Georgia Tech (17-12) makes its return to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 8 seed in the West Region at Cox Arena in San Diego, Calif. Tech opens the Tournament with a first round matchup with No. 9 seed St. Joseph’s (25-6), the regular season champion of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Tech finished the regular season at 16-11 overall and 8-8 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, finishing in fifth place. The Yellow Jackets then picked up a 74-69 win over 12th-ranked Virginia in the ACC Tournament before falling to 5th-ranked North Carolina, 70-63, in a game that was not decided until the final 30 seconds.
St. Joseph’s, ranked 23rd in ESPN/USA Today poll, will be Tech’s 13th ranked opponent at the time of the game, but the Yellow Jackets have played a total of 16 games against teams that are now ranked in the Top 25.
Tech is led by the inside-outside duo of All-ACC center Alvin Jones and junior point guard Tony Akins. Akins leads the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game along with 4.2 assists, while Jones, who earned second-team all-ACC Tournament honors, averages a double-double with 13.6 points and an ACC-leading 10.3 rebounds. Senior guard Shaun Fein, 6-3, also averages 13.6 points per game. Freshman forward Marvin Lewis, 6-3, (8.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game) and 6-7 senior forward Jon Babul (5.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game) complete the starting lineup.
Tech in the NCAA Tournament
Earning its first NCAA berth since reaching the Sweet 16 in 1996, Georgia Tech has a record of 16-11 in 11 NCAA appearances. The Yellow Jackets, who played in nine straight NCAA Tournaments from 1985-93, have reached the Sweet 16 six times (1960, 1985, 1986, 1990, 1992, 1996), the Elite Eight twice (1985, 1990) and the Final Four once (1990).
Tech’s No. 8 seed equals its lowest ever. In 1991, the Jackets were seeded 8th and won a first-round game over DePaul before falling to top-seeded Ohio State by just four points. In 11 previous NCAA appearances, Tech has been a No. 2 seed twice (1985, 1986), a No. 3 once (1996), a No. 4 twice (1990, 1993), a No. 5 once (1988), a No. 6 once (1987), a No. 7 twice (1987, 1992) and a No. 8 once.
Tech is making just its second trip to the West Region. In 1993, the Yellow Jackets were seeded fourth in the West after winning the ACC Tournament but fell to Southern, 93-78, at Tucson, Ariz.
This year’s squad will be only the second of Tech’s 12 NCAA teams not coached by Bobby Cremins.
Georgia Tech vs. St. Joseph’s
Georgia Tech and St. Joseph’s will be meeting for the first time.The two teams have no common opponents this season.
Tech’s Paul Hewitt and St. Joseph’s Phil Martelli were named Coach of the Year in their respective conferences. Hewitt is quite familiar with the St. Joseph’s program from his days in Philadelphia as an assistant coach at Big Five-rival Villanova, where Hewitt served five seasons from 1993-97. In his final season with the Wildcats, Hewitt recruited and coached Marvin O’Connor, who transferred to St. Joseph’s after one season and is now the Hawks’ leading scorer.
Seventeen Games vs. The NCAA Field
Georgia Tech played a total of 17 games–more than half of its schedule–against teams in the NCAA field, posting a 7-10 record. Five of the 17 games were against conference champions, and seven contests were against teams that earned a No. 1 or No. 2 seed.
Tech defeated Virginia three times and also recorded wins over Maryland, Wake Forest, Kentucky and UCLA, while losing to Duke twice and North Carolina three times as well as once each to Maryland, Wake Forest, Stanford, Iowa and Georgia.
Paul Hewitt in the NCAA Tournament
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt is taking his second team in three years to the Big Dance. In 1999 in his second season at Siena, Hewitt guided the Saints to the MAAC title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Siena was a No. 13 seed in the West Region at Denver, Colo., and fell to No. 4 seed Arkansas, 94-80.
Hewitt also made four trips to the NCAA Tournament as an assistant coach at Fordham in 1992 and three straight years at Villanova from 1995-97.
Hewitt Named ACC Coach of the Year
After leading Georgia Tech to the NCAA Tournament in his first season, head coach Paul Hewitt has been named Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year in voting by the Atlantic Coast Sportswriters Association. Hewitt’s club was picked to finish eighth in the ACC but ended up fifth with an 8-8 mark, along with a 17-12 overall record.
Hewitt’s selection is the fourth for a Tech coach. His predecessor, Bobby Cremins, won the award in 1983, 1985 and 1996.
The only other coaches to win the ACC Coach of the Year Award in their rookie seasons were Press Maravich of NC State in 1965 and North Carolina’s Bill Guthridge in 1998. Hewitt edged another first-year coach, UNC’s Matt Doherty, for this year’s honor.
Hewitt is a finalist for the Naismith College Coach of the Year Award, given by the Atlanta Tip-Off club.
Jones Named All-ACC, All-Defensive
Center Alvin Jones was named to the five-member all-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team, as selected by the Atlantic Coast Sportswriters Association.
Jones is the eighth different Yellow Jacket to earn first-team all-ACC honors but the first center. The only other Tech center to receive an all-ACC recognition was John Salley, who was named to the second-team in 1986.
Jones was also named to the ACC All-Defensive Team for the fourth straight year.
Tony Akins and Shaun Fein were both named honorable mention all-ACC.
A Look at Tech’s Record
Tech has five wins over ranked teams – Virginia three times,Maryland and Wake Forest. Three of those wins came when the teamswere ranked in the Top 10 (both vs. Virginia, first meeting vs.Wake Forest). Tech was 4-1 head-to-head against Virginia andMaryland, the two teams directly ahead of the Jackets in the ACCstandings. Tech is 6-2 at home in conference play, 2-6 on the road(wins vs. Virginia and Clemson). Tech is the only team to win atVirginia, which is 13-1 at home. Tech’s 2-8 overall on the roadthis season includes losses at Iowa, Stanford, Maryland, NC State,North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke and Florida State. All but NCState and Florida State are or have been in the top 25. Includingneutral courts, Tech is 6-9 away from home. Half of Tech’s lossesthis season-six of the 12-have come against teams who have held theNo. 1 ranking at some point during this season – Stanford, NorthCarolina (three times) and Duke (twice).
Fein in the NCAA Tournament
No current Yellow Jacket has been to the Big Dance, but Shaun Fein has actually played in the NCAA Tournament . . . for Division II. A transfer from Stonehill College in North Easton, Mass., Fein led his squad to a victory New Hampshire College in the NCAA Northeast Regional before their season was ended by a double-overtime loss to Saint Rose in the regional final. Ironically, those games were played at Siena College, where Paul Hewitt was the head coach.
Fein earned Division II all-America honors that year and was the conference Player of the Year.
Hewitt Ties Mundorf
Georgia Tech’s 17 wins this season under Paul Hewitt equals Roy Mundorf for the most wins ever by a first-year coach at Tech. Mundorf led the Yellow Jackets to a 17-10 mark in 1926-27.
Hewitt is the fourth Tech coach to enjoy a winning season in his first year, joining Mundorf, Dwight Keith (14-4 in 1943-44) and Roy McArthur (12-11 in 1946-47).
Road Jinx Ends
After losing 16 straight road games over three seasons, Georgia Tech scored a 73-68 win at 10th-ranked Virginia on Jan. 9. That victory snapped a losing streak that dated back to Feb. 11, 1999, when the Jackets defeated Florida State, 111-108, in double-OT in Tallahassee. The string included 11 ACC games. Tech was the only team that won this year at Virginia, which posted a 13-1 mark at University Hall.
The Yellow Jackets then won at Clemson for the first time since 1993.
Including neutral courts, Tech is 6-9 away from home, including wins over Kentucky and UCLA on neutral courts.
Having depended on its capable three-point shooters this season, Georgia Tech ranks 2nd in the ACC and among the Top 10 nationally in three-point field goals per game (8.86). The Jackets are third in the ACC in three-point percentage (37.5 overall, 37.1 in ACC games).
Two Tech players rank officially among the ACC’s top 10 in three-point field goal percentage, led by Tony Akins (3rd, 42.3), and followed by Shaun Fein (6th, 40.4). Freshmen Marvin Lewis (37.5 percent from three) and Halston Lane (38.8) have shot well but do not have enough attempts to make the league rankings.
Shooting and Defense
Georgia Tech is 5-1 this season when it has topped the 50-percent mark from the field, is 6-0 when scoring 90 points or more and 9-1 when scoring 80 or more.
At the same time, the key to Tech’s ability to win this year has been defense. So far this year, Tech is 14-1 when holding opponents under 70 points, and 10-0 when holding them under 40 percent on field goals. The Jackets held NC State to 31.7 percent on Feb. 17, and Virginia to under 40 in all three meetings, all wins for Tech. Tech is 7-12 when its opponent has shot 40 percent or higher.
Tech ranks fourth in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (40.8) and second in three-point defense (32.3).
Shaun Fein made his final home game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum one to remember with 22 points against Clemson. After missing his first six shots, he went 7-for-10 after that, including three treys, and went 5-for-5 at the free throw line for his highest scoring game since Tech’s first meeting with Clemson (23 points).
He punctuated the performance with his first career dunk on a breakaway with 1:54 left.
The senior guard has posted 20-point games against three ACC opponents, vs. Virginia (25) and both Clemson games. All were Tech wins. He has reached double figures in 20 of 29 games this season, and Tech is 13-7 in those games, 6-4 in the ACC.
He struggled with his shooting for most of Tech’s two ACC Tournament games before hitting three second-half treys against North Carolina, including one that brought the Jackets within one point with 48 seconds left.
An honorable mention all-ACC selection, Fein ranks 13th in the ACC in scoring at 13.6 points per game. He also ranks 6th in three-point percentage (40.4) and 5th in three-pointers per game (2.48).
He also ranks 5th in three-point percentage in ACC games at 40.9 percent. That includes a 7-of-9 performance at Clemson, which tied a career high for threes in an ACC game.
One of Tech’s best ballhandlers, Fein has just 40 turnovers in 29 games and has played without committing a turnover seven times this season. He has one turnover for every 19.5 minutes played overall.
Fein made the all-tournament team in the Stanford Invitational by averaging 18.5 points, making 14 of 18 field goal attempts and 7 of 9 from three-point range. He scored 24 in the championship game against Stanford, making 6 of 8 from three-point range and 9 of 13 overall.
Akins Ain’t Achin’
Since the calendar turned to February, Georgia Tech point guard Tony Akins has stepped up his play, averaging 18.4 points in 10 games. He led Tech in scoring for seven of those.
The 5-11 junior has shot 50.0 percent from the floor (61-122), 47.8 percent from three-point range (33-69) and 74.4 percent from the free throw line (29-39).
Akins has scored in double figures in 11 straight games since going scoreless against Clemson on Jan. 24, the first scoreless game of his career.
For the season, Akins averages 14.5 points and 4.2 assists, and is shooting 44.3 percent from the floor and 42.3 from three-point range. All except his assist average are career bests. He ranks 3rd in the ACC in three-point percentage, and 4th in three-point field goals per game (2.66).
The Lilburn, Ga., native enjoyed perhaps his best game of the season in Tech’s second meeting with Maryland, matching his season high with 28 points (8-of-11 FG, 3-of-3 3FG, 9-of-12 FT) with four assists and four rebounds. Against Virginia, he snuffed out the Cavaliers’ Donald Hand, who went 0-for-9 from the floor, scored just 2 points and had 6 turnovers.
Akins, an honorable mention all-ACC selection, added a strong performance in the ACC Tournament, averaging 16.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists while hitting nine treys in the two games
Babul is the Rock
Jon Babul has been called ‘the glue’; and ‘the rock’; of Georgia Tech’s team by Wake Forest coach Dave Odom.
The 6-7 senior stepped forward in conference play this season, averaging 6.8 points and 3.9 rebounds and getting almost 40 percent of his points at the free throw line (40-of-53, 75.5 percent). He has committed just 28 turnovers, a team low which translates into one every 20.8 minutes.
In the 10 games of the regular season, Babul averaged 7.2 points and 4.4 rebounds, hitting 23 of 45 field goals (51.1 percent) and dishing out 13 assists. Left open on many occasions against Virginia, Babul scored nine points, including a critical second-half three-pointer. He hit two more treys against Duke, and has five for the season.
Undersized for a power forward, Babul turned in the best game of his career against an ACC team at Clemson, scoring 14 points in Georgia Tech’s 111-108 victory. Babul went 5-of-7 from the floor, including a three-pointer, and 3-for-3 from the free throw line. He also matched a season high with six rebounds and dished three assists before fouling out.
Fittingly, he helped seal Tech’s ACC Tournament win over Virginia by hitting two free throws with 18 seconds left that extened Tech’s lead to four points. Babul is one of Tech’s best free throw shooters, hitting 80 percent from the line. He has scored 41.2 percent of his points from the free throw line, highest on the team.
Jones Gets 1,000 on the Boards
Alvin Jones has become only the second player in Georgia Tech history to accumulate 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his career. His 14 rebounds against NC State (Feb. 17) put him over the milestone and alongside Malcolm Mackey (1990-93) as the only two Tech players to accomplish the feat.
Jones stands second in career rebounds at Tech and 17th in ACC history with 1,063. He is also 19th in Tech history with 1,304 points. Mackey finished his career with 1,734 points and 1,205 rebounds.
Jones, who leads the ACC in rebounding with 10.3 per game, has had double figure rebounds in 15 of 29 games, with a high of 18 against North Carolina, one off his career best the most by any ACC player this season.
Jones Joins Select ACC Company
Alvin Jones is only the fourth player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to surpass 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 400 blocked shots in a career. The first three were Clemson’s Tree Rollins, Virginia’s Ralph Sampson and Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan.
The 6-11 senior has risen to 17th all-time among ACC players in rebounds at 1,063. He needs just five rebounds to jump two places into the 15th position.
Alvin Jones is enjoying his finest season as a Yellow Jacket, capped by his selection to the all-ACC first team as well as the ACC all-defensive team.
The 6-11 senior leads the ACC in rebounding at 10.3 per game (10.7 in ACC games), which ranks 11th in the nation. He has reached double digits in rebounds in nine of the last 11 games, averaging 12.8 during that stretch. That includes an 18-board effort at North Carolina, the most by any ACC player this year.
Jones has led the Jackets in scoring seven times this season, and is third on Tech’s squad and 14th in the ACC with a 13.6 points per game average (13.1 in ACC games).
He is one of only three ACC players (Joseph Forte of North Carolina and Delvon Arrington of Florida State are the others) to have led their teams in scoring, rebounding and assists in a single game this season. Jones turned the trick at Clemson with 26 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
Alvin Jones is the ACC’s career leader among active players in double-doubles with 32, having done it six times in the last 11 games and eight times against ACC opposition this year, most recently a 20-point, 12-rebound effort against Virginia in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals.
Jones also notched double-doubles in both games against Wake Forest (17 points/10 rebounds and 11 points/13 rebounds), both games against Maryland (15/14 and 11/11) and also against North Carolina (16 points, 18 rebounds), Florida State (26 points, 14 rebounds) and NC State (13 points, 14 rebounds).
Akins Third Tech Player With 1,000 Points
Tony Akins went over the 1,000-point plateau for his career at Wake Forest on Feb. 14, the 32nd Tech player to do so all-time. He now has 1,114 in two-plus seasons (28th in Tech history), joining Alvin Jones in passing the milestone this year.
Alvin Jones went over the 1,000-point barrier for his career on Dec. 6 against Georgia, becoming the 31st Tech player to do so. The 6-11 senior center has 1,304 career points (19th in Tech history).
Three players on Tech’s current team have 1,000 career points. Shaun Fein, including two years at Stonehill College, has 1,683.
Lane Comes Up Big in Wins
Freshman Halston Lane continues to come up big in big games for Georgia Tech. In Tech’s last three ACC wins of the regular season, the 6-4 rookie has come off the bench to score 15 points against No. 6 Virginia, 13 against NC State and eight against Clemson.
The Oak Ridge, Tenn., native averaged 11.1 points and shot 58.0 percent (29-of-50) in Tech’s eight ACC wins this season.
On Feb. 17 against NC State, Lane scored five of his 13 points in a key second-half stretch in which the Yellow Jackets came from a 35-32 deficit to lead 42-35. Lane’s layup and free throw tied the game at 35-35, and he added a pair of foul shots to put the Jackets ahead, 37-35, and assisted on a subsequent basket by Alvin Jones for a 39-35 lead. He hit 4-of-6 field goals and 4-of-6 free throws in the game.
Lane hit 6-of-10 field goals to help Georgia Tech to a 62-56 win over the No. 6 Cavaliers. He scored 7 of his points in the final five minutes of the game while the Jackets were holding the Cavaliers to just four points during that stretch.
All of Lane’s biggest games this season have come in key wins against important opponents, starting with 9 against UCLA on Dec. 2. He scored 23 vs. Kentucky, 10 in the first meeting at Virginia, 21 in a win over Wake Forest, 17 at Clemson and 15 in the second meeting with Virginia. Only two of his eight double figure scoring efforts have come in Tech losses (11 vs. North Carolina on Jan. 2 and 12 vs. Duke on Feb. 21).
A Case for the Defense
Georgia Tech has held 32 of its last 35 opponents under 50 percent. Only Clemson (51.7 percent on Jan. 24), Wake Forest (50 percent on Feb. 14) and Florida State (51.0 percent on Feb. 28) have managed to hit the mark against the Jackets in that stretch.
This season, Georgia Tech has held 12 opponents under 40 percent shooting from the floor, including all three meetings with Virginia this season (35.1, 38.6 and 35.8), NC State (31.7 percent) on Feb. 17.
Tech has twice held opponents under 30 percent this season: UCLA managed just 28.6 percent in Tech’s 72-67 win, and Wofford with 25.5 percent in the season opener, and came close to that with Idaho State (30.6) and Harvard (30.1).
Tech has defended the perimeter well. Twelve opponents have managed no better than 30 percent from three-point range, including Stanford (6-of-20), North Carolina (4-of-14 and 4-of-14), Maryland (3-of-13), Virginia (6-of-25 and 3-of-18), Wake Forest (4-of-19), NC State (4-of-18) and Clemson (5-of-19).
For the season, Tech has allowed opponents just 40.8 percent from the floor and 32.3 percent from three-point range, 2nd in the ACC.
All is Fein in the End
Four times this season, all in big games, Shaun Fein scored arguably the biggest basket of the game, most recently against 13th-ranked Maryland.
Fein nailed a three-point field goal at the 2:39 mark that gave the Yellow Jackets a 64-60 lead over the Terrapins in a game Tech would win 72-62. The shot followed two key plays on the defensive end for Fein, who blocked a baseline jumper by Juan Dixon and stripped the ball from Terence Morris.
Earlier, on Jan. 13, he came up with a running one-hander and foul shot with 43 seconds left against No. 6 Wake Forest. His three-point play put Tech ahead 80-78 in a game the Jackets won 95-89 in overtime.
His three-point basket as the shot clock hit zero at No. 10 Virginia gave the Jackets a 71-65 lead with 48 seconds left in the 73-68 win. On Dec. 9, he sank the game-winning field goal from the left baseline with 1.3 seconds left as Tech downed Kentucky, 86-84.
Big Wins Dot First Season Under Hewitt
In its first season under head coach Paul Hewitt, Georgia Tech has accomplished much, not the least of which was its first victory at Clemson since 1993, two conference wins on the road after 16 straight losses and five wins over ranked teams.
Tech has defeated three teams ranked in the Top 10 at the time (Virginia twice and Wake Forest) for the first time since the 1993-94 season, and had its most conference victories (8) since 1996.
Georgia Tech opened some eyes by defeating two of the nation’s all-time best programs, Kentucky and UCLA, in December. But the Yellow Jackets made the entire country take notice with their performance against No. 10 Virginia and No. 6 Wake Forest in back-to-back games in January, and again with their consecutive wins over 13th-ranked Maryland on Feb. 6 and No. 6 Virginia on Feb. 11.
For the first time since the 1985 ACC Tournament, Tech upended two Top-10 teams in back-to-back games with its win at Virginia (73-68) on Jan. 9 and a 95-89 win over No. 6 Wake Forest Jan. 13. Tech had not beaten two teams ranked in the Top 25 in consecutive games since February of 1996, defeating 12th-ranked North Carolina and 8th-ranked Wake Forest.
Jones Hits Record Free Throw Mark
Alvin Jones is the all-time leading free throw shooter, in terms of attempts, at Georgia Tech.
The 6-11 senior, who has attempted 713 charity tosses in his career and made 410 (6th on the all-time list), broke the record for attempts on Feb. 14 at Wake Forest, passing the mark of 675 set by Matt Harpring from 1995-98. Harpring also holds the Tech record for free throws made (508).
For the second straight season, Jones has attempted more free throws (218) than any ACC player.
Jones Causes High Attrition Rate
Nine post men have fouled out guarding Alvin Jones this season, most recently Travis Watson of Virginia in the ACC Tournament. The list also includes Watson during the regular season, Jared Reiner of Iowa, Marvin Stone of Kentucky, Michael Canady of Morgan State, Lonny Baxter of Maryland, Ray Henderson of Clemson, and Mike Mathews and David Anderson of Florida State.
Another group of seven players, including Anthony Evans of Georgia, Doug Silva of Idaho State, Onnie Mayshak of Harvard, Brendan Haywood of North Carolina, Baxter (on Jan. 6), Shoemaker and Carlos Boozer of Duke, have finished the game with four fouls each.
In two games vs. Tech, Baxter scored a total of 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting from the floor and 2-of-4 from the line. Jones held Haywood to just seven points in the two regular season games against North Carolina.
One-Man SWAT Team
Alvin Jones, who broke Georgia Tech’s career blocked shot record late in his sophomore season, rejected eight shots against Maryland on Jan. 6, a season high and a career high against an ACC opponent.
The 6-11 senior has had at least one block in every game this season and averages 3.44 per game (3.19 in ACC games), which ranks 9th nationally. He has failed to block a shot only five times his entire career, three last season and two as a sophomore.
It took only 60 games for Jones to become Tech’s all-time leader, breaking the record of John Salley (243 from 1983-86) late in his sophomore season. He now has 424 rejections in 123 games, fourth on the ACC list, for a career average of 3.45 per game.
Bench a Necessary Component for Tech
Playing with a 10-man rotation this year, Georgia Tech has come to rely more on its bench for scoring. Tech is getting 20.4 points per game from its reserves this season, roughly 25 percent of its total scoring output.
The Yellow Jackets got 35 and 38 from the bench in their two games with Clemson, the team’s best efforts of the season behind a 39-point night in Tech’s 86-84 win over Kentucky in December.
When the Jackets win, the bench average is 24.5. In losses, the bench has averaged 14.7. Tech is 11-4 this season when its bench outscores the opposition’s reserves, 6-8 when it does not.
Different Guy Every Night
Tech has had six different players lead the team in scoring this season, another design of the Yellow Jackets’ style of play.
Tony Akins has topped Tech in 11 games, including seven of the last 10 games. Alvin Jones has led Tech eight times, including four straight games against NC State, Duke, Clemson and Florida State.
Shaun Fein has led Tech on seven occasions, including his 22-point effort against Clemson on Senior Day, which was the first time since Jan. 9 at Virginia, and most recently with 18 points against North Carolina in the ACC Tournament. Jon Babul is the only starter who has not led Tech in scoring in a game this season.
Three times this season, Tech has been led in scoring by a reserve, and the Jackets won each time. Halston Lane came off the bench to score 21 points in Tech’s first meeting against Wake Forest and had 23 against Kentucky. Darryl LaBarrie led the Jackets with 13 points against Idaho State.
With the Assist
All of Tech’s players have participated in the Yellow Jackets’ high scoring efforts not just by scoring, but by distributing the ball.
Tech’s average of 16.44 assists per game ranks 4th in the ACC. Its percentage of assists to field goals (63.0) is second in the ACC. Tech’s season high is 31 on 34 field goals vs. Morgan State.
Only three Tech teams have ever assisted on as many as 65 percent of the team’s field goals for an entire season.
You Can’t Stop Him …
… You can only hope to contain him. Darryl LaBarrie continues to give Georgia Tech offense off the bench, averaging 5.2 points on 46.5 percent shooting this season.
Though he ranks 7th on the team in scoring average, he ranks 5th in points per 40 minutes (15.1).
He gave the Yellow Jackets a lift in the ACC Tournament by averaging 11.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in the two games. He poured in 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting in the quarterfinal win over Virginia, in which he scored 12 of his 13 points in the second half, including a three-pointer with 1:31 left gave put Tech ahead for good at 69-67. He then contributed nine points, four rebounds and a career-high (at Tech) five assists in the semifinals against North Carolina.
The 6-3 senior started the season averaging 6.0 points in the first three games, then went scoreless in three straight games and didn’t get off the bench against Kentucky.
Since then, LaBarrie has given the Jackets a 13-point effort against Idaho State, 14 against Morgan State, a career-high 15 against No. 17 Maryland and 7 points at No. 10 Virginia. He canned 7-of-8 field goals against the Terps and played 23 minutes, the second highest of his career, then hit 3-of-5 against Virginia. He scored 7 points, including a key basket at the 1:05 mark and three free throws at Clemson, and added 4 and 6, respectively, in Tech’s wins over Maryland and Virginia.
Vines Solid off the Bench
T.J. Vines matched a career high against an ACC team with 12 points against Clemson on Feb. 25, hitting 5 of 8 shots (2-of-4 from three). Vines has averaged 5.6 points and shot 11-for-24 from the floor in his last five games after going 0-for-11 in the four games prior to that.
Against NC State, he hit 2-of-4 from the floor, both field goals coming on layups in the final minute of the first half to give Tech a 31-29 lead at halftime over NC State. Vines also scored 8 at Wake Forest, 9 at Clemson and has a 10-point game against Duke to his credit. He had five points in Tech’s ACC quarterfinal win over Virginia, and then three points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal in the semifinals against North Carolina.
The 5-10 senior isn’t counted on for scoring normally, but he provides lots of intangibles to help Georgia Tech. In fact, Vines has been scoreless in eight games this season, but had 22 assists and nine steals in those games.
The Woodstock, Ga., native has averaged 4.0 points and 1.9 assists this season. He is also the most tenacious defender Tech has on the perimeter, and leads the team with 39 steals.
Tech Fights Uphill Battle on Boards
Rebounding has been a problem for Georgia Tech this season because of its size aside from the 6-11 Alvin Jones, but the Yellow Jackets have held their own on the boards most of the time. Tech won or played even in the battle of the boards in six of 16 ACC games: Virginia (39-35), Wake Forest (40-39), Duke (37-37 and 45-42), Florida State (35-34) and NC State (39-38).
The teams who have gained a significant advantage on the boards against Tech were Iowa, Stanford, North Carolina (both regular season meetings), Maryland (first meeting) and NC State, which coincidentally resulted in its biggest margins of defeat, the Duke games notwithstanding.
Tech’s struggles are most pronounced on the offensive glass, where the Rambling Wreck has gotten just 11.6 per game this season, which ranks next-to-last in the league. The Jackets did their best jobs on the offensive glass at North Carolina (17) and at Duke (18), but both were losses.
Jones, averaging 10.3 rebounds per game, leads the ACC.
Georgia Tech’s roster includes five seniors in Alvin Jones, Shaun Fein, Jon Babul, T.J. Vines and Darryl LaBarrie. That represents Tech’s largest senior class since the 1975-76 season, when the roster included seven seniors.
Tech also has the most senior starters in the ACC, with three on the lineup for a total of 89 starts. Duke has the next most with 65.
Lewis Shows Poise Beyond Years
Freshman Marvin Lewis has grabbed a starting role and made the most of it, averaging 8.9 points and 4.5 rebounds while making 37.5 percent of his three-point field goal attempts. He ranks third among ACC freshmen in both scoring and rebounding.
The 6-3 freshman, playing small forward for the Jackets, helped lift the Jackets over Clemson on Feb. 25 with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor. It was his highest scoring game since getting 15 in a Tech win ov
er Wake Forest on Jan. 13. Among his top games this year have been 13 and 11 in wins over Clemson and Florida State in January, and 12 against No. 13 Maryland on Feb. 6. He went scoreless against NC State for the first time this year, but did an excellent defensive job on Damien Wilkins, helping hold the Wolfpack’s second-leading scorer to just 2 points.
Named ACC Rookie of the Week four times, he is second among conference freshmen in scoring, and third in rebounding and assists. Lewis would 2nd in free throw percentage (87.8) among all players, but falls just below the ACC minimums to be listed. He has made 88.9 percent of his free throws (24 of 27) in ACC games.
He has reached double figures in 15 games overall this season, with a season high of 22 against Davidson (6-of-7 from three-point range). Despite a height disadvantage, Lewis has reached double figures in rebounds three, recording 10 each against Wofford, UCLA and Duke, and has led the Jackets in five games. His 4.5 rebounds per game is second on the team only to Alvin Jones.
Lewis came to Tech from Montrose Christian School in Germantown, Md., where he was coached by Stu Vetter, who was the high school coach of former Tech great Dennis Scott, Tech’s all-time three-point field goal leader.
Georgia Tech has gotten solid contributions from its freshmen this season, with Marvin Lewis grabbing a starting role and forwards Robert Brooks and Halston Lane making contributions off the bench.
The ACC’s Rookie of the Week honor has gone to a Tech freshman seven times this season. Lewis earned the recognition four times, most recently on Jan. 29, and Lane garnered the honor for the third time on Feb. 13. No one else has received the honor more than twice.
Brooks, a 6-9 native of Saginaw, Mich., has given the Jackets much-needed help on the front line, averaging 3.1 rebounds with 11 blocks and 15 steals while shooting 50.0 percent from the floor. Having gained 20 pounds to 215 since his arrival at Tech, Brooks is averaging almost 15 minutes off the bench.
Lane, a 6-4 native of Oak Ridge, Tenn., leads the Tech reserves in scoring (fifth overall) with 6.8 points per game, has shot 38.8 percent from three-point range and 74.5 percent from the free throw line. He was named ACC Rookie of the Week three times.
Shootout vs. Clemson Set Records
In a shootout that was the fifth-highest scoring game ever between two Atlantic Coast Conference teams, Georgia Tech defeated Clemson, 111-108, for its first win in eight tries at Littlejohn Coliseum since Mar. 7, 1993.
The combined 219 points matched the highest ever for an ACC game involving Tech, tying marks for points scored and given up set in a 111-108, double-overtime Tech win over Florida State in 1999.
The Yellow Jackets set a school record for three-point baskets in a game, hitting 17 in 31 attempts (54.5 percent), one shy of the ACC mark. That included 13 in the first half as Tech took a 59-53 lead into the locker room.
Most Points by Two ACC Teams
234 Maryland 124, NC State 110 1979231 Wake Forest 122, Duke 109 1975225 Duke 114, Maryland 111 (ot) 1990221 NC State 121, Wake Forest 100 1966219 Georgia Tech 111, Clemson 108 2001219 Georgia Tech 111, Florida State 108 (2 ot) 1999219 NC State 130, Wake Forest 89 1983
Moore to Seek Medical Red-shirt
Sophomore forward Clarence Moore, who fractured a bone in his leftfoot in early September and returned to play against UCLA, will sitout the remainder of the 2000-01 season and seek a medicalred-shirt.
The 6-4 sophomore sustained the injury in a pickup game on Sept. 3. He was in a hard cast for three weeks after surgery to place a pin in the bone. Moore, who played in five games and averaged 1.4 points and 1.2 rebounds in December, has not played since the Stanford Invitational and underwent a second operation on Feb. 15.
Ten Players in Rotation
Tech has started the same five players in every game but one this season: 5-11 junior Tony Akins and 6-3 senior Shaun Fein at the guards, 6-3 freshman Marvin Lewis and 6-7 senior Jon Babul at the forwards, and 6-11 senior Alvin Jones at center.
The one exception was Tech’s final home game against Clemson when head coach Paul Hewitt started all five Yellow Jacket seniors, replacing Akins and Lewis in the lineup with T.J. Vines and Darryl LaBarrie.
Hewitt has used a regular rotation of 10 players, with all of them averaging at least nine minutes a game, and actually used 11 while sophomore forward Clarence Moore was in the lineup.
Dialing Long Distance
Georgia Tech owns the third-longest active streak in the nation for consecutive games with at least one three-point field goal. Tech’s streak has reached 440 games. The last team to hold the Jackets without a three-point field goal was Virginia in the 1987 ACC Tournament.
UNLV, Vanderbilt and Princeton are the only schools to have at least one three-pointer in every game since the rule was put in for the 1986-87 season.
Consecutive Games Scoring a Three-Point Field Goal (March 4)
475-UNLV, Nov. 26, 1986 to present
472-Vanderbilt, Nov. 28, 1986 to present
440-Georgia Tech, March 13, 1987 to present
438-Kentucky, Nov. 28, 1988 to present
412-Princeton, Nov. 29, 1986 to present
Four Tech players have posted perfect shooting games from the floor this season with at least five field goal attempts. Robert Brooks added his name to the list by going 5-for-5 for 10 points against Wake Forest Feb. 14.
Alvin Jones hit all seven of his field goal attempts against Morgan State and scored 17 points. Against Idaho State, Shaun Fein and Darryl LaBarrie each went 5-for-5 from the floor. Fein’s total included one three-point attempt and two free throws (13 points), while LaBarrie canned two treys and was 1-for-2 from the line (13 points) in his performance off the bench.
Tech Signs Five Early
Georgia Tech signed five players during the November early signing period. Joining the fold will be 6-4 guard Barry Elder of Madison, Ga., 6-6 forward Isma’il Muhammad of Atlanta, 6-7 forward Ed Nelson of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 6-10 center Michael Southall of West Salem, Wis., and 6-6 guard Anthony Vasser of Birmingham, Ala.
From the Left …
For the second year in a row, Georgia Tech features three left-handed players on its roster. Tony Akins, Clarence Moore and Halston Lane all shoot left-handed. Last season, Akins, Moore and Jason Collier were the southpaws on the squad.
Akins is the third left-handed point guard Tech has had in the last 10 years, following Kenny Anderson and Travis Best.
Georgia Tech’s basketball roster, which for the fourth consecutive year is without a player from New York, has taken on a very home-state and Southern look.
Of the 13 players on Tech’s roster, six are native Georgians, all from metropolitan Atlanta. Senior Alvin Jones is from Florida, freshman Clarence Moore is from Louisiana and freshman Halston Lane is from Tennessee.
Jon Babul (North Attleboro, Mass.), Shaun Fein (Centerville, Mass.), Marvin Lewis (Germantown, Md.) and Robert Brooks (Saginaw, Mich.) are the only Jackets not from the Southeastern United States.
Non-Conference Streak Snapped at 13
Georgia Tech’s 75-70 loss to Georgia on Dec. 6 snapped the Yellow Jackets’ 13-game winning streak against non-conference teams at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center.
Georgia Tech is 117-5 against non-conference opposition at Alexander Memorial Coliseum since the beginning of the 1981-82 season. The only non-conference teams to win at the Thrillerdome during that period are Georgia (Dec. 6, 2000), Penn State (March 18, 1998) Richmond (Dec. 22, 1987), Louisville (Jan. 15, 1989) and the College of Charleston (Jan. 16, 1993).
Tech in the Thrillerdome
Georgia Tech is finishing its 45th season at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center in 2000-01, and the Yellow Jackets were 11-3 on their home court this season. The Jackets have a record of 445-150 (.747) in the facility, which opened Nov. 30, 1956 with a 71-61 Tech loss to Duke.
Since the beginning of the 1981-82 season, Tech is 208-50 (.805) in its on-campus home, including an 11-3 mark last season. The Jackets are 117-5 against non-conference opponents at the Thrillerdome since 1981-82.
For more information on the 2001 NCAA Tournament, visit FinalFour.net