Tech Hosts Southern California to Finish Homestand
Jackets look for fifth straight win
Dec. 4, 2009
Scroll to bottom to see video of Coach Hewitt's comments
ATLANTA - Georgia Tech finishes off a three-game homestand leading into fall semester finals by hosting Southern California at 6 p.m. Saturday night at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex. The game is a return trip following the Yellow Jackets' visit to Los Angeles last December, a 76-57 win for the Trojans.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-1, 0-0 ACC) vs.
Tech is 5-1 following a 74-61 homecourt victory over Siena on Wednesday, and has won four straight games since an opening-round loss to Dayton in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The Yellow Jackets are 3-0 at home this season.
USC comes to Atlanta with a 2-3 record following a 69-50 loss to Texas Thursday night in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.
The Jackets are shooting 49.9 percent from the floor as a team (second-best figure in the ACC), having exceeded 50 percent in three of six games, have outscored their opponents by an average of 14.5 points a game and outrebounded them by an average of 9.8. They have struggled, however, with turnovers, committing 18.2 per game.
Georgia Tech has a 167-13 record against non-conference teams in Alexander Memorial Coliseum since the 1981-82 season.
The Yellow Jackets began the season ranked 22nd in the Associated Press poll, and 20th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. The Jackets dropped out of the AP rankings last week but remain in the coaches poll at No. 23.
Series with Southern California
> Saturday's game is only the third meeting between Tech and Southern California. The first occurred in the second round of the 1992 NCAA Tournament in Milwaukee, Wis. In that game, James Forrest took an inbounds pass with 0.8 seconds on the clock and drained a three-point field goal from about 25 feet away, lifting the Yellow Jackets to a 79-78 win.
> In last year's game, USC outscored Tech 40-23 after halftime in pulling away to a 76-57 win at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. Lewis Clinch (25 points) and Alade Aminu (11), both of whom are now playing in the NBDL, were Tech's only double-figure scorers. Two USC starters from that game return, including Dwight Lewis, who led the Trojans with 19 points.
> The last time Tech played a team from the West Coast in Atlanta was Dec. 11, 1999, when Stanford defeated the Yellow Jackets 64-61 at Philips Arena. The last West Coast (or further) team to visit Alexander Memorial Coliseum was the University of Hawaii, whom the Yellow Jackets defeated, 85-82, on Jan. 6, 1973.
> Tech is 7-11 all-time against members of the Pac-10 Conference.
> Tech leads the ACC in rebound average (43.2 pg) and is third rebound margin (+9.8) ... The Jackets also rank fourth in field goal percentage defense (36.3 pct.) and second in three-point percentage defense (25.3 pct.).
> Tech has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in three of six games, and the Jackets are second in the ACC in field goal percentage (49.9 pct.) ... The Jackets shot 50 percent in seven games all of last season.
> Mercer is the only team this season to out-rebound Tech (39-35).
> Only one Tech opponent (Dayton at 32.1 pct.) has shot 30 percent from three-point range.
> Tech has two of the top three players in the ACC in field goal percentage - Derrick Favors at 72.7 percent and Gani Lawal at 62.5 percent ... Zachery Peacock has hit 67.7 percent of his tries, but he does not have enough field goals to qualify.
> In Tech's last three games, Favors, Lawal and Peacock have made 51 of 68 shots from the floor (75 percent).
> In Tech's season-opener against FAMU, each team attempted 20 three-point field goals. In the five gwmes since, Tech's opponents tried 138 to the Jackets' 68.
> In its last two games, Tech is 30-of-40 (75 percent) from the free throw line.
> Tech has been on the plus side of the turnover battle twice in six games, and it has had a positive assist-turnover ratio three times ... The Jackets have committed the same number or fewer fouls in four of six games.
> Tech has made at least two three-pointers in every game this season, averaging 5.0 to rank sixth in the ACC ... The Jackets have not been held without a three-point field goal since Feb. 23, 2005 against Duke, a streak of 137 consecutive games with at least one.
> No Tech player has averaged more than 27.5 minutes per game (Iman Shumpert) ... Only five times has a Yellow Jacket played 30 minutes in a game this season - Shumpert three times and Udofia twice.
Coach Hewitt ...
On Mfon Udofia - "Mfon is just a basketball player, he's a throwback. He just does whatever is needed and he doesn't force much. He is a good, smart, tough player. He's one of those guys that just wills the ball into the basket. He's never going to be your first option when shooting a three, but I'll tell you what, in a late game situation, he's going to knock them down. That's the kind of confidence he has in himself."
On if the team has played a complete game yet on the year - "No. As a matter of fact in practice today I'm going to show the guys a stretch of play from the 10 minute mark of the first half to about the 13 minute mark of the second half in the George Mason game where we had a 25-4 run. We just played great defense and took good shots, nothing really out of the ordinary, We just played good, hard, aggressive defense, created some loose ball situations and turned the loose balls into some easy buckets in transition.
"My biggest concern right now is our ability to track down loose balls. If you look back at the Siena game, there were 10 loose balls and they got eight of them. Those are where you lose opportunities to get buckets in transition."
On USC - "They're a good team. Getting back Alex Stevenson and Marcus Johnson makes them a much better team. They're going to be good by the end of the year. Obviously, their in a tough stretch right now losing to Nebraska and Texas and now coming here, but by the end of the year they should be a good basketball team.
"They're the biggest team we've played so far this year, so our big guys are going to get tested. We're going to find out more about Derrick [Favors] and Gani [Lawal] and what they're capable of doing. We just have to get back to playing pressure defense like we have at times this year."