Feb. 15, 2010
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech, playing its only home game in a three-week stretch, hosts North Carolina Tuesday night at 9 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Yellow Jackets are looking for their first regular-season sweep of the Tar Heels since the 1995-96 season. The game is being regionally televised on the Raycom/ACC television network and broadcast on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Radio Network.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (17-7, 5-5 ACC)
vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (14-11, 3-7 ACC)
Date: Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Tipoff: 9 p.m. Eastern time
Site: Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex.
Television: Raycom – Bob Rathbun play-by-play, Mike Gminski color (WATL-TV in Atlanta)
Radio: Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, live on flagship station WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY-FM (106.7). Wes Durham play-by-play, Randy Waters color.
Satellite Radio: XM 190, Sirius 220
On the web: Audio and live stats available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Tickets for Tech home games: available at www.Ramblinwreck.com/tickets
Series History: North Carolina leads, 60-21
Tech at Alexander Memorial Coliseum: Tech has a 544-188 record in its home arena.
National Rankings: Tech is receiving votes in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. North Carolina is not ranked.
Tech, 17-8 overall, 5-6 in the ACC, resides in eighth place in the ACC standings entering this week’s action, two games out of fourth place, currently held by the Jackets’ Saturday opponent, Maryland. The Yellow Jackets, who have beaten three top-25 teams since Jan. 1 (No. 5 Duke, No. 12 North Carolina and No. 17 Clemson), have no more ranked teams on their schedule in the regular season, but have four games against teams that are receiving votes, and three against teams ahead of them in the standings.
The Jackets have dropped two straight games, both on the road, to Miami (64-62) last Wednesday and to Wake Forest (75-64) Saturday. Tech is 12-1 at home this season, with the only loss coming to Florida State back in December, and 120-40 at the Thrillerdome in 10 seasons under Paul Hewitt.
The Tar Heels enter Tuesday night’s game with a 14-11 overall mark, 3-7 in the ACC. North Carolina, a game-and-a-half behind Tech in ninth place, has dropped seven of its last nine games, but defeated NC State at home, 74-61, in its last outing Saturday. UNC may be without three of its post players – Ed Davis, Travis Wear and Tyler Zeller – for this game due to injury.
Tech led by as many as 20 points, and by 14 at halftime, before holding off a furious Tar Heel rally to score a 73-71 win in Chapel Hill on Jan. 16. Iman Shumpert scored a career-high 30 points in that game. The Jackets and Tar Heels have split their last 14 meetings dating back to the 2001-02 season.
Tech has dropped out of both the Associated Press writers poll and the ESPN/USA Today polls this week after having appeared in at least one of them each week this season. The Jackets were No. 20 on both polls last week.
Next Up for Tech
Georgia Tech follows Tuesday night’s game with its third road trip in four games Saturday for a 2 p.m. regionally-televised game against Maryland at the Comcast Center. The Terrapins (16-7, 6-3 ACC), who lost at Duke Saturday, hosted Virginia Monday night and visit NC State Wednesday before entertaining the Yellow Jackets. Tech will have a bye in the schedule following Saturday’s game.
Series History with North Carolina
> North Carolina has a 60-21 lead in the all-time series between the two teams, and a 46-19 advantage since Tech joined the ACC. The Tar Heels have won 20 of the last 27 meetings, but Tech won the teams’ first meeting this year, 73-71, in Chapel Hill.
> Tech has won four of the last five meetings in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and is 4-2 against UNC in the Coliseum under Paul Hewitt. The teams have played 33 times in the city of Atlanta, but only 21 times at the Thrillerdome, where the Tar Heels hold an 12-9 lead.
> Counting ACC and SIC Tournament games played in the city, Tech is 12-21 vs. North Carolina in Atlanta.
> Between 1982 and 1996, the Yellow Jackets played eight of their home games with the Tar Heels at the old Omni arena in downtown Atlanta (2-6 record).
> A win for Tech Tuesday would give the Jackets a regular-season sweep of the Tar Heels for the first time since 1996. Tech won two of the three meetings between the two teams in 2003-04, the last time the Yellow Jackets won the season series, but that included an 83-82 victory in the ACC Tournament.
> Tech is 7-11 against UNC under Paul Hewitt, but 6-3 in games played away from Chapel Hill, including a pair of ACC Tournament wins. The Jackets are 5-6 against the Tar Heels under Roy Williams, and 5-7 against Williams all-time.
Last Time Out
Despite 15 points and 12 rebounds from Gani Lawal and 40 points from its bench, Georgia Tech dropped its second straight game and third in the last four in a 75-64 loss at Wake Forest Saturday night in Winston-Salem.
Tech, which fell behind 8-0 at the beginning, rallied to tie the game at 37-all at the half and actually led 62-60 with 8:51 left, but did not make a field goal the rest of the game.
Lawal posted his eleventh double-double of the year, going 4-for-8 from the floor and 7-for-10 from the foul like, but Tech’s other big men were quiet, Derrick Favors getting four points and two rebounds, and Zachery Peacock two points and four rebounds.
Moe Miller came off the bench for his most productive game of the season, scoring 12 points with four assists and just two turnovers in 27 minutes. Freshmen reserves Glen Rice, Jr. (14 points) and Brian Oliver (12 points) combined to drain eight of Tech’s 10 three-point baskets to keep the Jackets close.
Two Tech starters – guards Iman Shumpert and Mfon Udofia – went scoreless, combining to go 0-for-10 from the floor. The Yellow Jackets shot 34.5 percent from the floor, their lowest figure since hitting 32.9 percent against Florida State on Dec. 20.
Defense Remains Bedrock of Tech Success
Georgia Tech has been one of the better defensive teams in the ACC and the nation this season, a consistent reason why the Yellow Jackets have won 17 games.
> Tech is No. 2 in the ACC and No. 2 in the nation behind Florida State in field goal percentage defense (37.2 pct.) in all games this season, and are third in the ACC in league games only (39.3 pct.). Against the three, the Jackets are sixth in the conference and 46th in the nation (30.7 pct.).
> Head coach Paul Hewitt’s team also ranks in the upper half of the ACC in rebound average (3rd) and rebound margin (5th, 34th nationally), while also ranking in the top 50 nationally in blocked shots (29th) and steals (43th).
> In ACC games only, Tech is No. 2 in the conference in blocked shots, third in steals, third in rebound average and sixth in rebound margin.
> The Yellow Jackets have allowed 70 points in a game only six times in the last 20 games, and have not allowed an opponent to shoot better than 44.6 percent from the floor this year. Tech has a streak of 30 straight games without an opponent shooting 50 percent against it.
> Only eight opponents – all eight losses – have shot as high as 40 percent from the floor against the Jackets this year.
> Tech is 16-1 this season (Miami the exception) when the opponent shoots under 40 percent from the floor, 105-22 in the Paul Hewitt era.
Paul Hewitt Quotes: Feb. 15
On the Wake Forest loss:
“I thought we played really well on Saturday. It was probably the best we played in awhile, but down the stretch we just missed a couple of shots. Give Wake Forest credit, they did a great job of taking away a lot of inside baskets and they blocked a lot of shots. But, we played well. It was unfortunate that we didn’t have a win to show for it.”
On what the starting lineup will look like against North Carolina:
“We’re going to look at maybe making a change, but we’ll see. We have a couple of different possibilities in mind. We’re going to go through practice today and go from there.”
On approaching the North Carolina game as a coach despite the fact that the Tar Heels have posted a subpar season to date:
“Obviously, their record isn’t what people expect, but we know that they’re a very talented team and a young team. They’re going to be a little different because they’re playing a little smaller. They don’t have the bigger guys that they normally have around the basket, but they’re smaller, quicker and more skilled. They’re a talented team; their record is just not what everyone expects.”
On if fatigue affected Tech in the Wake Forest loss:
“I was going back and forth in my mind on whether or not we should’ve practiced last Thursday, and I decided not to practice with how we ended the game against Miami. My staff told me, you can’t think like that. You’re playing other teams where they’re playing guys 37 minutes a game and in crunch time. Again, if we make one or two of those threes when we had guys open, then it’s a different conversation. You don’t want to over-think it too much.
“When I went back and watched the tape, I thought we played a good basketball game. I thought we played a really good game against a very good team, at (their) home, in front of a packed house. They jumped out on us and we were right there, up two with 7:58 and had two possessions to make it a two-score game and we just didn’t do it. They came down and made some free throws to tie it at 62-all and from there we just couldn’t get anything to go down. That’s what the game came down to.”
On if this game is a “make or break” game for Tech:
“I wouldn’t say it’s a make or break, but it’s very important because it’s a home game. I think if you look at all the projections, we’re pretty safe and if we continue to play good basketball, I think we’ll get into the [NCAA] Tournament. We hope to do more than just get. We hope to try to restart our momentum. That’s why this game is very important. We have to come out with the proper level of energy to try to establish momentum as we go through the rest of the season. It starts tomorrow night.”
On if playing North Carolina will get the team even more motivated to play:
“Typically yes, but we’ve lost two tough games in a row. Road games are road games, but still, it’s two losses. So, all of us have to step up and play, regardless of who were playing. That’s the most important thing; us trying to get back on the winning track.”