Georgia Tech Basketball Visits NC State
Yellow Jackets and Wolfpack tip at 6:30 p.m. Sunday [ESPNU] in Raleigh, N.C.
THE FLATS - Georgia Tech begins its longest road stretch of the season Sunday night when it visits NC State for a nationally-televised Atlantic Coast Conference contest at 6:30 p.m. at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.
Tech (10-6, 2-2 ACC), in its first season under head coach Josh Pastner, has played its first four ACC games even following a 75-63 victory over Clemson Thursday night. The Yellow Jackets also have a win over No. 9 North Carolina on its resume. Tech is in a group of seven teams at 2-2 in the conference, tied for fourth place.
NC State (12-5, 1-3 ACC) is coming off a 74-66 loss at Boston College Wednesday night, and is tied with two other teams for 12th place in the ACC standings entering the weekend. The Wolfpack, whose only ACC win was an impressive 104-78 decision over Virginia Tech at home, is 10-0 at PNC Arena this season.
Sunday's game will be televised nationally on ESPNU, the first of three Sunday night appearances on the network for the Yellow Jackets, and will be streamed live online through the WatchESPN app. Radio coverage is provided by Tech's flagship station, 680 the Fan (680 AM/93.7 FM), and is available via satellite radio (Sirius ch. 83, XM ch. 193).
Georgia Tech is on the road for its next three games (at NC State, Virginia Tech and Virginia) over a seven-day period, its longest road stretch of the season.
Tech is even through four ACC games for the first time since the 2010-11 season. The Yellow Jackets started the ACC schedule 3-2 in 2009-10.
Three keys for Tech - The Jackets have won every game this season (10-0) in which they shot a better percentage from the floor, are 9-0 when scoring 70 points and 9-1 when attempting more free throws than the opponent.
Josh Okogie's 224 points through 16 games (averaging 16.3 in ACC games) are the most for a Yellow Jacket freshman since Thaddeus Young piled up 225 through his first 16 games in 2006-07, and he has 12 double-digit efforts.
Ben Lammers and Josh Okogie combined for 36 points against Clemson, 39 Saturday against Louisville, and an average of 33 through Tech's first four ACC games. They have accounted for 51.4 percent of Tech's points in ACC games.
PASTNER AUDIO FROM FRIDAY MEDIA SESSION
NC State has a 56-38 lead in the overall series which dates back to 1925. Georgia Tech snapped a five-game skid in the series with last year's 90-83 victory at PNC Arena. Prior to that five-game skid, Tech had won six of nine meetings.
Owing to the ACC's most recent expansion, Tech and NC State have met just once each of the last three seasons.
Seventeen of the last 21 meetings in the series have been decided by 10 points or less, with three of those decided in overtime.
Tech is 22-17 against the Wolfpack in Atlanta, including one home-court meeting that was played at the Omni in 1986 and one at Philips Arena in 2012. NC State has won both games played at McCamish Pavilion.
Since it joined the ACC, Tech is 30-42 against NC State, including regular-season and tournament.
The Jackets are 10-31 against NC State in Raleigh, including a 3-11 mark at PNC Arena.
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).
PASTNER ON TECH'S DEFENSE AGAINST CLEMSON
"I thought our defense was really good. You look at the numbers, we held them to 36 percent from the field and 29 [percent] from three so, defensively, we were really good tonight. The second half, I think they had maybe six offensive rebounds in the first half and we held them to [one] offensive rebounds in the second half, so we did a good job on the glass. Plus-11 [rebounding margin] -- that was big."
After dropping 10 games in a row to Clemson in the series, Tech has now won four of the past six and the last three in a row.
Tech started Heath, Lammers, Moore, Okogie and Stephens for the second straight game. It is the fifth different starting lineup used by the Jackets this season. Three Yellow Jackets -- Ben Lammers, Josh Okogie and Quinton Stephens -- have started every game this season.
Tech led at the half for the 10th time this season (32-30), but for the first time in an ACC game. The Yellow Jackets are 9-1 when leading at the half this season.
Tech led Clemson for 35 minutes and nine seconds of the game, and for the final 12:52, stretching its lead all the way. In similar fashion, Tech led North Carolina for the final 11:59 of its upset on Dec. 31, stretching the lead incrementally over that period. The final score for both games was identical.
Tech shot the ball better than it has in an ACC game yet this year (46.6 pct.), and posted its highest field goal percentage since hitting 51.9 percent against Wofford on Dec. 22.
Tech held its eighth opponent under 40 percent from the floor in the last nine games. Clemson connected on just 36.7 percent of its field goal tries, and just 29.2 percent of its threes.
For the season, Tech has held nine opponents under 40 percent from the floor. The Jackets limited six under 40 percent last season, seven the year before.
Tech snapped a four-game skid on the boards, posting an impressive 40-29 advantage in rebounding against Clemson, 17-9 in the second half. The Jackets also allowed the Tigers one offensive rebound in the second half (and one second-chance point).
On the other hand, Tech grabbed 10 offensive rebounds and had a 14-10 edge in second-chance points, the first time in ACC play this season the Jackets have had the upper hand.
Tech remained perfect this season in two key areas. The Yellow Jackets have won every game in which they have out-shot their opponent (10-0), and they are a perfect 9-0 when scoring 70 points or more.
Tech went 17-for-19 from the free throw line, and has connected on 78.9 percent (71-of-90) in four ACC games.
Pastner meter 1 (assists to made field goals): Tech assisted on 19 (season-high assists) of 27 made field goals (70.3 pct.) vs. Clemson, 60 percent goal accomplished. Tech is at 60.2 percent for the season, 63.6 percent in ACC games.
Pastner meter 2 (free throws made to opponents' attempts): Tech made 17 of 19 free throws to Clemson 12 of 17 (goal of making more than opponent tries accomplished). For the season, Tech has made 249 free throws, opponents have attempted 270. In ACC games, Tech has made 71 free throws, while the opponents have tried 70.
Ben Lammers earned his eighth double-double of the season against Clemson, scoring 23 points (one off his career high vs. Louisville) with 10 rebounds. He went 8-for-17 from the floor (his second highest shot total of the season), and a perfect 7-for-7 from the foul line.
Lammers has three 20-point games this season, including each of the last two. He has scored in double digits in every game but one this season.
Josh Okogie scored 13 points and reached double figures for the 12th time this season. He also had three assists.
Lammers and Okogie combined for 36 points, 39 Saturday against Louisville, and an average of 33 through Tech's first four ACC games. They have accounted for 51.4 percent of Tech's points in ACC games.
Lammers played 36 minutes and is now averaging 35.5 in ACC games.
In ACC games, Lammers is averaging a team-high 16.8 points and 9.9 rebounds, and has gone 19-for-21 from the foul line (90.5 pct., 4th in the ACC).
Quinton Stephens posted his highest scoring game of the season with 16 points and eight rebounds. Stephens' made multiple threes (2-for-7) for the first time in nine games, dating back to his 3-for-5 game at Tennessee on Dec. 3. In between, the 6-9 senior had gone 3-for-20 from behind the arc.
Tadric Jackson reached double digits (10 points) for the second time in ACC play and for the ninth time this season.
Josh Heath dished eight assists, a career high for an ACC game, and his most in a game since getting his overall career-high (9) against Southeastern Louisiana last season. He combined with freshman Justin Moore to record 11 assists with just three turnovers.
Abdoulaye Gueye gave Tech 10 more effective minutes off the bench against Clemson, scoring one basket with two rebounds and two blocked shots. He has four points, six rebounds and four blocks in 30 ACC minutes.
CLEMSON'S BROWNELL ON TECH
"They played great tonight. It's not a surprise because I saw it against North Carolina. They've got a good system that they're running this year that fits their personnel. The more you look at Georgia Tech, and I know it's a rebuild supposedly, but they've got some players here that are pretty good. Their system fits what they do very well. Ben Lammers is elite. They just outplayed us and outcoached us."
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN'S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech's men's basketball team is in its first year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men's Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.
For more information on Tech basketball, visit here.