Nov. 21, 2003
Georgia Tech takes a break from the Preseason NIT with a visit to Cornell at 3 p.m. Sunday, the Yellow Jackets’ first road game of the season. Tech has won its first two games of the season, defeating Louisiana-Lafayette (79-45) and Hofstra (75-56) and has advanced to the semi-finals of the Preseason NIT.
Sunday’s game will be televised by College Sports Television, which is available in the Atlanta area via satellite only. The game will air on radio in the Atlanta area in its entirety on WTSH-FM (107.1) and joined in progress on WQXI-AM (790).
A win against Cornell, which is making its season debut following a 9-18 finish a year ago, would give Tech its third 3-0 start in four seasons under head coach Paul Hewitt. Tech has started 3-0 in six of its last seven seasons.
The Yellow Jackets have begun the campaign by outscoring its two opponents by and average of 26.5 points. The Yellow Jackets have allowed just 50.5 points per game against Louisiana-Lafayette and Hofstra and limited those two teams collectively to 31.4-percent shooting from the floor and 25.6 from three-point range. Tech also has forced 43 turnovers and allowed only 33 field goals made.
Hewitt has employed the same starting lineup for both of its exhibition games and its two Preseason NIT games — 6-3 Jarrett Jack at point guard, 6-4 Marvin Lewis and 6-4 B.J. Elder on the wings, 6-7 Anthony McHenry at the strong forward spot and 7-1 Luke Schenscher at center.
Lewis, a senior, and Elder, a junior, are Tech’s top two returning scorers from last year’s squad and have begun this season in the same fashion. Lewis scored 23 points against Hofstra and has averaged 15.5 points in two games, while Elder has matched his 15.0 average of a year ago. Jack, a sophomore who was Tech’s fourth-leading scorer last season, has dished 11 assists in each game and averaged 11.5 points. Already one of the nation’s finest backcourt trios, they unit will get stronger in December when it is joined by 6-0 junior transfer Will Bynum.
Schenscher, a junior, shined in Tech’s exhibition games at 16.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game while hitting 54.2 percent of his shots, but has posted averages of just 4.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in the two Preseason NIT games. McHenry, also a junior, has been solid with 4.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Tech’s primary reserves include Isma’il Muhammad, a 6-6 junior forward who has averaged 12.5 points and 3.5 rebounds while hitting 71.4 percent of his shots, Clarence Moore, a 6-5 senior forward averaging 6.0 points and 4.5 rebounds, and Robert Brooks, a 6-8 senior postman averaging 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds (6-of-7 from the floor).
Theodis Tarver, a 6-9 sophomore who moved into the lineup for Tech’s post-season NIT run last year, is sidelined indefinitely because of a dislocated kneecap suffered in practice on Oct. 30.
Tech’s game at Cornell completes a three-game series between the two schools in which the Big Red visited Atlanta each of the past two years. The Yellow Jackets claimed victories in both games, 81-55 on Jan. 8 of last season and 86-68 on Jan. 2, 2002.
Tech has a 7-6 all-time record against members of the Ivy League, and Sunday’s game will be only the fourth time the Jackets have ever played on the home court of an Ivy League team. The three previous visits all were to Pennsylvania (losses in 1929 and 1937, a 79-55 win in 1987).
“They’re an experienced basketball team,” said Hewitt. “[Head coach] Steve Donahue runs that Princeton-style offense, and they know the offense inside and out. They’ve run it for a couple of years, and they’ve got an experienced point guard in Ka’Ron Barnes.
“I’m really anxious to see how Jarrett matches up. He’s got to play against a senior point guard. He’s got to take his team on the road into a very hostile environment. Is this the ideal time to play it? No, it’s not, because with finals coming up, we’re going to have to come back and be on campus Monday and Tuesday before we go to New York. This was the only time we could work it into our schedule.”
Tech Starts Strong
Georgia Tech has played well defensively, holding its first two opponents to a total of 101 points, the first time the Jackets have started a season allowing so few points since the 1949-50 campaign. That year, Tech allowed Chattanooga and Furman a total of 95 points in two victories. The last time Tech allowed fewer points in consecutive games at any point in a season was the 2001-02 season (99 points to Saint Louis and NC State).
Non-Conference Slate Gets A Boost
Georgia Tech’s non-conference schedule got a lot tougher after the Yellow Jackets defeated Hofstra Thursday night. Until then, none of Tech’s non-conference opponents appeared in either pre-season top 25 poll, and only five were coming off post-season runs in 2003. But top-ranked Connecticut now looms as Tech’s next opponent Wednesday night. Utah, an NCAA team a year ago, and Texas Tech, which eliminated the Jackets in the NIT, await the Jackets on Friday.
Five ACC teams appear in the rankings — Duke (No. 2), North Carolina (No. 10 AP, No. 9 ESPN/USA Today), Wake Forest (No. 20/21), NC State (No. 24 AP) and Maryland (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today).
Georgia Tech (2-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. Cornell (0-0, 0-0 Ivy)November 23, 2003 * 3 p.m. * Newman Arena (4,473)
TV: College Sports Television; Carter Blackburn, pbp; Matt Doherty, color
Radio: WTSH-FM 107.1, WQXI-AM 790 (joined in progress) Wes Durham, pbp; Randy Waters, color
Tech Record Breakdown: Home: 2-0; Away: 0-0; Neutral: 0-0
Series Breakdown vs. Cornell: Overall: Tech leads, 2-0 Last meeting: Jan. 8, 2003 in Atlanta (Tech 81, Cornell 55) Tech at Cornell: first meeting
Georgia Tech Coach Paul Hewitt: 116-71 (.618), 7th season overall; 50-44 (.527), 4th season at Tech; 2-0 vs. Cornell (both at Tech)
Cornell Coach Steve Donahue: 21-60 (.259), 4th season overall; 21-60 (.259), 4th season at Cornell; 0-2 vs. Georgia Tech
Next for Tech: Nov. 26 vs. Connecticut, 9:30 p.m. (NIT, Madison Square Garden) Next for Cornell: Nov. 25 vs. Colgate, 7 p.m.