Men’s Basketball Opens Pastner Era vs. Tennessee Tech
Yellow Jackets and Golden Eagles tip at 8 p.m. Friday at McCamish Pavilion
THE FLATS - Georgia Tech’s basketball program begins the Josh Pastner Era in earnest Friday night when the Yellow Jackets entertain Tennessee Tech from the Ohio Valley Conference at 8 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion. The game is a nightcap of a double-header that begins with the Yellow Jacket women’s team taking on Samford at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets for Friday night’s men’s game will also allow entry into the women’s game. Tech fans holding tickets to the women’s game can stay for the men’s game, though they must move to vacant seats.
Pastner inherits seven letterwinners, but none of its top four scorers, from a team that went 21-15 last season and advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament.
Tennessee Tech, beginning its sixth season under head coach Steve Payne, also returns seven letterwinners but lost three of its top five scorers from a squad that posted a 19-12 record, tied for second place (11-5) in the OVC and earned a bid to the inaugural Vegas 16 post-season tournament.
Friday’s game will not be televised, but will be streamed live online via the ACC Network Extra, accessible through the WatchESPN app. Radio coverage is provided by Tech’s flagship station, WCNN-AM (680 AM/93.7 FM).
• Friday’s game is the first of five consecutive home games to begin Josh Pastner’s first season on The Flats. Tech doesn’t play away from home until Nov. 29, and plays 10 of its 14 non-conference games at home. The Yellow Jackets play three games away from home in November and December, all in a row (Nov. 29 at Penn State, Dec. 3 at Tennessee, Dec. 7 at VCU).
• Friday’s game against the Golden Eagles, on Veterans Day, marks Tech’s Salute to Service. Tech will honor members of the United States military, including Yellow Jacket basketball letterwinners who have served. Free meals will be offered to veterans with a valid military ID, and for each ticket purchased to the game, a Tech will donate a ticket to a veteran or active military member of their families.
• Tech has not lost a season-opener when it has been played at home since Nov. 9, 2007 against UNC Greensboro (83-74). That includes one Power 5 conference opponent (Georgia to open 2014-15) and five straight wins at McCamish Pavilion. In fact, Tech has not opened a season away from home since the 1993-94 campaign.
• According to ESPN.com’s John Gasaway, Tech is the least experienced team in Division I, returning only 25 percent of its possession-minutes from 2015-16. Gasaway measures experience by calculating a team’s “returning possession minutes,” the percentage of minutes that a player recorded last season, multiplied by the percentage of the team’s possessions that he used (as listed at kenpom.com).
• Tech lost 78 percent of its scoring and 67 percent of its minutes from last year’s team, which went 21-15 and reached the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament.
• Georgia Tech has won all three of its previous meetings with Tennessee Tech, all of them taking place at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The last one took place on Dec. 27, 2007, an 83-63 Yellow Jacket victory. The first two meetings too place in December of 1978 under head coach Dwane Morrison (a 108-63 win) and in November of 1984 with Bobby Cremins as the head coach (a 96-78 win).
• Tech is 12-1 all-time against the current membership of the Ohio Valley Conference. The lone loss occurred to Murray State on Jan. 25, 1954, in Murray, Ky.
• Tech head coach Josh Pastner won his only meeting with Tennessee Tech while he was the head man at Memphis, a 92-59 win on Nov. 20, 2009.
RECAP OF SHORTER EXHIBITION
Tadric Jackson scored a team-high 27 points, nine of them in overtime, lifting Georgia Tech past Shorter, 95-87, last Saturday night in an exhibition game at McCamish Pavilion.
Center Ben Lammers added 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets, who open their regular season at home (8 p.m.) next Friday night against Tennessee Tech. Freshman Josh Okogie scored 16 points and Quinton Stephens chipped in 11 to help the Jackets avoid defeat to the Division II Hawks from Rome, Ga.
In its first public contest under new head coach Josh Pastner, Tech rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final 6:06 to force the extra period, and Jackson scored six points in the final 2:44, including a pair of game-tying free throws with 12 seconds on the clock. In overtime, Tech took charge by scoring the first seven points, five of those by Jackson.
Notable: Tech missed all 14 of its three-point attempts ... Lammers and Jackson each went 9-for-10 from the floor, Jackson also made 9-of-11 free throws in the game ... Tech out-rebounded the Hawks 45-32 and shot 55.9 percent from the floor, including 6-of-9 in overtime) ... Tech scored 62 points in the paint, 28 off 19 Shorter turnovers and 20 off 13 offensive rebounds ... Tech shot just 61.3 percent (19-for-31) from the foul line, but hit 7 of its last 8 in regulation and 5-for-5 in overtime.
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.