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Tech Hosts Wisconsin in ACC-Big Ten Challenge

Nov. 27, 2001

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech returns home following a tough trip to Las Vegas to host Wisconsin in the third ACC-Big Ten Challenge, 7 p.m. Wednesday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center.

The game will be nationally televised on ESPN, with radio coverage in Atlanta on Tech flagship station WQXI-AM (790), as well as WMAX-FM (98.1), WSNY-FM (100.1), WLKQ-FM (102.3)

The Yellow Jackets (2-3) lost two of three games in its venture to the Las Vegas Invitational, defeating Eastern Illinois, 70-65, before falling to No. 2 Illinois, 105-66, and Saint Louis, 67-54.

The Badgers (1-3) had their own problems last week in the Big Island Classic, a tournament Tech played in three years ago, losing to Weber State and Hawaii with a victory over Hawaii-Hilo.

“It’s still very early in the season,” said head coach Paul Hewitt. “I’m a little disappointed right now. Two-and-three is not indicative of the type of team we are. But, reality is, we played some teams that were well coached and did a good job.”

“We need every game to get well. Early in the year, you never know what’s going to happen. You never know what a win this time of year is going to become in February and March. You need to get them all as early as you can.”

The backcourt tandem of Tony Akins (5-11, Lilburn, Ga.) and Marvin Lewis (6-4, Germantown, Md.) leads the Yellow Jackets, each averaging 15.0 points per game. Akins, the senior point guard who made the Las Vegas all-tournament team, also averages 3.1 assists and is shooting 36.6 percent from three-point range. Lewis, a sophomore, has hit 59.1 percent of his three-point attempts and is shooting 44.2 percent overall.

“I think Tony may be trying to do too much,” said Hewitt. “But he has positive intentions. He’s got to depend on his teammates just a little bit more.”

Hewitt has used the same starting five in each of Tech’s five games thus far, rounding out the unit with 6-5 sophomore Clarence Moore (Norco, La.), averaging 8.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, and 6-7 freshman Ed Nelson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 5.6 points and a team-high 8.8 rebounds, at the forwards and 7-0 freshman Luke Schenscher (Hope Forest, South Australia), 4.0 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, at center.

Freshman B.J. Elder (Madison, Ga.), a 6-3 freshman, is Tech’s top scorer off the bench at 8.8 points per game.

Tech struggled offensively in Las Vegas, averaging just 63.3 points per game and hitting just 37.4 percent of its field goal attempts, and in particular has had difficulty getting consistent scoring from its frontcourt. The Jackets shot 33.9 percent and hit just 5 of 17 three-point attempts in the final game against Saint Louis.

“We’re just not sustaining anything offensively or defensively,” said Hewitt. “The problem I have is the type of shots we’re taking. We need more ball movement.

“[Confidence] is my biggest concern coming out of the tournament. I thought they responded a little bit in the second half of practice [Monday]. The guys started to fight through some things that have been costing us.”

Tech in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge

The Wisconsin game represents Georgia Tech’s first home game in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The Yellow Jackets lost both previous games, 80-77 to Michigan at Philips Arena in the 1999-2000 season and 85-67 at Iowa last season.

Senior guard Tony Akins is the only active Tech player to have played in both those games, scoring 19 points two years ago against Michigan and 15 against Iowa last year.

Tech vs. Wisconsin

Georgia Tech and Wisconsin are meeting for just the second time. The first meeting occurred Dec. 28, 1963 in the finals of the Milwaukee Classic, which the Badgers won 104-84. Tech had defeated Marquette, 84-83, in the first round.

Tech has already met a Big Ten team this season, losing to Illinois last Thursday, and is is 9-27 all-time vs. the current Big Ten, including Penn State. Northwestern is the only Big Ten team the Jackets have never played.

Tech in the Thrillerdome

Georgia Tech is playing its 46th season at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center in 2001-02. The Jackets have a record of 447-152 (.747) in the facility, which opened Nov. 30, 1956 with a 71-61 Tech loss to Duke.

Since the beginning of the 1981-82 season, Tech is 209-51 (.805) in its on-campus home, including an 11-3 mark last season.

Georgia Tech is 118-6 against non-conference opposition at Alexander Memorial Coliseum since the beginning of the 1981-82 season. The only non-conference teams to win at the Thrillerdome during that period are Penn (Nov. 19, 2001), Georgia (Dec. 6, 2000), Penn State (March 18, 1998), the College of Charleston (Jan. 16, 1993), Louisville (Jan. 15, 1989), and Richmond (Dec. 22, 1987).

Akins Makes All-Tournament

Tony Akins was named to the all-tournament team of the Las Vegas Invitational after averaging 16.3 points in the three games. His top effort was 19 points against No. 2 Illinois, hitting 8-of-15 field goals overall and 3-of-8 from three-point range.

Tech Holding Its Own On The Boards

Rebounding and size were pre-season concerns for head coach Paul Hewitt, but the Yellow Jackets have gotten off to a good start on the boards. Tech has outrebounded its five opponents by an average of almost 10 (46.2 to 36.6). More impressive is the fact that Tech has averaged 19.2 offensive rebounds in five games.

Even with 6-11 Alvin Jones leading the ACC in rebounding a year ago, Tech struggled as a team, being outrebounded 40-to-37.5 for the season.

Focus Shifts to Perimeter

After four years of Alvin Jones drawing the attention of opposing defenses, Georgia Tech has spread its offensive strength to the perimeter.

Tech’s starting backcourt tandem of Marvin Lewis and Tony Akins rank No. 1 and 2 at 15.0 points a game each, with small forward Clarence Moore averaging 8.4 points and reserve guard B.J. Elder at 8.8. Reserve swingman Halston Lane is next at 6.6 points per game.

Power forward Ed Nelson is sixth at 5.8 points.

Akins At The Point

Tony Akins has been Georgia Tech’s most consistent offensive player through five games, scoring in double digits each time out and leading the Jackets in scoring along with Marvin Lewis at 15.0 points per game.

The 5-11 senior has scored in double figures and hit a three-pointer in 17 straight games since going scoreless against Clemson on Jan. 24 last season.

Akins went over the 1,000-point plateau for his career at Wake Forest last Feb. 14, the 32nd Tech player to do so all-time. He now has 1,193 career points, jumping from 27th to 23rd place in Tech history last week at Las Vegas. He needs 61 points to move past Drew Barry (1,253 points, 1993-96) for 22nd place.

Akins also ranks ninth in career assists (392) and 12th in steals (120).

Lewis Becomes Leader for Jackets

As a freshman, Marvin Lewis grabbed a starting role and made the most of it, showing poise and maturity to the point where he is now considered one of the team’s leaders as a sophomore.

Lewis is leading the Jackets in scoring as well (tied with Tony Akins), averaging 15.0 points per game including a season-high 21 points against Eastern Illinois. The 6-4 sophomore is 13-for-22 from three-point range and 16-of-18 from the foul line.

As a 6-3 small forward for the Jackets last year, Lewis averaged 8.7 points and 4.5 rebounds, ranking third among ACC freshmen in both categories, and made the ACC all-Freshman team and the Academic all-ACC team.

Akins For Three

Tony Akins is making his mark as one of the top three-point shooters in Georgia Tech history. Only Dennis Scott (351-for-831), Travis Best (258-for-656) rank ahead of Akins on Tech’s career lists for three-point field goals made and attempted.

Akins is 218-for-610 in his career (35.7 percent). Scott, who set his records in three seasons, shot 42.2 percent from three-point range. Akins, who has hit a three-pointer in 17 straight games, has moved past Matt Harpring (211-for-585) for third place on the Tech list.

Isenhour Returns Home

Senior Michael Isenhour, who was expected to play a significant role for the young Yellow Jackets’ squad this season, was diagnosed with acute lymphomic leukemia in late October.

The 6-8 center from Lawrenceville, Ga., was admitted to Emory University Hospital on Oct. 24 and underwent aggressive chemotherapy treatments for a week. He was released from the hospital last Wednesday, and will continue chemotherapy treatments on an outpatient basis over the next five to six months. A dean’s list student in mechanical engineering, Isenhour is graduating this semester and is expected to participate in commencement on Dec. 15.

Isenhour has played in 39 games in two seasons since transferring from the Air Force Academy, including 27 games and an average of 10 minutes off the bench last season.

GAME FACTS

Georgia Tech (2-3) vs. Wisconsin (1-3) November 28, 2001 o 7 p.m. ACC-Big 10 Challenge o Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center

TV: ESPN, Brad Nessler, pbp, Brad Daugherty, color Radio: WQXI-AM (790), WMAX-FM (98.1), WSNY-FM (100.1), WLKQ-FM (102.3) Wes Durham, pbp, Randy Waters, color, also on Ramblinwreck.com Tech Record: 2-3, 0-0 ACC (H: 1-1, A: 0-0, N: 1-2) Series Record vs. Wisconsin: Wisconsin leads 1-0 Last meeting: Dec. 28, 1963, Wisconsin d. Tech, 104-84 (Milwaukee Classic) Hewitt Record: 85-43 (.664), 5th season Hewitt at Tech: 19-16 (.542), 2nd season Last game: Nov. 24, Saint Louis d. Tech, 67-54, in Las Vegas Next game: Dec. 2, at North Carolina, 6 p.m. More info: Ramblinwreck.com

Probable Starters F 5 Clarence Moore 6-5 So.-R 8.4 ppg 7.2 rpg F 32 Ed Nelson 6-7 Fr. 5.6 ppg 8.8 rpg C 12 Luke Schenscher 7-0 Fr. 4.0 ppg 2.8 rpg G 3 Tony Akins 5-11 Sr. 15.0 ppg 3.2 apg G 24 Marvin Lewis 6-4 So. 15.0 ppg 5.8 rpg

Top Reserves F 33 Halston Lane 6-5 So. 6.6 ppg 3.8 rpg F-C 34 Robert Brooks 6-8 So. 2.4 ppg 5.0 rpg G 1 B.J. Elder 6-3 Fr. 8.8 ppg 2.2 rpg G-F 2 Isma’il Muhammad 6-5 Fr. 5.3 ppg 2.5 ppg G 55 Anthony McHenry 6-6 Fr. 2.0 ppg 1.0 apg

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