Nov. 9, 2003
ATLANTA – Coming off a 100-point offensive show last Thursday in its first exhibition, Georgia Tech hosts the Southeastern All-Stars at 7 p.m. Monday night at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center in its final exhibition game.
Tickets for the game are $4 each and will be on sale at the Coliseum. Radio coverage of the game is on WREK-FM (91.1). The Yellow Jackets open their regular season Nov. 18 at home against Louisiana-Lafayette in the Pre-Season NIT.
In its 100-89 win over Team Nike Thursday night, Tech received excellent offensive performances from juniors B.J. Elder and Isma’il Muhammad, who scored 21 points each. The performance by Elder, who averaged 15 points a game last season, was expected. But Muhammad exploded in the second half with several crowd-pleasing dunks and drives to the basket, finishing the game 7-for-11 from the floor and 7-for-9 from the foul line.
“Maybe some of the nuances of the game are coming to him a little late,” said Hewitt of Muhammad, who has averaged less than eight points a game for his career. “He always closed the season well. When he’s patient and lets the offense move and the ball come to him, he’s tough to cover. He can go off the dribble, he can post up well, and he’s active on the glass.”
Tech shot 55.7 percent from the floor as a team, exceeding 50 percent in each half, to overcome 24 turnovers. Senior guard Marvin Lewis scored 19 points for the Jackets, while junior center Luke Schenscher scored 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds.
“We learned that if we defend and if we rebound, we can be pretty good in transition,” said head coach Paul Hewitt, whose team won the boards against Nike, 41-29. “We can get out and get easy shots, partly because we have some outstanding outside shooters in Marvin [Lewis] and B.J.”
Hewitt used a starting lineup of Lewis and Elder, both 6-4 guards, on the wings, 6-3 sophomore Jarrett Jack (8 points, 7 assists) at the point, the 7-1 Schenscher at center and 6-7 junior Anthony McHenry (five points, four assists, two blocks, three steals) at power forward.
Robert Brooks, a 6-8 senior postman, came off the bench to score five points with two rebounds, while 6-5 senior Clarence Moore scored eight points with five rebounds and three steals. The two players combined to his six of 11 shots from the floor.
Tech took advantage of 25 Nike turnovers to score 40 points, and scored 56 of its points in the paint.
Schenscher, who grew to 255 pounds last year, exhibited his improved agility and athletic ability, hitting six of 10 field goal attempts and blocking three shots. The native of Australia, who averaged 16.7 points in the World University Games in August, played 27 minutes in the game after averaging just under 12 per game last year.
Brooks, Moore and McHenry are being asked to fill the void on the frontline created by the absence of sophomore Theodis Tarver, who is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
“We are truly a work in progress,” said Hewitt. “We’ve got a couple of key pieces missing (Tarver and transfer guard Will Bynum, who becomes eligible in December). That is not to say we can’t be good until those pieces come back. I like what I see in terms of the intensity level, and we worked on some things defensively. I thought we did some good things in our half-court defense.
“When Will becomes eligible and, knock on wood, we get Theodis back, I like the way this team is shaping up. We have a chance to be a good basketball team.”
The Southeastern All-Stars feature several former collegiate players who will be familiar to college basketball followers, including former Georgia State star Shernard Long, a 6-5 guard, and former Georgia players Adrian Jones, a 6-6 forward. Monday is the first of six exhibition games the All-Stars will play against Division I teams.
Tech’s exhibition games and its Preseason NIT games are being played under experimental rules, in which the three-point line will be at 20 feet, 6 inches, and the foul lane is trapezoidal. Both elements are part of international basketball rules, and the new three-point distance has been approved for all games starting in 2004-05.