Nov. 14, 2007
ATLANTA – Coming off a 99-85 victory over Tennessee State in Nashville Sunday night, Georgia Tech travels to the U.S. Virgin Islands this weekend for its first appearance in the Paradise Jam. The Yellow Jackets open play Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern time against Charlotte of the Atlantic 10.
Tech is 1-1 for the season, having lost its season opener to UNC Greensboro, 83-74, last Friday night.
Radio coverage of all three Tech games will be provided by the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, airing in Atlanta on WQXI-AM (790), WTSH-FM (107.1) and WREK-FM (91.1).
The semifinal games in the winner’s bracket, the third-place game and the championship game will be televised live on Fox College Sports, and will air in Atlanta on regional sports network SportSouth.
A win Friday would put Tech in a semifinal tilt at 6 p.m. ET Sunday against the winner of the first-round game between Illinois-Chicago and Winthrop. A loss would put the Jackets in a consolation bracket game at 6 p.m. ET Saturday against the loser of that game.
Baylor meets Wichita State and Monmouth takes on Notre Dame in first round games in the other half of the bracket. Tech will play one of those teams in the final round Monday.
Monday’s final-round schedule (times Eastern) — 7th-place game at 1 p.m., 5th-place game at 3:30 p.m., 3rd-place game at 6 p.m., championship game at 8:30 p.m.
On the Road
Georgia Tech is in the midst of a 38-day stretch between games at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, the longest such stretch since the 1986-87 season, when the Jackets played their home opener on Dec. 1 then did not play at home again until Jan. 14, a period of 43 days. After the Paradise Jam, Tech has road games Nov. 27 at Indiana, Dec. 1 at Vanderbilt and Dec. 5 at Georgia State.
> This is Tech’s first appearance in the Paradise Jam, but not its first time off the mainland. The Yellow Jackets played last year in the EA Sports Maui Invitational, its fifth trip to the Islands. Tech has also played in the Puerto Rico Shootout and the Great Alaska Shootout once each, and played in the 1986 Suntory Ball event in Tokyo, Japan.
> Tech reached the finals of last year’s Maui Invitational and the 1998 Big Island Invitational, captured one title in three appearances at the Rainbow Classic, and won the Puerto Rico Shootout in 1997.
Georgia Tech has brief series histories with six of the other seven teams in the Paradise Jam, Wichita State being the line team the Yellow Jackets have never faced.
> Tech has won all four previous meetings with Charlotte, but have not played the 49ers since the 1985-86 season. The Jackets are 1-1 with Illinois-Chicago, both games coming with Paul Hewitt as the Tech head coach, and won their only previous meeting with Winthrop in 1997.
> On the other side of the bracket, Tech is 5-2 in its series with Notre Dame, the last meeting having come in Tech’s Final Four season of 1990. The Jackets are 3-1 with Baylor, last meeting in 1973, and won their only prior meeting with Monmouth in 1985.
Quick Look at Tech
Head coach Paul Hewitt started the same five players for both of Georgia Tech’s regular-season games and its exhibition game – freshman Maurice “Moe” Miller at point guard, senior Anthony Morrow and junior Lewis Clinch on the wings, senior Jeremis Smith at strong forward, and junior Alade Aminu at center.
The Jackets have played all three games without center Zack Peacock, who is recovering from a stress reaction in his right foot, and the 6-8 sophomore is questionable to play in the Paradise Jam.
Morrow, a 6-5 guard from Charlotte, N.C., who is the Yellow Jackets’ top returning scorer from 2006-07, currently leads the ACC with 27.0 points a game. He scored a career-high 31 points with a career-best 10 rebounds Sunday at Tennessee State. One of Tech’s all-time three-point shooters with 185 for his career, Morrow has knocked down eight triples in two games. Smith, the team captain and a 6-8 forward from Fort Worth, Texas, scored 16 points Sunday night and has average 6.0 rebounds in two games.
Clinch, a 6-3 guard, has started slowly, averaging 7.5 points so far. The Cordele, Ga., native was Tech’s leading scorer through 10 games last season before missing the spring semester due to a violation of Institute policy. Aminu, a 6-10 center from Stone Mountain, Ga., who enjoyed a solid final month to the 2006-07 campaign, established career-bests for points (25 on 12-of-14 FG) and rebounds (9) at Tennessee State.
Miller, a 6-1 point guard from Memphis, has averaged 9.0 points and 3.5 assists in two games, while his backup, 6-0 senior Matt Causey, has one basket and four assists in two games.
In reserve, Tech has 6-5 junior D’Andre Bell from Los Angeles, Calif., and 6-4 freshman Lance Storrs of Decatur, Ga., in the backcourt. Bell plays some minutes at the point guard position and is Tech’s top perimeter defender. Storrs has impressed coaches with his long range shooting ability in practice.
In the frontcourt, Hewitt can go to 6-8 freshman Gani Lawal of Norcross, Ga., 6-11 red-shirt freshman Brad Sheehan of Latham, N.Y., and 6-10 sophomore Mouhammad Faye of Dakar, Senegal. Lawal scored 12 points with six rebounds againsf UNCG. Sheehan, who did not play against the Eagles, played 15 solid minutes at Tennessee State with five points, two assists and a blocked shot.
Jackets Bounce Back at Tennessee State
Overcoming a four-point halftime deficit, Georgia Tech shot 68.8 percent from the floor, including six threes, and scored 64 second-half points to pull away for a 99-85 victory at Tennessee State Sunday night. Lewis Clinch’s three at the 17:06 mark put Tech ahead to stay, 48-46, and the Jackets opened their lead to 15 points over the next six minutes.
Anthony Morrow scored 24 points after intermission to complete a carerr-best 31-point night, hitting 12-of-18 shots from the floor and 5-of-9 from three-point range. The 6-5 senior also grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds, dished four assists and did not commit a turnover in 33 minutes.
Junior center Alade Aminu also had a career night, scoring 25 points on 12-of-14 shooting from the floor, and took nine rebounds. Senior Jeremis Smith and junior Lewis Clinch also reached double figures with 16 and 10 points, respetcively.
Tech Surprised in Opener
Georgia Tech lost its season opener Friday night, 83-74, to UNC Greensboro at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, the first time the Yellow Jackets had lost a season opener at home since 1980. Tech managed a 43-39 halftime lead, despite being outshot 50 to 35.9 percent from the floor, on the strength of its rebounding. The Jackets outrebounded the Spartans in the first half 27-14, taking 17 offensive rebounds for 19 second-half points.
But the Spartans reversed that trend in the second half, taking a 22-15 advantage on the boards while opening a 14-point lead at one point. Kyle Hines led UNCG, which shot 49.1 percent for the game, with 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the floor.
Anthony Morrow paced Tech with 23 points, making 8-of-18 shots from the floor and 3-of-6 from three-point range. Freshman Gani Lawal (12 points, 6 rebounds) and Moe Miller (10 points) also reached double figures for Tech.
Quick Personnel Notes
> Sunday night’s win over Tennessee State left head coach Paul Hewitt (194-123 career record) six wins shy of 200 for his career, and left Tech 10 wins shy of 1,200 all-time.
> Anthony Morrow, who has eight three-point field goals in two games, has moved into 7th place on Tech’s all-time list for three-point field goals with 185, surpassing Drew Barry in the UNCG game. A comparable year to his last two, when he averaged 70 three-pointers, would vault him into fourth place. ahead of B.J. Elder, Marvin Lewis and Matt Harpring.
> Morrow’s 31 points Sunday night brought him within two points of 1,000 for his career. It was the 12th 20-point game of his career and pushed his career point total to 998. He will become the 37th Tech player to score 1,000 career points.
> Morrow has made at least one three-point basket in 11 straight games dating back to last season.
> After not playing in Tech’s first eight ACC games last season, Alade Aminu averaged 14.4 minutes and 6.1 points (65.3 pct. FG) in the last 11 games of the season. He opened the season against UNCG with five points and a career-high nine boards in a career-high 26 minutes, then exploded at Tennessee State for 25 points, a career high, and another nine boards. He made 12 of 14 shots from the floor against TSU.
> Jeremis Smith grabbed 10 rebounds against UNCG to lead Tech for the 34th time in his career. It was his 13th career double-figure rebound game.
> Smith, a strong forward, leads Tech in assists (8) through two games, while Morrow, a wing guard, has averaged 8.0 rebounds.
> Two of Tech’s freshmen reached double figures in their collegiate debuts against UNCG. Forward Gani Lawal scored 12 points (5-of-8 FG) with six rebounds, while point guard Moe Miller scored 10 with three rebounds and two assists.