ranks 11th in the ACC.
> Smith has 16 double-figure rebound games in his career, and has led the team in rebounds 37 times.
> Smith, a strong forward, has 25 assists, second on the team behind Matt Causey, and the team’s best assist-turnover ratio (just nine turnovers). Smith and Causey rank 3rd and 5th, respectively, in the ACC in assist-turnover ratio.
> Smith surpassed 500 rebounds for his career against Charlotte, and now has 538.
> After hitting just 3-of-14 shots in his first three games, Matt Causey has gone 12-for-22 (7-for-13 on threes) in his last five games.
> Since scoring just five points in the season opener, Alade Aminu put together four straight double-figure games (16.3 ppg) before Indiana. He has scored a total of 11 points, however, in his last three games.
> D’Andre Bell went 7-for-9 from the floor in the Virgin Islands, and has shot 59.1 percent for the season.
> Lewis Clinch has hit double figures in seven straight games (15.0 ppg) while hitting 17-of-36 three-point attempts.
> Gani Lawal scored a season-high 17 points at Indiana after getting just 14 in the previous four games. He is shooting 60.5 percent from the floor, second on the team.
> Zack Peacock has scored 17 points and hit 6-of-9 shots from the floor in each of Tech’s last two games. He missed the first five games of the season with a foot injury.
Tech Stock Tips
> Tech has made just 31.3 percent of its three-point tries in the last three games, after making 42.7 percent in its five five games.
> Tech has shot 52.1 percent from the floor, 42.2 percent from three-point range, in its four wins, while holding its foes to 42.0 percent from the floor overall and 35.5 percent from bonus range. It’s just the opposite in the four losses, 43.8 percent from the floor overall (35.6 percent from three) to 50.7 percent for the opponents (41.2 percent from three).
> Scoring averages are mirror opposites in the wins and losses as well (80.8 to 74.5 in the victories, 76.2 to 84.2 in the defeats).
> Tech’s bench players have logged 33.3 percent of available minutes, compared to 28.5 percent for its opponents. Tech’s reserves have shot 47.4 percent from the floor and averaged 21.8 points a game.
> Tech’s opponents have made nearly as many free throws (159) as Tech has attempted (174) this season. The Yellow Jackets have been on the short end of the free throw parade in all but two games (Tennessee State, Georgia State).
> In its Final Four season of 2004 and the 2004-05 season that followed, Georgia Tech was 24-16 away from Alexander Memorial Coliseum and 11-11 on opponents’ home floors. In the two-plus seasons since, Tech is 9-26 away from home and 3-20 on opponents’ home floors. Tech is 2-2 on opponents’ home floors this season.
> Tech’s seniors and juniors have made 36 of a possible 40 starts this season. Seniors Morrow, Smith and Causey have started 18 between them, while juniors Aminu, Bell and Clinch have 18 starts combined.
> Tech head coach Paul Hewitt stands 19th for career victories by an ACC coach with 131.
> Tech is 77-25 in the last four-plus seasons when it has held its opponent under 80 points. Giving up 80 points in a game has resulted in a loss for Tech almost every time in that stretch — Tech is 5-29 in such games. The Jackets are 11-48 in the Paul Hewitt era when they give up 80 points.
> When Tech has allowed less than 70 points, it is 98-16. Tech was 24-0 during its Final Four season in 2003-04 when holding opponents under 70, and 14-1 in 2006-07.
> Tech is 49-9 under Paul Hewitt in games that it has shot 50 percent or better.
> Under Hewitt, Tech is 118-27 when outshooting its foe from the floor and 11-71 when it does not.