THE FLATS - Georgia Tech looks to shake a four-game losing streak Saturday afternoon when it returns home to face Virginia Tech in a nationally-televised Atlantic Coast Conference game at noon at McCamish Pavilion.
The Yellow Jackets (11-15, 4-9 ACC) have dropped eight of their last nine games, and saw their current skid extend to four games Wednesday night with 79-62 defeat on the road at Wake Forest. That followed a home loss to No. 9/8 Duke and road losses at Boston College and Louisville. Tech last won on Jan. 31, a 55-51 victory at home over Syracuse.
The Hokies (18-8, 7-6 ACC) have won four of their last six games, three of those victories on the road, including a 61-60 overtime victory at No. 2 Virginia last Saturday. Virginia Tech lost at No. 12 Duke, 74-52, Wednesday night. One of the nation’s top offensive teams, the Hokies are 4-3 in ACC road games this season.
THE STARTING LINEUP
• The first 1,000 fans entering the doors Saturday will be eligible to receive a bobblehead honoring former Yellow Jackets’ star guard, Iman Shumpert. Shumpert played for the Yellow Jackets from 2008-11, earning All-ACC and ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2011. He was chosen 17th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, eventually traded to Cleveland in 2015, helping the Cavaliers to an NBA title in 2016. He was recently dealt to the Sacramento Kings.
• Georgia Tech is holding its annual Letterwinners Game following the Virginia Tech game Saturday in Mccamish Pavilion. Legendary coach Bobby Cremins and the first Yellow Jacket All-American, Roger Kaiser, are back to coach the two alumni squads, which will include such Tech standouts as Maurice Bradford, Robert Brooks, Matt Causey, Lenny Cohen. Lenny Horton, Marvin Lewis, Jack Mansell, Isma’il Muhammad, James Munlyn, Jim Thorne and Mike Tomasovich.
• Georgia Tech’s next three games are all against opponents in the top half of the ACC standings - sixth-place Virginia Tech, first-place Virginia and second-place Clemson.
• Head coach Josh Pastner needs one win to reach 200 for his head coaching career. In nine-plus seasons, Pastner has a record of 199-103.
• Tech will play the remainder of its season without freshman point guard Jose Alvarado, who dislocated his elbow in a fall during the first half of the Yellow Jackets loss to Duke on Sunday. X-rays also revealed the elbow was fractured. Alvarado had played every minute of the previous four games and of eight games altogether this season.
• Alvarado’s is the second season-ending injury suffered by a Tech player in the last two weeks. Freshman guard Curtis Haywood II was declared out for the season following the Jackets’ Jan. 28 loss to Clemson. Haywood had missed six games earlier in the season with a shin injury, and sophomore guard Josh Okogie missed the first eight games of this season with a dislocated finger.
• Okogie has more career points (940) at this point in his sophomore season than any Tech player since Matt Harpring, who finished his sophomore year with 1,021 (1994-96) on the way to finishing No. 2 on Tech’s all-time list with 2,225 points. Five players in Tech history have reached 1,000 career points during their sophomore seasons.
• Tech has a chance to have three 1,000-point scorers on its roster by the end of the regular season. Tadric Jackson already has passed the threshold (1,028), while Ben Lammers sits at 974 and Josh Okogie has rapidly risen to 940 (he is averaging 19.1 points a contest).
• Four Atlantic Coast Conference teams are currently ranked in the Associated Press and coaches polls - Virginia (1/3), Duke (12/10), Clemson (12/10), North Carolina (14/16), while Florida State, Louisville, Miami and Virginia Tech are receiving votes. The Jackets have already faced UCLA (No. 21 in preseason) and Northwestern (No. 20 in preseason), as well as Tennessee (now No. 18/17).
LEGENDARY COACH HYDER INDUCTED INTO ATLANTA SPORTS HALL OF FAME
Former Georgia Tech basketball coach John “Whack” Hyder is being inducted posthumously into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame Friday night. Hyder began his career in Atlanta as a Yellow Jacket student-athlete, lettering in baseball, basketball, track and cross country during his time on The Flats (1933-37). After a brief departure in which he spent three years in the New York Yankees’ minor league farm system, he returned to Georgia Tech to be its head basketball coach from 1951 to 1973. The second-winningest coach in Tech basketball history, Hyder amassed 292 wins and led the Jackets to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 1960, making the Elite Eight. Hyder also coached the team to the NIT championship game in 1971 – the second-straight appearance in the tournament. Hyder was inducted twice into the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame, both as a player in 1960 and a coach in 1983, and had his banner raised during the 2003-04 season.
— Georgia Tech Sports (@GTAthletics) February 13, 2018
SERIES VS. VIRGINIA TECH
• Virginia Tech has won 17 of 23 all-time meetings with Georgia Tech, including 13 of 18 as a member of the ACC.
• The Hokies have won the last three games of the series, all in the final minute, including a 62-61 decision last season in Blacksburg, a 78-77 win Jan. 16, 2016 at McCamish Pavilion, and a 65-63 win on Feb. 9, 2015 at Cassell Coliseum. The Yellow Jackets won the two meetings before that.
• Tech’s 64-54 win on Feb. 9, 2013 in Blacksburg is its only triumph at Cassell Coliseum in 10 tries.
• Tech has defeated Virginia Tech only three times in nine meetings at home since the Hokies joined the ACC, and the Yellow Jackets received extroardinary performances by individuals to win two of those games. On Jan. 19, 2008, reserve guard Matt Causey came off the bench to hit seven threes and pour in 30 points in the Jackets’ 81-70 victory. On Jan. 25, 2011, Iman Shumpert recorded the fourth triple-double in Tech history with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the Jackets’ 72-57 win.
• The Hokies, led by future NBA star Dell Curry, held off the Jackets and their future All-Americans Mark Price and John Salley, 77-74, in the teams’ first meeting, a first-round post-season NIT game, at Cassell Coliseum in 1984.
• The teams have split two ACC Tournament encounters, the Jackets capturing a 73-54 victory in the first round of the 2005 tournament in Washington, D.C., and the Hokies winning a 59-43 decision in the first round in 2011 in Greensboro.
• Georgia Tech’s first victory over Virginia Tech occurred on Dec. 27, 1962, a 73-72 overtime triumph at the Gator Bowl Tournament that was part of an 11-0 start for the Yellow Jackets. Tech went on to finish the season 21-5. Both teams were ranked in the UPI poll at the time, Georgia Tech at No. 18, Virginia Tech at No. 14.
• Both teams were members of the old Metro Conference, but not at the same time. Georgia Tech was a member for three seasons from 1975-76 through 1977-78 before leaving to join the ACC. Virginia Tech joined the league for the 1978-79 season.
• Georgia Tech started its seventh different lineup this season at Wake Forest with point guard Jose Alvarado out for the season and missing his first game. Head coach Josh Pastner had started the same lineup for the past 13 games. Senior guard Tadric Jackson was tapped to replace Alvarado in the lineup, making his first start since Dec. 22 vs. Wright State and his seventh of the season. Freshman Evan Cole made his first start of the season, replacing Brandon Alston.
• Tech has had its full roster to practice only for seven games and played a solid 7-man rotation for the first time in ACC play against Notre Dame Jan. 10. Injuries or other absences have forced Tech players to miss 40 games cumulatively this season. Tech does not have its full rotation for the rest of the season with freshman Curtis Haywood II sidelined for the remainder of the season with a stress reaction in his right leg.
• Ben Lammers is the only Tech player to start every game this season, and has started Tech’s last 63 consecutive games.
• Tech’s playing rotation this season features four freshmen and a first-year graduate transfer who have combined to start 57 games and log 44 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ total minutes.
• Tech shot 50 percent or better from the floor (51.2 percent vs. Wake Forest) for the fifth time this season but lost for the fourth time when doing so (Wofford, Wright State, Boston College, Wake Forest).
• Tech hit just one three-point field goal in nine attempts against Wake Forest, matching a season low of one three against Bethune-Cookman and Miami, both of whom the Yellow Jackets defeated.
• Tech’s last four opponents have connected on 51.3 percent of their three-point field goal tries. Wake Forest was 9-of-17.
• Tech set a season high for bench points against Duke with 26, but could muster just two against Wake Forest, its low against an ACC team.
• Ben Lammers reached double figures for the first time since Feb. 4 at Boston College, hitting 5-of-9 shots from the floor for 14 points. Lammers has 19 double-digit scoring games this season, 40 over the last two seasons.
• Abdoulaye Gueye also reached double figures for the first time since Feb. 4 at Boston College, going 5-of-8 from the floor for 12 points. The junior forward has seven double-digit games since ACC play began.
• Gueye is averaging 8.5 points (51.1 percent from the floor) and 5.9 rebounds against the ACC with 20 blocked shots. He averaged 4.8 points (36.7 pct. FG) and 4.0 rebounds in the non-conference season.
• Gueye has scored 121 points in the 14 games since sitting out Coppin State on Dec. 27. He had scored 70 points in 39 career games prior to Coppin State.
• Josh Okogie has scored in double figures in his last eight games (20.9 ppg) after having a 25-game streak of double-digit games snapped against Virginia (nine points). It was his third straight game with 20 or more points, fifth in his last six games and ninth this season.
• The sophomore guard has scored in double figures 49 times in 55 career games. He has scored 30 or more three times (two vs. ACC), 20 or more 18 times (11 times in an ACC game).
• Okogie has averaged 19.1 points per game after missing the first eight games of the season, including 19.2 in ACC games so far (fourth-best in league rankings). He averaged 16.1 points as a freshman, 17.1 against the ACC.
• Okogie has scored more points in his first two seasons at Tech (940) since Matt Harpring accumulated 1,021 by the end of his sophomore season (1996-98). At his present rate, Okogie can become the sixth Tech player to reach 1,000 career points by the end of his sophomore season.
• Despite missing eight games, Okogie leads the Jackets in free throw attempts with 131, an average of 7.3 per game that leads the ACC. He is also one of the ACC’s top free throw shooters by percentage at 82.4 percent. He averaged 6.5 as a freshman, which ranked third in the ACC, and connected on 74.7 percent.
• Okogie is averaging 7.0 rebounds per game in ACC play, third best among league guards, and 6.4 for the season. Okogie has snared 63 rebounds in his last eight games (7.9).
• Okogie has 34 assists in his last 11 games, a 3.1 average, and has matched his career high of five twice (second meeting vs. Notre Dame and at Florida State) in that stretch.
• Ben Lammers surpassed 700 career rebounds against Syracuse and now has 738, moving into 13th place on Georgia Tech’s all-time list with eight boards against Duke. He needs two to catch Jim Wood (740 from 1974-77) for 12th place.
• Lammers blocked one shot against Duke, giving him 241 blocks for his career, good for sole possession of fourth place in Tech history and needing two to catch John Salley (243 from 1982-86) for third place.
• Lammers also is drifting ever closer to 1,000 points for his career. With 974 career points, and needs three games at his current 11.3 per game rate to reach 1,000.
• Lammers is averaging 36.3 minutes this season, sixth-most in the ACC (37.5 mpg vs. the ACC), and ranks No. 1 among centers nationally in average minutes played and percentage of possible minutes. Okogie is averaging 36.7 minutes in ACC games. Both players rank among the ACC;s top 10 in minutes per conference game.
• Freshman forward Evan Cole made good on his first career start at Wake Forest by scoring eight points and snaring a season-best seven rebounds in a career-best 35 minutes. He hit 3-of-4 shots from the floor, which includes a three-pointer, had two assists, a blocked shot and two steals.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its second 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.