Georgia Tech Basketball Visits Tennessee
Yellow Jackets and Volunteers tip at 1 p.m. Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena
Knoxville, Tenn. - Georgia Tech plays its second game in a three-game road stretch Saturday, visiting Tennessee in the 71st game of a series between two former Southeastern Conference foes at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tech (4-2), in its first season under head coach Josh Pastner, is back in action following a 67-60 loss Tuesday night at Penn State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Yellow Jackets began the season with five straight games at home, winning four of those, before hitting the road for the first time.
Tennessee (2-3), in its second year under head coach Rick Barnes, is playing for the first time since competing in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational early in the week of Thanksgiving. The Volunteers defeated Chaminade in their final game there after losses to Wisconsin and Oregon (in overtime).
Saturday’s game will not be televised, but will be streamed live on SEC Network Plus, available through the WatchESPN app. Radio coverage is provided by Tech’s flagship station, WCNN-AM (680 AM/93.7 FM). The game also can be heard on satellite radio (Sirius ch. 93, XM ch. 191).
• Saturday’s game is the middle game of a stretch of three straight road games for Georgia Tech, who will visit VCU next Wednesday. They are the only non-conference road games for the Yellow Jackets, who began the season with five straight home games and play four more at McCamish Pavilion after this road stretch.
• Saturday’s game is a return for Tennessee’s visit to Atlanta last November, a 69-67 Tech victory. The teams have two more games scheduled for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
• This is Tech’s second visit to the Thompson-Boling Arena, where the Yellow Jackets’ national runner-up team captured a 76-60 victory over the Vols in February of 2004.
• 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).
• Tennessee has a 42-28 lead in the all-time series which dates back to 1921. The teams were Southeastern Conference rivals from 1932-64, and the teams continued to meet annually through the 1967-68 season before taking a 14-year hiatus.
• Among non-Atlantic Coast Conference teams, only Auburn (114 meetings), Georgia (192), Vanderbilt (73) and Tulane (71) have been more frequent opponents than Tennessee (70).
• Georgia Tech won the last meeting between the two teams Nov. 16 of last season, 69-67 at McCamish Pavilion.
• The last time Georgia Tech and Tennessee met in Knoxville, on Feb. 7, 2004, a 77-62 Tech win, Paul Hewitt was the Yellow Jackets’ head coach, and Buzz Peterson was the Volunteers’ head man.
• In that game, Marvin Lewis, now Tech’s associate director of athletics and chief financial officer, lead the Jackets with 18 points, hitting 8-of-11 shots from the floor and 5-of-6 from three-point range. B.J. Elder added 20 points for Tech.
• Tech is 9-24 all-time against the Volunteers in Knoxville, including a 1-0 record at Thompson-Boling Arena, 2-8 at Stokely Athletics Center and 3-12 at Alumni Memorial Gym.
• Second-year Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes was 5-3 against Tech during his four-year stint at Clemson (1994-98). First-year Tech head coach Josh Pastner was 3-2 against the Volunteers while at Memphis.
• Tech and Tennessee have played 10 times since the Yellow Jackets left the SEC. The Volunteers won the first eight of those, including a 70-69 win on a last-second, half-court heave by Jon Higgins at Phillips Arena on Dec. 15, 2002.
• Saturday’s game is the second of four meetings the teams have agreed to play. The teams will play in McCamish Pavilion in 2017-18 and play again in Knoxville in 2018-19.
LAST YEAR’S MEETING
Nick Jacobs matched his career high with 23 points and Georgia Tech rallied after trailing by nine points early in the second half to beat Tennessee 69-67 on Nov. 16, 2015 at McCamish Pavilion.
Jacobs also had nine rebounds as Georgia Tech (2-0) overcame abysmal outside shooting. The Yellow Jackets made only 2 of 19 3-pointers.
With Georgia Tech leading 69-67, Tennessee’s Kevin Punter missed two free throws with 1:19 remaining.
Following a missed long 3-pointer by Yellow Jackets guard Adam Smith, the Vols grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 6 seconds remaining. Devon Baulkman missed a last-second fallaway 3-pointer.
The Vols opened the second half with a 15-4 run for a 53-44 lead. Tennessee’s continued strong work on the offensive boards set up second-chance points that were a key to the run. Following a Georgia Tech timeout, Jacobs scored to launch a 14-2 run that gave the Yellow Jackets a 58-55 lead. The Vols went more than 4 minutes without scoring.
JACKETS DROP FIRST ROAD GAME
Quinton Stephens led Georgia Tech (4-2) with 13 points and 11 rebounds while Ben Lammers had 12 points and 11 rebounds, but the Yellow Jackets dropped their ACC/Big Ten Challenge game to Penn State, 67-60, Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Josh Reaves sank his first 3-pointer of the season with the Nittany Lions clinging to a two-point lead and 1:40 remaining, dashing any hopes the Yellow Jackets had for a late comeback.
Shep Garner scored 17 points and Mike Watkins added 12 and grabbed 12 rebounds to help secure the win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge game. Penn State (5-3) led for 20:57, including most of the second half, and closed out the game on a 10-5 run keyed by Reaves’ shot. It was one of just four 3-pointers that landed for the Nittany Lions, who attempted 15.
Okogie gave Georgia Tech its last lead on the first shot of the second half. His 3-pointer put the Yellow Jackets up 31-30 before Penn State jumped back out front. Okogie pulled his squad into a tie with another 3 to make it 39-39 with 13 minutes remaining.
• At Penn State, Tech trailed at the half for the first time this season, surrendering seven straight points to the Nittany Lion after leading 28-23 to trail 30-28 at the half. Tech’s last lead was 31-30 at the 19:47 mark of the second half, and was last tied at 42-42 (10:42 left).
• Tech shot 36.4 percent from the floor for the game, the second time the Yellow Jackets have been held under 40 percent in six games. The Jackets have shot 45.1 percent this season.
• Tech assisted on 15 of its 24 made field goals (62.5 pct.), meeting its stated goal, and stands at 58.6 percent for the season.
• Tech’s two losses have come by nearly identical scores, 67-61 to Ohio, 67-60 to Penn State. Those are Tech’s season lows for points.
• Tech connected on 7-of-16 from three-point range (43.8 pct.) against Penn State, season highs for three-pointers made and attempted, and is 17-for-38 in its last three games, 37 percent for the season. The Jackets made only 10 in their first three games (28.6 percent).
• Tech went 5-for-7 from the free throw line, easily its fewest makes and attempts this season from the charity stripe.
• Tech’s 17 turnovers were a season high, many of the live ball variety, and Penn State converted them into 24 points. Tech has surrendered 46 points off 32 turnovers in its last two games.
• Tech blocked eight more shots against Penn State, and is averaging exactly nine per game, which still leads the nation.
• Quinton Stephens scored in double figures (13 points) for the fifth time in six games and posted his third consecutive double-double (fourth career) with 11 rebounds.
• Ben Lammers reached double figures in scoring for the sixth time in six games with 12 points (6-of-12 FG), and also recorded his fourth double-double this season with 10 rebounds. Lammers is 21-for-32 from the floor in his last three games and has hit 61.8 percent for the season.
• Lammers blocked four more shots against Tulane, giving him 32 in six games to maintain his NCAA lead at 5.3 per game.
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.