Jackets Visit Maryland for Third Road Game in Last Four
Tech tries to build momentum for stretch in teams' only regular-season meeting
Feb. 18, 2010
ATLANTA - Georgia Tech, playing its third road game in the last four, visits surging Maryland for a 2 p.m. game Saturday at the Comcast Center in College Park, Md. It will be the teams' only regular-season meeting. The game is being regionally televised on the Raycom/ACC television network and broadcast on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Radio Network.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (18-8, 6-6 ACC) vs.
Tech, 18-8 overall, 6-6 in the ACC, resides in seventh place in the ACC standings entering this weekend's action, two games out of fourth place, currently held by Wake Forest. The Yellow Jackets, who have beaten three top-25 teams since Jan. 1 (No. 5 Duke, No. 12 North Carolina and No. 17 Clemson), have no more ranked teams on their schedule in the regular season, but have three games against teams that are receiving votes, and two against teams ahead of them in the standings.
The Jackets snapped a two-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 68-51 homecourt victory over North Carolina, completing their first regular-season sweep of the Tar Heels since 1996. Tech is 3-6 on the road this year, 1-5 in ACC play, with its only victory coming in Chapel Hill on Jan. 16. The Yellow Jackets are 1-5 all-time in the Comcast Center, with the lone victory occurring during their Final Four season of 2004.
Maryland, which is playing its fourth game since last Saturday, enters Saturday's contest with an 18-7 overall mark and an 8-3 conference record, good for third place. The Terrapins have won four of their last five games (Duke the only loss last Saturday), eight of their last 10 and 10 of 13 since Jan. 1.
Maryland swept the regular-season series from Tech last year, winning 68-61 in College Park and 57-56 in Atlanta.
Tech has dropped out of both the Associated Press writers poll and the ESPN/USA Today polls this week after having appeared in at least one of them each week this season. The Jackets were No. 20 on both polls last week.
Next Up for Tech
Georgia Tech has a bye in the ACC schedule following Saturday's game at Maryland, and returns to action Saturday, Feb. 27, with a home game against Boston College (12-13, 3-8) at 12 noon. The Yellow Jackets are 2-9 under head coach Paul Hewitt following byes in the conference schedule.
Series History with Maryland
> Maryland has won the last eight games in the series to pull ahead of Georgia Tech all-time, 36-33. Up until this stretch, the Terrapins were one of four ACC teams against whom it had an all-time winning record (Clemson, Miami and Virginia are the others) ... Maryland has won 13 of the last 18 meetings.
> Still, Tech's 33-32 record against Maryland since 1979-80 is its best mark against any ACC team since the Jackets joined the league.
> Tech is 4-12 against Maryland under head coach Paul Hewitt, 1-7 at College Park. Tech is 16-24 vs. Gary Williams-coached Maryland teams.
> Ten of the 16 games between Tech and Maryland since Paul Hewitt became the head coach have been decided by 10 points or fewer, including both of last year's meetings.
> Percentage wise and in terms of the number of wins, Tech's 11-22 road record vs. Maryland is the second-best it has against any team in the ACC. The Jackets are 1-5 in the Comcast Center, and were 10-17 at Cole Field House.
> Maryland won the first nine games of the series, but Tech turned the tables under head coach Bobby Cremins, winning 28 of 35 meetings (including 10 in a row at one point) through the 1995-96 season. The Terps won the next seven in a row before Cremins' last Tech Jacket team won 69-68 at home on Jan. 15, 2000.
> Tech is 3-4 in ACC Tournament meetings with Maryland. The Terrapins were Tech's first-ever ACC Tournament opponent, a 51-49 overtime win in the 1980 first round in Greensboro. Maryland also was Tech's first ACC Tournament victim, in 1983 at the Omni by a 64-58 score.
Last Time Out
Georgia Tech defeated North Carolina, 68-51, Tuesday night in Atlanta, holding the Tar Heels to their lowest point total in seven seasons under Roy Williams, and their lowest total in the all-time series against the Yellow Jackets since the teams' first meeting back in 1925.
Tech held the Tar Heels to 34.5-percent shooting from the floor, 22.8 in the first half in which the Yellow Jackets outscored North Carolina, 41-21.
Four Tech players scored in double figures, led by freshman Derrick Favors with 13. The Jackets got 38 points from their bench, with Zachery Peacock and Brian Oliver scoring 12 each and Moe Miller chipping in with 11.
The Jackets gave up 14 offensive rebounds and 20 turnovers, but the Tar Heels converted those opportunities into only 13 points.
The 51 points allowed by Tech were its fewest against an ACC opponent since a 77-46 win over Florida State in 2002, which remains the lowest figure allowed against a conference team under Paul Hewitt.
Defense Remains Bedrock of Tech Success
Georgia Tech has been one of the better defensive teams in the ACC and the nation this season, a consistent reason why the Yellow Jackets have won 18 games.
> Tech is No. 2 in the ACC behind Florida State and No. 3 in the nation in field goal percentage defense (37.0 pct.) in all games this season, and are also No. 2 in the ACC in league games only (39.1 pct.). Against the three, the Jackets are sixth in the conference and 46th in the nation (30.7 pct.).
> Head coach Paul Hewitt's team also ranks in the upper half of the ACC in rebound average (3rd) and rebound margin (4th, 34th nationally), while also ranking in the top 50 nationally in blocked shots (29th) and steals (43th).
> In ACC games only, Tech is No. 3 in the conference in blocked shots, third in steals, third in rebound average and fifth in rebound margin.
> The Yellow Jackets have allowed 70 points in a game only six times in the last 21 games, and have not allowed an opponent to shoot better than 44.6 percent from the floor this year. Tech has a streak of 31 straight games without an opponent shooting 50 percent against it.
> Only eight opponents - all eight losses - have shot as high as 40 percent from the floor against the Jackets this year.
> Tech is 17-1 this season (Miami the exception) when the opponent shoots under 40 percent from the floor, 106-22 in the Paul Hewitt era.
Paul Hewitt Quotes: February 18
"I actually just finished watching both games from last year and both were one possession games Not the prettiest affairs offensively, but pretty physical. I expect a lot of the same on Saturday."
On the benefits of having an extra day off to prepare for the Maryland game:
"We needed the rest. We just came through a really tough stretch of games, with no days off. When I look at the schedule, I always look for how many one day preps we have, and I also look at how the day offs break down. I thought the first half of the season was much tougher for our guys than the second half of the season, but I think having the day off definitely helps."
On last year's Maryland-Georgia Tech games and if it could have any effect on this year's game:
"Last year was last year. I do feel good about our defense; it definitely gives me a lot of confidence. I think if we play our game, we should be able to slow them down a little bit. In my mind, they run the best offense in our league. Just watching them, they move the ball well and shoot a high field goal percentage. We're going to have to be sharp defensively because they can play with their offense. They're really tough."
On if the Jackets plan to exploit Maryland's struggles in rebounding:
"Well, we did last year and hopefully we will this year. We have not rebounded as well as we're capable of the last three or four games."
On if he has changed anything this season to improve Tech's success on the road in the conference:
"A couple of things here and there. One of the things we did early in the year that I thought worked really well was that we didn't practice as hard before road trips and when we got there, we didn't shoot around the night before the game. We will go and just have a light shoot around at the Comcast Center; just like we did at [North] Carolina and Florida State. In both games I thought we played really well."
On if the team is starting to gain momentum entering the stretch run of the season:
"I don't want to say it. I like the way we played against Wake [Forest] and I liked the way we played the other night [against North Carolina]. It's all about keeping the trend. It's like in baseball where they say that momentum is the next day's starting pitcher. Well, in basketball it depends how you start the next game, how you come out of the gates."
On Maryland's offense:
"Well, they've always run that flex. Gary's [Williams] has run that flex for years. He got it from Tom Davis I think when he worked for him at Boston College. They do a good job of getting the ball inside. They execute very well to get Greivis [Vasquez] shots coming off screens. He's really good when you set a down screen from the elbow down to the block. He curls into the paint and uses his size to score. This year I've noticed they're using more flare screens to get him out to the wing to shoot threes. They also have [Eric] Hayes who might have the best three-point shooting percentage in the league."
On who will guard Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez:
"That will be a team assignment. Probably Iman [Shumpert] will start off on him, but I think the way we've played it the last couple of years, it'll become a team assignment. He's a first team, all-league guy, so he's the type of guy who can carry a team. He's had some big second halves this year."