Georgia Tech Basketball Hosts Tusculum

Sylvester Ogbonda played a career-high 14 minutes Saturday at Wake Forest.
Feb. 6, 2017

THE FLATS - Taking a break from Atlantic Coast Conference play, Georgia Tech looks to break a two-game skid by hosting Division II Tusculum at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening at McCamish Pavilion.

Complete Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Watch online on ACC Network Extra

Tech (13-10, 5-6 ACC), which has defied pre-season projections in its first season under head coach Josh Pastner, fell below .500 in conference play last week by dropping road games at Clemson (74-62) and Wake Forest (81-69). The Yellow Jackets, 11-3 at home this season, enter this week’s games tied for 10th place in the ACC standings with the Demon Deacons.

Tusculum is a private college in Greeneville, Tenn., playing in the Division II South Atlantic Conference, The Pioneers (10-12, 7-9 SAC) have won their last two games over Anderson, S.C. (72-68) and Lenoir-Rhyne (70-65), both at home, and have a 2-9 record on the road this season.

Tuesday’s game will not be televised but 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 not available via satellite radio.

STARTING FIVE

• 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).

• Georgia Tech is 5-7 against teams in the top 50 of CBSSports.com’s RPI rankings as of Thursday (2-3 vs. 1-25, 3-4 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 ranks No. 2 in field goal percentage defense (40.6 pct.) vs. ACC teams (Louisville is 40.5 pct.), and ranks third in scoring defense (70.2 ppg). Nationally, Tech ranks 24th in field goal percentage defense and 62nd in scoring defense.

• Ben Lammers’ +11.2 per game scoring average increase over the 2015-16 season is the best in the ACC, No. 7 nationally. But Tadric Jackson (+5.8) and Quinton Stephens (+5.7) and also have posted impressive increases over last season. Josh Heath (+2.9) has more than doubled his 2015-16 average.

SERIES NOTES

• Tusculum is the second NCAA Division II team Georgia Tech has faced this year. The Yellow Jackets hosted Shorter from Rome, Ga., in its exhibition game on Nov. 5 and won the game, 95-87 in overtime.

• Tech has never faced Tusculum, however, the Yellow Jackets have played two members of the South Atlantic Conference in which it plays. Tech defeated Carson-Newman in an exhibition game prior to the 2007-08 season, and had a 5-0 record against Newberry, whom the Jackets last met in 1981.

PASTNER ON LAST WEEK’S LOSSES

“We just have no margin for error. We’re really thin in a lot of areas and we’ve had a couple of injuries that make us even more thin. We’ve got to continue to get better. I think we’ve had some good wins up to this point. We had a tough week this week with two road losses and we just have to get back home, clean some things up and get better. We are the most inexperienced team in college basketball. It’s just going to take us some time. Our margin of error is zero.

“Our guys have been awesome. They’ve been terrific. They have bought in. They have worked and given me every ounce of energy. For us to get the wins that we’ve had, the only way that happens is by playing hard. We are strictly built as a team.”

TEAM TRENDS

• Georgia Tech played Saturday’s game without backup forward Abdoulaye Gueye (fractured wrist) and backup point guard Justin Moore (abdominal injury). Gueye is out indefinitely, and Moore’s status going forward is uncertain.

• Tech started Josh Heath, Corey Heyward, Ben Lammers, Josh Okogie and Quinton Stephens for the fifth time this season and for the fourth straight game. Three Yellow Jackets – Lammers, Okogie and Stephens – have started every game this season.

• Tech got 32 minutes against Wake Forest from three reserves who have played sparingly in conference play – Christian Matthews (14 minutes), Sylvester Ogbonda (14) and Kellen McCormick (4). They combined to score 16 points, hit 4-of-6 shots from the floor (3-of-3 on threes) and 5-of-6 from the foul line. Prior to the Wake game, they had combined to log 54 minutes in ACC play.

• Tech trailed at the half (37-31) for the second straight game and for the fifth time in conference play and is 1-5 in those games. The Jackets trailed at the half for the ninth time overall (1-8 record).

• Nine of Tech’s 11 ACC games this season have been decided by 10 or more points.

• Wake Forest’s 46.4 percent shooting from the floor was the best against Tech since Duke shot 55.7 percent on Jan. 4 and the second-best against the Yellow Jackets in ACC play. Tech are yielding 40.5 percent against the conference, No. 2 in the ACC, one-tenth of a percent behind Louisville.

• Tech did not reach its magic number for points (70), and fell to 2-10 this season when scoring less than 70. The Yellow Jackets are unbeaten (11-0) when reaching that number offensively.

• Wake Forest outshot Tech 46.4 percent to 35.7 percent. The Jackets 0-9 when shooting a lower percentage from the floor than its opponent this season.

• Wake Forest outscored Tech in the paint, 36-20, the second consecutive opponent to do so against Tech, and only the fourth to do so in 11 ACC games. The Yellow Jackets average 30.1 points in the paint to 29.5 for their opponents in ACC play, 31.5 to 28.5 overall this season.

• Tech was out-rebounded 38-32, the seventh time in 11 conference games the Yellow Jackets have come up short.

Ben Lammers and Quinton Stephens combined for 18 rebounds. Both players rank among the top 10 in the ACC in rebound average, making Tech the only ACC team to have two players among the top 10.

• Tech made eight three-point field goals in 20 attempts against Wake Forest, its highest number of three-pointers since hitting 10-of-16 on Jan. 15 at NC State. It was the fourth time in conference play the Jackets have hit 40 percent or better.

Pastner meter 1 (assists to made field goals): Tech assisted on 12 of 20 made field goals (60 pct.) vs. Wake Forest - 60 percent goal accomplished. Tech is at 62.5 percent for the season, which ranks 11th in the nation, and 66.4 percent in ACC games.

Pastner meter 2 (free throws made to opponents’ attempts): Tech made 21 of 28 free throws (most since going 21-of-31 vs. Florida State) to Wake Forest’s 21 of 24 (goal of making more than opponent tries not accomplished). The Yellow Jackets still maintain a 72.6-percent clip from the foul line in ACC games.

Pastner meter 3 (guard rebounding): Tech’s guards combined for seven of Tech’s 23 defensive rebounds.

• Georgia Tech has defeated its three top-25 team this season (No. 9 North Carolina, No. 6 Clemson, No. 14 Notre Dame), the most in one season for the program since the Yellow Jackets went 4-3 vs. top-25 teams in 2003-04. 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.

PLAYER TRENDS

Josh Okogie scored a game-high 23 points, the fourth time in ACC play he has scored 20 or more, but the first time he has done so in a losing effort. Okogie went 6-for-15 from the floor and 11-for-13 from the free throw line with four assists in 30 minutes. Okogie has scored in double digits in every ACC game but one, and in 18 of 23 games overall.

• Okogie has made 10 or more free throws in a game four times this season, and has attempted an average of 6.8 per game, which ranks third in the ACC. Okogie has connected on 76.3 percent of his charity tosses this season.

Quinton Stephens recorded his fifth double-double this season with 14 points and 11 rebounds. It was his seventh double-figure scoring game against an ACC team and 15th overall this season. He has reached double figures in rebounds eight times and remains among the ACC’s top 10 in rebound average at 8.3 per game (8.5 pg in ACC games). He has averaged 10.2 boards over his last six games.

• Stephens went 4-for-7 from three-point range and has connected on 22 of 55 (40 percent) from beyond the arc in his last eight games.

Ben Lammers, who played just 26 minutes due to foul trouble, was held below 10 points for just the third time this season (all in ACC games). He scored seven points with seven rebounds and blocked three shots.

Christian Matthews saw his most extensive playing time (14 minutes) of the season, scoring eight points (2-3 FG, 2-2 on threes, 2-2 FT).

Sylvester Ogbonda played a career-high 14 minutes in relief of a foul-plagued Ben Lammers and scored five points with two rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal.

Corey Heyward, who started his fourth straight game, played 23 more turnover-free minutes. In his four starts, he has committed just one turnover in 106 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.

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