Jan. 9, 2014
THE FLATS – Looking for its first Atlantic Coast Conference victory of the 2013-14 season, Georgia Tech returns home to begin a three-game homestand, beginning with a 12 noon contest Saturday against Notre Dame at McCamish Pavilion.
The ACC Network will provide regional television coverage of the game, which can be seen in Atlanta on WATL-TV. Radio coverage of the game will be provided by the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network and can be heard in Atlanta on WYAY-FM (106.7). The Tech radio broadcast can be heard nationally on satellite radio (Sirius ch. 134, XM ch. 194).
Tech brings a 7-1 homecourt record into Saturday’s game, which will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools as members of the ACC. The Yellow Jackets (9-6, 0-2 ACC) began the conference schedule with road losses to Maryland (77-61) and No. 16 Duke (79-57).
In its third season under head coach Brian Gregory, Tech entered ACC play with its best offensive numbers during the non-conference schedule in several categories. The Yellow Jackets averaged 72 points per game while hitting 44.3 percent of their field goal tries, 29 percent of their threes and 70.5 percent of their free throws. Tech also outrebounded every opponent until losing the boards at Duke Tuesday night, but is still one of the nation’s leaders in rebound margin (26th, +5.9) for the season.
Defensively, Tech ranks 72nd nationally in scoring yield (66.7 ppg) and 28th in field goal percentage defense (39.8 pct.) while also ranking 26th in rebound margin and 95th in assists.
Duke (11-3, 0-1 ACC) had won five straight games before its 79-77 loss at Notre Dame Saturday, its first true road game of the season and its first loss against a team not ranked in the nation’s top five. The Blue Devils are averaging more than 84 points per game and shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor (41.6 percent from three-point range) for the season.
Tech continues its homestand Tuesday night with a 9 p.m. game against Pittsburgh, followed by a visit from Miami next Saturday, Jan. 18 (2 p.m.).
New Fan Experiences Available Saturday
Callaway Club patrons will want to arrive early for a special “Chalk Talk” with Coach Gregory happening inside the club 30 minutes prior to tip. Coach will provide a brief overview of the matchup with Notre Dame and answer a few questions before heading back to the locker room.
New Experience Upgrades: Fans attending Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball games can now upgrade their gameday by purchasing VIP Experiences on their smartphones. Experiences offered include the ability to watch pre-game warm-ups courtside or to shoot free-throws after the game. Fans can sign up at here.
Fast Break Points
This is the eighth time in Georgia Tech’s 35 seasons in the ACC that the Yellow Jackets have opened conference play with two road games. This year the Jackets were the only ACC team to do so. Tech has lost both games on five of those occasions and split them the other three times (1984-85, 1986-87, 1988-89).
Notre Dame assistant coach Rod Balanis is a 1993 graduate of Georgia Tech and lettered in basketball for the Yellow Jackets from 1991-94. After red-shirting during Tech’s 1989-90 Final Four season, Balanis played on Tech’s ACC Championship team in 1993 and on three NCAA Tournament teams under Bobby Cremins. Balanis has been on Brey’s Notre Dame staff all 14 years.
Tech learned last week that Robert Carter, Jr., will be sidelined indefinitely after sustaining a tear of the meniscus in his left knee during the Yellow Jackets’ game at Charlotte last Sunday. An MRI taken Tuesday revealed the tear. Carter, Jr., underwent surgery Tuesday (Jan. 7) and there is no timetable for his possible return.
This is the second significant injury Tech has sustained since the season began. Freshman guard Travis Jorgenson, who had averaged nearly 20 minutes a game off the bench, was lost for the season with a torn ACL in the season’s fourth game.
Senior Kammeon Holsey, who had started 43 games in his first two seasons at Tech but none last year, returned to the starting lineup at Maryland to replace Carter, Jr. That is Tech’s second significant lineup change since the Christmas break.
Jason Morris made his first start of the season at Charlotte, replacing Chris Bolden in the lineup. He has scored 13 points in 63 minutes in the last three games. Morris missed Tech’s first 10 games this season after undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot in October.
As part of Tech’s rotational adjustment, freshman forward Quinton Stephens has played 59 minutes in Tech’s last three games, initially at small forward but now also at big forward in the wake of Carter, Jr.’s injury. The 6-9 Stephens has averaged 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in the last three games.
Tech out-rebounded every opponent this season, 14 straight games, before Duke won the boards, 33-25, Tuesday night. It was the longest such streak for the Jackets dating back to the 2000-01 season. Tech had a 16-14 edge on the boards at halftime at Duke.
Eleven of the 15 ACC schools are ranked higher than Tech’s current No. 122 (as of Monday), and six of those are in the top 68.
Tech and Notre Dame had no common opponents in their non-conference schedules.
Series vs. Notre Dame
Georgia Tech holds a 6-2 lead in the all-time series with Notre Dame that began in the 1940-41 season.
This series was played exclusively on the campuses of the two schools until the most recent encounter, a 2007 meeting in the third-place game of the Paradise Jam. The Yellow Jackets erased a 9-point deficit in the final 5:11 and won the game on a three-point basket by Matt Causey with two seconds remaining.
Tech has won the last four meetings, including a 90-80 victory in the teams’ last meeting in Atlanta on Feb. 25, 1989, and the teams’ last meeting at South Bend, an 88-80 overtime win on Feb. 24, 1990 with the Jackets headed toward an ACC title and Final Four berth later that season. Those games were the only two face-offs ever between legendary coaches Bobby Cremins and Digger Phelps.
Four of the five meetings before that were played with Whack Hyder as Tech’s head coach, and the Jackets won three of those, including an 82-62 win in 1972 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Phelps’ first season as the Fighting Irish head coach.
About Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its third year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships, played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004).