ATLANTA – Looking to make strides on defense and rebounding, Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team takes on the USDBL All-Stars in its second and final exhibition game at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center.
It is Tech’s final test before opening the regular season at home Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Wofford. Head coach Paul Hewitt’s message to his team in practice this week was simple, contest shots and block out.
The Yellow Jackets dropped their first exhibition last Tuesday, 107-86, to the California All-Stars, at the Georgia Dome. The All-Stars outrebounded Tech, 46-39, and blitzed the Jackets in the second half with 56.4-percent shooting from the floor and 55.6 percent from three-point range (10-of-18).
“We’ve got to do a better job contesting shots and rebounding,” said Hewitt. “I usually don’t have specific answers to problems after a game until I watch the tape, but after that game I knew it was simply an issue of contesting shots, and the rebounding and blocking out was not good.” Offensively, Hewitt was pleased with the work of his starting five, which was composed of guards Tony Akins and Shaun Fein, forwards Marvin Lewis and Jon Babul and center Alvin Jones.
“I thought those guys did a nice job together,” said Hewitt, who will start the same group Monday. “I probably have to do a better job of substituting and keeping some fresh legs on the floor.”
Hewitt used 10 players in the game, nine of them logging 10 minutes or more. Five players, led by guard Fein’s 18 points, scored in double figures. The 6-3 senior from Centerville, Mass., hit 4-of-9 three-pointers, 7-of-14 field goals overall.
Tech also got 16 points each from Akins, the 5-11 junior guard from Lilburn, Ga., and Jones, the 6-11 senior center from Lakeland, Fla. Babul, a 6-7 senior, did not score but had five rebounds, and Lewis, a 6-3 freshman guard from Germantown, Md., scored 14.
Lewis, who has impressed recently in practice and in the team’s public intrasquad scrimmage a week ago, made 4-of-6 three-pointers and had just one turnover in 28 minutes.
“I thought we did a nice job of distributing the ball,” said Hewitt. “We had five guys in double figures, which is something I look for. I want to see unselfish basketball.”
T.J. Vines, a 5-10 senior guard from Woodstock, Ga., added 12 points off the bench, and had five assists with just one turnover in 17 minutes. Tech also received six points off the bench from 6-7 freshman Robert Brooks (Saginaw, Mich.) and four from 6-3 senior guard Darryl LaBarrie (Stone Mountain, Ga.). Freshman forward Halston Lane (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) played 10 minutes but did not score, and 6-8 forward/center Michael Isenhour (Lawrenceville, Ga.) also was scoreless in 14 minutes.
“For about the first 32 minutes I was pleased with [the intensity and effort],” said Hewitt. “In the last eight minutes they made a run on us and got up, and I was a little disappointed in the way we just went away. I know we’re in better shape than that.”
Clarence Moore, Tech’s 6-4 sophomore forward from Norco, La., who broke his right foot in early September, is out of his boot and has been doing some light work. He is not expected to be ready to play until the first of December.