Georgia Tech Basketball Travels for Rematch at Clemson
Yellow Jackets and Tigers meeting for second time, 7 p.m. Wednesday [RSN] at Littlejohn Coliseum
THE FLATS - Coming off a pair of big home wins over top-15 teams last week, Georgia Tech returns to the road for a pair of games this week, first visiting Clemson for their second meeting of the season at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Tech (13-8, 5-4 ACC), in its first season under head coach Josh Pastner, continued to defy pre-season projections last week, toppling No. 6 Florida State, 78-56, and No. 14 Notre Dame, 62-60, at home. The Yellow Jackets, 2-5 on the road this season, enter this week’s games tied for sixth place in the ACC standings.
Clemson (12-8, 2-6 ACC) snapped a six-game losing streak over the weekend with a 67-60 victory at Pittsburgh, the Tigers’ first victory since defeating Wake Forest in their ACC opener. In the midst of that streak was a 75-63 loss to Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Jan. 12. The Tigers are 7-3 at home this season.
Wednesday’s game will be aired on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network (Fox Sports South in Georgia, and will be streamed live online on the ACC Network Extra. 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. 132, XM ch. 201).
STARTING FIVE (PLUS TWO)
• In the first half of its ACC schedule, Georgia Tech has faced, in order, teams ranked No. 9, 8, 9, 16, 6 and 14. The Jackets have one remaining opponent currently ranked in the top 25 (Notre Dame again).
• At 5-4, Tech has its best ACC record through nine games since the 2009-10 season, when the Yellow Jackets stood 5-3.
• Georgia Tech is 5-5 against teams in CBSSports.com’s RPI rankings as of Tuesday (3-3 vs. 1-25, 2-2 vs. 26-50).
• Three keys for Tech - The Jackets are 13-1 this season when they shoot a better percentage from the floor than their opponent, are 11-0 when scoring 70 points and 12-1 when attempting more free throws than the opponent.
• Georgia Tech leads the ACC in field goal percentage defense (39.7 pct.) vs. ACC teams, and ranks third in scoring defense (68.6 ppg), this against seven of the top 10 teams in the ACC in field goal percentage and scoring average.
• The Yellow Jackets rank No. 14 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency accoring to KenPom.com, having faced six of the nation’s top 32 in that category (Clemson is ranked 32nd). In NCAA rankings, Tech is No. 19 in field goal percentage defense, No. 57 in scoring defense and No. 28 in fewest personal fouls per game.
• Ben Lammers’ +11.1 per game scoring average increase over the 2015-16 season is the second best in the ACC. But Tadric Jackson (+6.1) and Quinton Stephens (+5.6) and also have posted impressive increases over last season. Josh Heath (+3.1) has more than doubled his 2015-16 average.
COACH PASTNER AUDIO FROM MONDAY
• This is the oldest and longest-running series the Yellow Jackets have with an ACC member (Clemson leads, 67-62). The 129 all-time meetings are 33 more than Tech has played with any other ACC opponent. The series dates back to the 1912-13 season, when John Heisman coached the Tech basketball team.
• Clemson is one of two permanent home-and-away opponents on Tech’s schedule each year (Notre Dame is the other).
• Georgia Tech has won the last three meetings in the series, including a 75-63 victory in the teams’ first meeting this season on Jan. 12 in Atlanta. It is Tech’s longest winning streak in the series since a five-game streak from 2003 to 2005.
• The Yellow Jackets trail 44-34 to the Tigers since joining the ACC.
• Tech is 3-10 vs. Clemson under head coach Brad Brownell. In the 12 meetings with the Tigers and Brownell, the Yellow Jackets have averaged just over 60 points per game.
• Tech actually won four of the first five meetings with Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum under Paul Hewitt, but the Tigers have won the last nine in a row there.
• Tech is just 16-42 all-time in games played at Clemson, including an 8-35 mark in Littlejohn Coliseum. Tech was Clemson’s first opponent in Littlejohn Coliseum back on Nov. 30, 1968. The Tigers won, 76-72.
• Tech’s 111-108 win against the Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum on Jan. 24, 2001 is the highest-scoring regulation game Tech has had with any ACC opponent. The Jackets defeated Florida State by the same score in Tallahassee (in two OTs) on Feb. 11, 1999, and lost to Wake Forest in the 2007 ACC Tournament, 114-112 in double-overtime.
ESPN'S ANDY KATZ ON TECH
CLEMSON’S BRAD BROWNELL ON TECH
“I said after the first time we played them that they were better than people realized, and it’s proven to be true. They’re good. I said that this team was more talented than people realized. Ben Lammers is one of the best centers in our league. Defensively he’s a problem around the rim, blocking shots, altering shots. Josh Okogie’s one of the best freshmen in our league, and he’s continued to get better. Josh Heath just runs their team, doesn’t make mistakes, doesn’t turn the ball over. Quinton Stephens is a senior who’s been through the wars of this league, and is quietly averaging 12 and 8. Tadric Jackson is one of those big, strong guards that’s a problem. They don’t have as much depth as some of the teams in our league, but they’re starting five or six is very good. Josh and his staff have done a great job of creating a system that they can be successful in.”
NOTRE DAME COACH MIKE BREY ON TECH
“I’m really impressed with Georgia Tech, [and] Josh [Pastner] has done a fabulous job in his first year ... Georgia Tech is a very good team, I believe they’re going to be an NCAA tournament team.”
• Georgia Tech has defeated three top-25 teams (North Carolina, Florida State, Notre Dame) this season, the most in one season for the program since the Yellow Jackets went 4-4 vs. top-25 teams in 2009-10. Tech has beaten as many as three top-25 teams in one season six times prior to this season.
• Tech has beaten two top-10 teams this season – No. 9 North Carolina and No. 6 Florida State – the first time the Yellow Jackets have beaten multiple top-10 teams in the same season since 2004-05 (No. 5 Wake Forest in the regular season and No. 2 North Carolina in the ACC Tournament). It is the first time since 2003-04 that the Jackets have beaten multiple top-10 teams in the regular season (No. 1 Connecticut, No. 10 Wake Forest, No. 3 Duke). It is the 18th time in program history that Tech has defeated multiple top-10 teams in the same season.
• Tech started Josh Heath, Corey Heyward, Ben Lammers, Josh Okogie and Quinton Stephens for the third time this season. Three Yellow Jackets – Lammers, Okogie and Stephens – have started every game this season.
• Tech led at the half (35-31) for the fourth time this season against an ACC team, 14th time overall. Tech is 11-2 this season when leading at the half.
• All seven meetings between Tech and Notre Dame since the Fighting Irish joined the ACC have been decided by eight points or fewer. Tech has won the last two meetings by a total of three points.
• Only two of Tech’s nine ACC games (Virginia Tech, Notre Dame) have been decided by fewer than 10 points.
• Tech held Notre Dame to 60 points, its second-lowest scoring output of the season and nearly 20 points below its season average. Tech held Florida State (85 ppg) to 56 on Wednesday night.
• Notre Dame connected on just 40.4 percent of its shots from the floor, more than six percentage points below its season average. The Yellow Jackets are the ACC’s top team in field goal percentage defense against the conference (39.7 pct.), and have faced the top six teams in the ACC in field goal shooting in its first nine conference games.
• Eleven out of Tech’s last 12 opponents have shot 40.6 percent from the floor or lower. The exception was a 55.7-percent game by Duke.
• Tech did not reach its magic number for points (70), but improved to 2-8 this season when scoring less than 70. The Yellow Jackets are unbeaten (11-0) when reaching that number offensively.
• The Jackets improved to 13-1 when shooting a better percentage from the floor than its opponent (48.1 to 40.4 percent vs. Notre Dame).
• Tech out-rebounded Notre Dame, 37-29, winning the boards for the second straight game and for the fourth time in ACC play.
• Tech has shot 46.2 percent (152-for-329) from the floor in its last six games, 39.8 percent from three-point range (33-for-83).
• Tech blocked seven shots, over the Yellow Jackets ACC-leading average of 5.67 blocks per ACC game, 6.52 in all games this season (fourth in the nation).
• Pastner meter 1 (assists to made field goals): Tech assisted on 18 of 26 made field goals (69.2 pct.) vs. Notre Dame - 60 percent goal accomplished. Tech is at 62.9 percent for the season, 68.1 percent in ACC games. Tech has 108 assists on 152 field goals (71.1 pct.) in its last six games. Tech also ranks 12th nationally according to KenPom.com in highest percentage of assists to made field goals. The Division I average is 52.8 percent.
• Pastner meter 2 (free throws made to opponents’ attempts): Tech made 6 of 12 free throws to Notre Dame’s 7 of 11 (goal of making more than opponent tries not accomplished). The Yellow Jackets still maintain a 72.3-percent clip from the foul line in ACC games.
• Pastner meter 3 (guard rebounding): Tech’s guards combined for nine of Tech’s 25 defensive rebounds.
• Tadric Jackson scored a career high 25 points against Notre Dame, hitting 11 of 19 shots from the floor, both career-best numbers, including 3-of-6 from three-point range. He returned to double figures for the first time in four games. Jackson sparked the Yellow Jackets early with 14 of his points in the first half. It was his 11th double-digit game of the season, fourth against an ACC team.
• The last Tech player to score 25 or more off the bench was Glen Rice, Jr., who scored 28 against Duke at Philips Arena on Jan. 7, 2012. Jackson scored 24 off the bench at VCU on Dec. 7.
• Jackson also had three assists, including the throw-ahead pass after his defensive rebound that led to Josh Okogie’s winning basket.
• Ben Lammers returned to double digits for the 19th time this season. He scored 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting. He added three assists and three blocked shots.
• Ben Lammers posted his 11th double-double of the season, scoring 15 points with 10 rebounds. He hit 7-of-14 shots from the floor, and added three assists and three blocked shots in 40 minutes. Lammers has posted a double-double in each of Tech’s ACC wins.
• Lammers became the second Tech player this year to play 40 minutes (Quinton Stephens did so in back-to-back games against NC State and Virginia Tech.
• Stephens grabbed 13 rebounds, matching a career high and reaching double digits for the seventh time this season. Stephens is averaging 11 rebounds over his last four games, 8.6 against ACC teams this season and 8.3 in all games this season. He played 38 minutes and has averaged a team-high 36.6 minutes in ACC games.
• Josh Heath played 39 minutes for the third time in the last five games. The senior scored nine points (4-6 FG) with eight assists and a career-high five steals. Heath has averaged 6.7 assists over his last six games, and averages 5.1 vs. ACC teams.
• Josh Okogie missed double figures in scoring for just the fifth time this season (and first time against an ACC team), but he scored the game winning basket with one second left in typical fashion, attacking the basket for a layup.
• Corey Heyward made his ninth start of the season and second in a row. It was his 27th career start. He went scoreless in 38 minutes (0-2 FG), but had two steals and one assist with no turnovers. He also played the majority of the defense against Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia, who entered the game averaging 14.9 points but finished with just five (1-7 FG) in 39 minutes.
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.