Jan. 6, 2014
THE FLATS – Looking to rebound from a 77-61 loss in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener Saturday at Maryland, Georgia Tech finishes off a four-game road stretch with a visit to 16th-0ranked Duke Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.
ESPNU will provide national television coverage of the game. 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 Duke radio broadcast can be heard nationally on satellite radio (channels unavailable at press time).
Tuesday’s game is the last of four consecutive road games for the Yellow Jackets, who are 2-2 on opponents’ home courts this season and 2-4 away from Atlanta.
In its third season under head coach Brian Gregory, Tech (9-5, 0-1 ACC) entered ACC play with its best offensive numbers during that time frame in several categories. The Yellow Jackets are averaging 71.2 points per game while hitting 43.9 percent of their field goal tries, 29 percent of their threes and 70.3 percent of their free throws. Tech also has outrebounded every opponent so far and has a +6.9 rebound margin for the season.
Defensively, Tech ranks 57th nationally in scoring yield (65.9 ppg) and 28th in field goal percentage defense (38.8 pct.) while also ranking 27th in rebound margin and 66th 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.
Following Tuesday’s game, Tech returns home for three straight games, beginning with a 12 noon contest Saturday against Notre Dame at McCamish Pavilion.
Fast Break Points
This is the eighth time in Tech’s 35 seasons in the ACC that the Yellow Jackets are opening conference play with two road games. Tech has lost both games on four of those occasions and split them the other three times (1984-85, 1986-87, 1988-89).
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, and Carter, Jr., will undergo surgery Tuesday (Jan. 7).
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 in the last two games …
Jason Morris made his first start of the season at Charlotte, replacing Chris Bolden in the lineup. He has scored eight points in 43 minutes in the last two 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 37 minutes in Tech’s last two games, initially at small forward but now also at big forward in the wake of Carter, Jr.’s injury. The 6-9 Stephens scored 10 points (3-5 FG, two 3s) with six rebounds at Maryland.
Tech has out-rebounded every opponent this season, 14 straight games. It is the longest such streak for the Jackets dating back to the 2000-01 season.
Tech averaged 72.0 points per game in its pre-conference schedule, nearly six points per game better than 2012-13 (66.6) and eight better than 2011-12 (63.8). Tech also posted better numbers over last year in field goal percentage (44.3/44.0), free throw percentage (70.5/64.3), free throws made per game (15.5/11.4), assists (14.9/14.2) and rebound margin (+7.3/+5.9).
Tech’s defensive numbers also rose over last year’s pre-conference schedule (65.0 ppg/53.5, 38.8 pct. FG/35.1), but its ranking within the conference remained similarly high. Tech ranked 56th nationally (7th in the ACC) in scoring defense, 29th in field goal percentage defense (6th in the ACC).
In its non-conference schedule, Tech played six teams currently ranked 116 or higher in the CBSSports.com RPI rankings (Illinois 17, St. John’s 56, Dayton 57, Mississippi 73, Vanderbilt 84, Charlotte 116), only two of those at home. Eleven of the 15 ACC schools are ranked higher than Tech’s current No. 118 (as of Friday), and six of those are in the top 68.
Tech and Duke had no common opponents in their non-conference schedules.
Series vs. Duke
Duke leads the overall series 66-23, and is 53-19 against Tech since the Jackets joined the ACC.
Duke has won 29 of the last 32 games in the series. The Blue Devils won the only regular-season meeting between the two teams each of the last three years, including a 73-57 decision in Durham on Jan. 17 of last season.
Duke has not yet played at McCamish Pavilion. The Blue Devils won 11 of the last 13 meetings at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and posted a 21-13 lead over Tech in games played on the Jackets’ former home court, as well as a 25-16 mark in games played in Atlanta.
Tech’s best stretch of the series occurred between 1982 and 1989, with 10 wins in 17 meetings. Tech has never won more than two in a row.
Tech is 19-55 against Duke teams coached by Mike Krzyzewski, 12-18 in games played in Atlanta.
Tech has won just five of 37 games played at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the first four coming in (1959, 1984, 1987 and 1996). Tech’s most recent win occurred on Mar. 3, 2004 in a 76-68 victory, which snapped a 41-game homecourt winning streak for the Blue Devils.
Tech is 3-7 against the Blue Devils in ACC Tournament encounters. Tech defeated Duke on the way to each of its three tournament titles, including semifinal victories in 1985 and 1990 and a first-round triumph in 1993. The Blue Devils have defeated Tech three times in championship games (1986, 2005, 2010).
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).