Feb. 25, 2011
ATLANTA – With three games left in the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule and two of those on the road, Georgia Tech travels to Raleigh, N.C., Saturday for a 2 p.m. regionally televised game against NC State at the RBC Center, the only scheduled meeting of the season for the two teams.
Tech (11-16, 3-10 ACC) is looking to snap a seven-game conference losing streak which has dropped the Yellow Jackets to 11th place in the ACC standings. Tech is a game behind the Wolfpack (4-9) in the standings, two games behind Miami and Virginia (5-8 each), and has a two-game cushion on Wake Forest (1-12), its next opponent on Thursday.
Tech leads the ACC in turnovers forced (16.6 per game) and steals (9.2 per game), but has averaged just 61.4 points and shot just 36 percent during its last eight games (including a non-conference win over Chattanooga).
The Jackets are led by All-ACC candidate Iman Shumpert, a 6-5 guard from Oak Park, Ill., who is bidding to become the fourth player in ACC history to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. He has averaged nearly 20 points a game over his last 12 games. The Jackets remain without third-leading scorer Brian Oliver, who is not expected back before the ACC Tournament due to a fractured left thumb.
Head coach Paul Hewitt’s team, which returned two starters and eight letterwinners from a team that reached the championship game in last year’s ACC Tournament and won their first-round game in the NCAA Tournament, is one of the youngest in the ACC, with freshmen and sophomores making 86 of 135 possible starts and playing around 70 percent of the minutes.
NC State (14-13, 4-9 ACC) has lost its last two games to Maryland and North Carolina, dropped six of its last eight and nine of 12 dating back to early January. But the Wolfpack are 10-4 at home this season, 3-3 in ACC games. Tech has yet to win a true road game this season.
The Yellow Jackets have won their last two meetings with NC State, including a 57-54 triumph in last year’s ACC Tournament. But they have had trouble winning in the RBC Center, dropping eight of nine games there since it opened, including a 76-71 overtime decision on their last visit in January of 2009. Tech’s average margin of defeat in those nine meetings is just 6.8 points (4.8 ppg in the last 6).
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (11-16, 3-10 ACC) vs. NC State Wolfpack (14-13, 4-9 ACC)
Date: Saturday, February 26, 2011
Tipoff: 2 p.m. Eastern time
Site: RBC Center (capacity 19,722), Raleigh, N.C.
Television: ACC Network – Steve Martin, play-by-play; Cory Alexander, color
Radio: Georgia Tech Sports Network from IMG College, live on flagship station WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY-FM (106.7) – Wes Durham, play-by-play; Randy Waters, color.
Satellite Radio: Sirius Ch. 217, XM Ch. 191 (NC State broadcast)
Tech Record Breakdown: 9-6 at home, 0-9 on the road, 2-1 neutral
Series History: NC State leads, 50-36 (8-1 at RBC Center)
Series History – Tech vs. NC State
> NC State leads the overall series with Georgia Tech, 50-36. The Yellow Jackets won the only regular-season meeting between the two teams in 2009-10 and captured an ACC Tournament meeting against the Wolfpack.
> The Wolfpack have still won nine of the last 14 and 19 of the last 27 meetings in the series.
> Twelve of the last 13 meetings in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.
> Tech’s 77-74 win in 2008 is the Yellow Jackets’ only triumph at NC State’s RBC Center in nine tries. Tech had lost 10 straight games to the Wolfpack on their home court, dating back to Jan. 24, 1996, and has lost 11 of the last 12. The Jackets are 8-28 against NC State in Raleigh, including a 1-8 mark at the RBC Center.
> Tech is 8-11 against NC State under head coach Paul Hewitt, and is 4-2 against Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe.
> Since it joined the ACC, Tech is 28-37 against NC State, including regular-season and tournament.
> Tech is 3-3 against NC State in ACC Tournament games, the last meeting occurring in 2003 in a 71-65 Wolfpack victory in Greensboro. The Jackets won first-round games in 1996 in Greensboro (88-73) and 1990 in Charlotte (76-67).
Last Year vs. NC State
The Yellow Jackets improved to 12-1 at home, but they struggled to hold off the last-place Wolfpack, however, despite leading by 16 points with 5:01 remaining.
Switching to a full-court press late in the game, NC State frustrated Georgia Tech into committing several turnovers and possession arrow miscues before Julius Mays stole D’Andre Bell’s backcourt pass and hit a layup to make it 70-69 with 2:09 remaining.
After Dennis Horner’s two free throws cut the lead to 73-71, the Yellow Jackets again failed to make an accurate inbounds pass from the baseline, and N.C. State had a chance to tie or win the game.
But Javier Gonzalez missed a jumper, and Mays’ straightaway 3-point attempt bounced off the front of the rim at the buzzer.
Mar. 13 in the ACC Tournament – Derrick Favors had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Georgia Tech held off NC State 57-54 to reach the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship game.
Gani Lawal added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the seventh-seeded Yellow Jackets, who advanced after a frantic finish to face top-seed and No. 4 Duke.
The 11th-seeded Wolfpack’s hopes of being the lowest-seeded team to reach the final were dashed thanks to poor late-game execution. Javier Gonzalez had a chance to atone for a key turnover and intentional foul in the final 2 minutes, but he missed a game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds.
Tracy Smith had 15 points for N.C. State, which shot 31 percent but used its pressure defense to rally from a 10-point halftime deficit.
The Yellow Jackets reached the final for the first time since losing to Duke in 2005.