Georgia Tech Basketball Faces Pittsburgh in ACC Tournament
Yellow Jackets and Panthers tip off at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Brooklyn, N.Y. - Georgia Tech drew the 11th seed in this week's 64th edition of the New York Life Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, and will face No. 14-seed Pittsburgh in its opening-round game at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Tech (17-14, 8-10 ACC), which has defied pre-season projections in its first season under head coach Josh Pastner, finished its ACC regular-season schedule with a 90-61 loss at Syracuse Saturday. The Yellow Jackets split their last eight games of the regular season, going 3-4 in ACC play following a non-conference win over Tusculum on Feb. 7. That includes a 61-52 victory over Pittsburgh in its final regular-season home game just a week ago (Feb. 28) in the teams' only meeting this season..
Pittsburgh (15-16, 4-14 ACC) fell to the No. 14 seed after closing its regular season with a 67-42 loss at Virginia Saturday. The Panthers have lost four straight games since an 80-66 win over Florida State on Feb. 18.
Tuesday's game will be televised on the ACC Network (Peachtree TV in Atlanta) within the ACC's footprint, and will be televised nationally outside the ACC markets on ESPNU. Live streaming is available on 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. 81, XM ch. 81).
THE STARTING LINEUP
Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh have played five times since the Panthers joined the ACC, with the Panthers winning the first three meetings and the Yellow Jackets winning the last two. The average margin of victory has been 6.0 points. This is the first meeting between the two teams in the ACC Tournament.
The winner of Tuesday night's game advances to face the No. 6 seed, Virginia (21-9, 11-7 ACC) in the final game of the evening Wednesday (approximately 9 p.m.).
Tech's senior class has a 2-3 record in ACC Tournament games, having won opening-round games over Boston College (2014) and Clemson (2016).
Tech is one of two teams to finish the regular season with a winning record (3-2) over the top four seeds in the ACC Tournament (Virginia is the other). The Jackets went 1-4 against the one-bye teams and 4-3 against the teams playing on Tuesday.
Tech's 8-10 ACC record matched the mark of last year's NIT team and finished the regular season with one fewer victory overall.
Tech has the seventh most efficient defense in the country according to KenPom.com, giving up 90.8 points per 100 possessions. The Yellow Jackets rank No. 1 in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (40.7 pct.) vs. ACC teams, and ranks No. 3 in scoring defense (68.8 ppg). Nationally, Tech ranks 20th in field goal percentage defense and 56th in scoring defense against all opponents.
Ben Lammers' +11.0 per game scoring average increase over the 2015-16 season is the third-best in the ACC, behind John Collins of Wake Forest and Matt Farrell of Notre Dame. But Tadric Jackson (+7.0) and Quinton Stephens (+4.7) and also have posted significant increases over last season. Josh Heath (+3.3) has more than doubled his 2015-16 average.
Three keys for Tech to win - The Jackets are 17-3 this season when they shoot a better percentage from the floor than their opponent, are 13-0 when scoring 70 points and 16-3 when attempting more free throws than the opponent.
Georgia Tech is 4-4 against teams in the top 25 of CBSSports.com's RPI rankings as of Sunday.
Georgia Tech has defeated three AP top-25 teams this season (No. 9 North Carolina, No. 6 Florida State, 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 AP 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.
— GT Men's Basketball (@GTMBB) March 6, 2017
-- GT Men's Basketball (@GTMBB) March 6, 2017
-- Tim Brando (@TimBrando) March 6, 2017
TECH'S ACC TOURNAMENT HISTORY
Georgia Tech has played in 37 ACC Tournaments, and has a 26-34 all-time record in the event. The Yellow Jackets have won three championships, in 1985 (Atlanta), 1990 (Charlotte) and 1993 (Charlotte).
Tech has been a runner-up four times (1986, 1996, 2005, 2010). The 1986, 1996 and 2010 runs to the finals occurred in Greensboro. Tech also made the finals in 2005 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
TECH AT THE BARCLAYS CENTER
Georgia Tech is participating in its third event at Booklyn's Barclays Center, and brings a 1-3 record in the building into this week's ACC Tournament.
The Yellow Jackets lost to Mississippi (77-67) and St. John's (69-58) in the 2013 Barclays Center Classic. Tech defeated Arkansas (83-73) and lost to eventual national champion Villanova (69-52) in the 2015 NIT Pre-Season Tipoff.
PASTNER, LAMMERS, OKOGIE CAPTURE ACC HONORS
Georgia Tech's first-year head coach Josh Pastner was named Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year, and the Yellow Jackets captured their biggest haul of ACC honors in recent memory as junior center Ben Lammers was named second-team All-ACC and conference Defensive Player of the Year, while first-year player Josh Okogie was named to the ACC's All-Freshman Team.
This is the first time since 2013 since Tech has had honorees in multiple categories, and also the first time since 2013 that Tech has had more than one individual honored.
Pastner, in his first year on the Flats, earned 24 of the 53 votes cast, three times that of the second-place coach. He becomes the third different Tech head man to be named ACC Coach of the Year, joining Bobby Cremins (1983, 1985, 1996) and Paul Hewitt, who captured the honor in his first season of 2000-01.
Lammers, a 6-10 junior center, is the fourth Tech center to earn All-ACC honors in program history, joining John Salley (1986), Alvin Jones (2001) and Daniel Miller (2014) and gave the Yellow Jackets a second-team all-conference player for the second year in a row. He received the eighth-most votes overall in all-conference balloting. Lammers was the leading vote-getter for the ACC's All-Defensive team and is the fifth Tech player to make that team, but the first to be named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, for which he received 37 of the 53 votes. Lammers came in second to Wake Forest's John Collins in voting for the ACC's Most Improved Player.
Okogie, the 15th Yellow Jacket to make the ACC All-Freshman team, was the fourth-leading vote-getter for that team, but only two votes shy of leader Dennis Smith, who received 36 of the 53 votes for ACC Freshman of the Year.
Tadric Jackson, a 6-2 junior guard, received four votes for the ACC's Sixth Man of the Year award, which went to Virginia Tech's Seth Allen in a landslide (43 of 53 votes).
SERIES NOTES VS. PITTSBURGH
Pittsburgh won the first three meetings between the two teams after the Panthers became members of the ACC, but the Yellow Jackets have won the last two games in the series, both of them at home the last two years.
Tech won the only regular-season meeting between the two teams this season, 61-52, on Feb. 28 at McCamish Pavilion.
The five meetings between the two teams as ACC brethren have been decided by an average of 6.0 points, the nine-point Tech win a week ago being the largest margin.
Pitt earned its first win over the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta on Jan. 14, 2014, with an 81-74 victory, and made it three straight with victories at home during the 2014-15 season (70-65) and 2015-16 season (89-84).
Tech won the first five games in the series, which took place between 1966 and 1989.
The two most entertaining games between Tech and the former Big East member played in the same month of the 1989-90 season, when the Yellow Jackets were on the way to their second ACC title and first Final Four appearance. Bobby Cremins and Paul Evans were the respective head coaches at the time.
Tech overcame an early 26-5 deficit to win the ACC/Big East Challenge game in Hartford in early December, getting 42 points from Dennis Scott, including the game-winner with 8 seconds left. Later in the month, the Panthers came to Atlanta for a Kuppenheimer Classic game at the Omni, and Tech won the game without head coach Bobby Cremins, who was attending his father's funeral. Kenny Anderson recorded a triple-double with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 18 assists.
Tech scored easy wins over Pitt in the first three games of the series, all under head coach Whack Hyder, two of which were played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on the Tech campus.
Tech is 4-3 against the Panthers' current head coach, Kevin Stallings, including six games while he piloted the program at Vanderbilt.
Tech has started Josh Heath, Corey Heyward, Ben Lammers, Josh Okogie and Quinton Stephens for the last 12 games and 13 times this season. Three Yellow Jackets -- Lammers, Okogie and Stephens -- have started every game this season.
Tech has played its last eight games without backup forward Abdoulaye Gueye (fractured wrist).
The Yellow Jackets finished their regular-season road schedule with a 2-10 record, 1-8 in the ACC.
Syracuse's 90 points were the second-most that Tech has given up this season. Duke defeated Tech, 110-57, on Jan. 4.
Syracuse became the fourth opponent to shoot 50 percent or better against Tech this season (Tennessee, Duke, Miami were the others). The Orange's 54.7 percent was the third highest behind Duke's 55.7 and Miami's 55.3.
Syracuse connected on 15 of 23 three-point attempts, one shy of the most threes ever surrendered by Tech in a game (16 by Duke on Jan. 4 this season). It matched the 15 scored previously by Louisville (1/15/94) and Presbyterian (1/6/08).
Andrew White scored 40 points and became the 10th player to score 40 against the Yellow Jackets, and the first since Olivier Hanlan of Boston College scored 41 against Tech in the ACC Tournament on March 14, 2013.
The Yellow Jackets outscored Syracuse in the paint, 34-18, and has outscored its last three opponents by a combined 104-48 in the paint. The Jackets have outscored their last seven straight foes in the paint.
Tech failed to reach its magic number for points (70), and is 4-14 this season when scoring less than 70.
Despite Tech's low point total against Syracuse, four Yellow Jackets scored in double figures. Four or more Jackets have scored in double digits 12 times this season, and Tech is 8-4 in those games.
Tech has averaged just 60.7 points over its last three games. The Jackets have won eight ACC games this season while averaging 65.1 points per game, which ranks 14th in the ACC and is the sixth-lowest average in program history.
Tech allowed Syracuse 14 fast break points, more than it had allowed in its last three games combined.
Pastner meter 1 (assists to made field goals): Tech had 15 assists on 25 made field goals (60 pct.) vs. Syracuse -- meeting its 60 percent goal. It dropped Tech's season rate to 61.9 percent, and 63.2 percent in ACC games.
Pastner meter 2 (free throws made to opponents' attempts): Tech made 6-of-11 free throws, to Syracuse's 17-of-22 (goal of making more than opponent tries not accomplished). The Yellow Jackets maintain a 69.8-percent clip from the foul line in ACC games, 68.1 percent in all games.
Pastner meter 3 (guard rebounding): Tech's guards combined for seven of Tech's 23 defensive rebounds, 46 of 80 in Tech's last three games.
Josh Okogie scored a team-high 16 points (6-of-8 FG, 4-of-5 FT) against Syracuse, his 26th double-digit game this year and his 17th in 18 ACC games. He is averaging a team-high 17.1 points per ACC game, 15.5 in all games. Only six times previously has a freshman led Tech in scoring; he finished the regular season as Tech's leader and its highest-scoring freshman since Chris Bosh in 2002-03.
Ben Lammers scored 10 points, reaching double digits in scoring for the 14th time in 18 ACC games and for the 27th time in 31 games overall this season. He went 5-of-9 from the floor to improve his season rate to 51.8 percent. Lammers finished the regular season as Tech's second-leading scorer (14.8 ppg) and leading rebounder (9.2 rpg).
Lammers' missed his 14th double-double by one rebound, but added three assists and two steals. Lammers has missed three double-doubles by one rebound this season.
Lammers blocked two shots, giving him 103 for the season, the third-highest season total for a Tech player. Alvin Jones holds the top two positions (141 in 1997-98, 107 in 1998-99). Lammers is averaging 3.32 blocks per game, which ranks No. 2 nationally and leads the ACC, and 3.0 in ACC games.
Tadric Jackson scored 11 points for his 18th double-figure game this season and eighth in Tech's last 11 games. He finished the regular season as Tech's third leading scorer (11.7 ppg).
Quinton Stephens scored 12 points and returned to double figures for the first time in three games. It was his 17th double-digit game of the year. He added six rebounds, four assists and made two threes, giving him a team-high 45 for the season.
Corey Heyward has committed just four turnovers in 207 minutes over his last 12 games, coinciding with his return to the Tech starting lineup. He has played 20 turnover-free games this season.
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.