THE FLATS – Georgia Tech continues a stretch of three games in six days Wednesday night when it travels to Fayetteville, Ark., for a 9 p.m. Eastern time contest against Arkansas at Bud Walton Arena.
Tech (5-4), in its third season under head coach Josh Pastner, has lost all three of its games away from home, Nov. 13 at No. 5 Tennessee (66-53), Nov. 28 at Northwestern (67-61) and Dec. 1 vs. St. John’s (76-73) in Miami, while going 5-1 at home this season. The Yellow Jackets lost at home to Gardner-Webb, 79-69, Monday night.
Arkansas (7-2), in its eighth season under head coach Mike Anderson, has won its last five games, has a 5-1 mark at home this season, including a 73-72 win over Indiana on Nov. 18 and a 78-77 loss to Western Kentucky on Dec. 8. The Razorbacks are coming off a 79-67 victory over Texas-San Antonio on Saturday.
Wednesday’s game will be televised live on the SEC Network, and streamed live through the ESPN app. Radio coverage is provided on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, airing in Atlanta on 680 AM and 93.7 FM the Fan. The Tech broadcast is available on satellite radio (XM ch. 382, internet ch. 973).
- Three games in six days – Georgia Tech is playing three games in a span of six days this week after playing only once in the 15 days prior. The Jackets do not have another such stretch the rest of the season, even during ACC play.
- Three vs. the SEC – Arkansas is the second of three opponents from the Southeastern Conference that Georgia Tech faces during its non-conference schedule. The Yellow Jackets lost at No. 5 Tennessee, 66-53, in the second game of the season, and host Georgia on Saturday.
- Home for the holidays – Tech is in a stretch of seven home games in its next eight, which began Dec. 9 with a 73-40 victory over Florida A&M. The stretch which carries the Yellow Jackets through the pre-conference schedule and ends with ACC games against Wake Forest (Jan. 5) and Virginia Tech (Jan. 9). Tech’s only road game in that span is at Arkansas.
- Tough slate – Eight opponents on Georgia Tech’s schedule were ranked in the top 25 of the preseason AP and coaches polls, including Tennessee and ACC foes Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Florida State and Clemson. Five ACC teams are currently in the top 25 of both polls, and two others are receiving votes.
- Defending well – Georgia Tech ranks third in the ACC in scoring defense (No. 15 nationally) and in field goal percentage defense (No. 23 nationally) and is No. 1 in three-point percentage defense (8th nationally). The Jackets are third in blocked shots and in steals.
- Longer bench – Tech has deployed at least eight players for significant minutes (10 or more per game) in each of its nine games so far, nine with the injured Evan Cole available. Tech’s bench has played 35.6 percent of available minutes, 62nd in the nation according to KenPom.com (national average is 30.6 pct.). Tech reserves are outscoring its opponents 27.6 to 14.6 per game).
- That’s a triple – Georgia Tech has averaged 6.0 three-point field goals in nine games, 54 total threes made by six different players. Tech averaged just 4.9 made threes last season, last in the ACC.
- Creating offense with defense – Georgia Tech has forced an average of 15.3 turnovers per game, about two per game more than through nine games last season (ranks 6th in ACC, 71st in NCAA). Tech has turned those into 17.6 points per game (25 percent of total points).
- Picking up the pace – Through nine games, Tech is averaging 69.6 possessions per game to rank No. 192 in the nation, according to KenPom.com. The Jackets averaged 66.1 possessions last year (277th).
- 640 – Career points for Brandon Alston, the most of any current Tech player. Jose Alvarado is next with 425, followed by Shembari Phillips with 401, and Abdoulaye Gueye with 247. Georgia Tech finished last season with a trio of 1,000-point career scorers on its roster for the first time since 1989.
SERIES VS. ARKANSAS
Georgia Tech is 4-1 all-time against Arkansas, and Wednesday’s game will mark the Yellow Jackets’ first game against the Razorbacks in Fayetteville.
- Tech captured the most recent meeting, 83-73, on Nov. 26, 2015 in the NIT Season Tipoff at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Yellow Jacket senior Abdoulaye Gueye and junior Sylvester Ogbonda were members of that Tech team, but both redshirted that season.
- Three of the five prior games in the series have been played on neutral floors, including the first meeting in the 1961 Poinsettia Tournament in Greenville, S.C., the Razorbacks’ lone victory in the series (72-42).
- The teams played twice more in the 1960s, both games at Tech’s Alexander Memorial Coliseum, where the Jackets won 93-83 in 1965 and 88-75 in 1966.
- The teams met again in the 1984 Rainbow Classic, a 72-52 Yellow Jacket triumph in the opening round, the most recent meeting before the NIT Season Tipoff three years ago.
- Since leaving the SEC following the 1963-64 season, Georgia Tech is 28-56 against teams from that conference, not including Georgia. Since joining the ACC for the 1979-80 season, the Jackets are 16-20 vs. the SEC. Tech has not faced Missouri or Texas A&M since they joined the SEC.
Freshman Khalid Moore has averaged 7.0 points and hit 9-of-12 shots from the floor in Tech’s last four games.
FOLLOWING THE TRENDS
- For the third straight game, Georgia Tech started Jose Alvarado, Brandon Alston and Curtis Haywood II across the perimeter, Moses Wright and James Banks III in the frontcourt. Banks made his third straight start, Alston his fourth of the season, and Wright his seventh of the season. Haywood is the only Tech player to have started every game.
- Gardner-Webb’s 79 points were the most allowed by Tech this season and the most given up at home since Duke’s 80-69 win last Feb. 11. The 45 points by Gardner-Webb in the first half were the most Georgia Tech has given up in the first half of a game this season, and the second most in any half (Lamar – 47 in the second half).
- It was the second time in six home games this season Tech has trailed by double figures in the second half. The Jackets trailed Prairie View A&M by 10 on Nov. 23, but rallied to win.
- Gardner-Webb was the 10th team to shoot 50 percent against Tech under Josh Pastner, first since Virginia Tech (52.7) last Feb. 17.
- Tech played 10 scholarship players against Gardner-Webb, with Evan Cole seeing action in his second game since returning from an ankle injury. Tech has deployed at least eight players for significant minutes in each of its nine games so far, nine vs. Northwestern and St. John’s, despite Evan Cole missing those games with an ankle injury.
- Despite yielding a season-high 79 points to Gardner-Webb, Tech has held every opponent this season under its season scoring average – breakdown by game: Lamar 81.0 (69), Tennessee 82.8 (66), East Carolina 72.7 (54), UTRGV 70.2 (44), Prairie View A&M 69.2 (54), Northwestern 76.0 (67), St. John’s 83.0 (76), Florida A&M 63.2 (40), Gardner-Webb 82.2 (79).
- Tech has yielded just 40 three-point field goals in nine games (4.4 per game, 26.7 percent) and remains No. 1 in the ACC in lowest three-point percentage yield (8th in NCAA). The Jackets allowed an average of 7.1 per game and a success rate of 37.9 percent last season.
- Tech has outrebounded its opponent five times in the last six games after not doing so in its first three games of the season, and is on the plus side (+0.3) for the first time this season. Tech outrebounded Gardner-Webb, 34-33.
- Defensively, Tech is forcing 15.3 turnovers and taking 8.3 steals per game, figures which rank third in the ACC. Only St. John’s (5 turnovers) and Gardner-Webb (9) have managed to keep their turnover total under 10 this season against Tech. The Jackets forced an average of 12.6 turnovers per game last season and took 6.9 steals per game.
- Tech has connected on just 36.6 percent of its field goals in three games away from home, and 11-of-52 (21.2 percent) of its three-point attempts. But it has converted 81.2 percent of its free throw tries and scored 56 of its 187 points there.
- Tech has attempted 175 threes (19.4 per game) and made 54 (6.0 per game), compared to averages of 15.3 attempts and 4.9 made per game in 2017-18. Four different Yellow Jackets have made at least seven three-point field goals so far this season. Tech has hit 30.9 percent of its threes for the season, below last season’s 31.8-percent clip.
- Tech’s bench was outscored for the first time this season, 20-8, by Gardner-Webb. Yellow Jacket reserves have scored 248 points in nine games (27.6 per game, 39.2 percent of its season average).
- Curtis Haywood regained his three-point stroke against Gardner-Webb, hitting 4-of-6 in the first half and posting his first double-digit scoring game since Nov. 23 vs. Prairie View A&M. Haywood had been 3-for-14 from behind the arc over his last four games, and was 0-for-2 in the second half against Gardner-Webb. It was his fourth double-figure game this season and eighth of his career.
- Jose Alvarado posted his fifth double-figure game in the last six with 19 points (8-of-16 FG). He has six this season and 22 for his career.
- Alvarado played all but 33 seconds of the Gardner-Webb game, the most minutes he has logged this season. He might have played all 40 if not for picking up his fourth foul with 2:17 remaining, forcing Tech to remove him on defensive possessions. The 6-foot sophomore played eight complete games last season.
- James Banks reached posted his third double-double in four games, scoring a season-best 22 points and matching his season best with 12 rebounds. The 6-9 junior is 22-for-31 from the floor with 49 rebounds (12.1 per game) in his last four games.
- Banks has had at least one blocked shot in each of the eight games he has played, averaging 2.38 for the season (second in the ACC).
- Moses Wright started his seventh straight game for Georgia Tech, scoring four points with five rebounds in 18:42 minutes against Gardner-Webb. Wright has two double-digit games (11 vs. UTRGV, 12 vs. St. John’s) in that stretch, and is hitting 44.4 percent of his shots from the floor this season.
- Freshman Michael Devoe continues to get his legs under him after missing most of pre-season practice with a big toe injury. Devoe scored just two points against Gardner-Webb, both from the free throw line, but had a season-high six rebounds and had four assists. Devoe is tied for the team lead in steals (16), is averaging 7.1 points for the season and has hit 19-of-23 from the free throw line.
- Brandon Alston collected a season-high five assists but was shut out from the three-point line (0-for-3) for the third time this season. The 6-5 senior has hit 12-of-24 (50 percent) from long range this season, 47.1 percent overall.
- Freshman Khalid Moore continues to play solidly off the bench. The 6-7 forward has averaged 7.0 points over his last four games (9-of-12 FG, 8-of-8 FT) with six assists and five steals.
- Sophomore Evan Cole has played 11 total minutes in two games since missing five games recovering from a left ankle sprain suffered on the Jackets’ Nov. 13 game at Tennessee. He scored four points, all from the free throw line, against Florida A&M, but did not score against Gardner-Webb.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its third year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.