THE FLATS – Looking to rebound from a tough stretch against a quartet of power conference opponents, Georgia Tech returns home Tuesday night to host crosstown foe Georgia State in a 9 p.m. regionally-televised tip at McCamish Pavilion.
Coming up on the short end in their last four games, the defending Atlantic Coast Conference Yellow Jackets (5-5) take on the Panthers on the heels of losses to No. 23/21 Wisconsin (70-66), North Carolina (79-62), No. 25/24 LSU (69-53) and No. 10/9 Southern California since the start of December. Tech had won five in a row prior to that, including an 88-78 road win at Georgia.
Reigning ACC Tournament MVP Michael Devoe (Orlando, Fla.), the ACC’s leading scorer (22.4 points per game) and three-point shooter (50.9 percent, 3.00 made per game), leads the Jackets along with senior forward Jordan Usher (Canton, Ga.), averaging 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Georgia State (6-4) has split four games in the month of December, defeating lower division teams Voorhees (80-51) and Toccoa Falls (92-44) at home while falling to Mercer (83-77) and Mississippi State (79-50) on the road.
Tuesday’s game will be televised live on the ACC’s Regional Network, which is available in Georgia ob Fox Sports Southeast. The ACC Network Extra live stream can be accessed through the ESPN app. Radio coverage will be on the Georgia Tech Sports Network by Legends Sports and flagship station WCNN (680/93.7 the Fan), and on satellite radio (XM channel 371, SiriusXM app 371).
THE OPENING TIP
- Back home for two – Georgia Tech brings a 4-3 home floor record into Tuesday night’s game, while Georgia State is 1-4 in road games this season. Nine of the Yellow Jackets’ 12 games prior to the Christmas break are scheduled at home.
- Fight the power – Tech is comong off a stretch of four straight games against power conference foes, three of whom are ranked in the nation’s top 25 (No. 23/21 Wisconsin, No. 25/24 LSU, No. 10/9 USC). Those teams have a combined record of 40-5 this season. It is the first time the Yellow Jackets have faced as many as three top-25 teams in its non-conference schedule since the 1995-96 season. That season, the Yellow Jackets went 2-3 against No. 4 Georgetown, No. 17 Michigan, No. 5 Kentucky, No. 20 Louisville and No. 2 Massachusetts.
- Holiday rush – Saturday’s game vs. USC began a stretch of three games in six days for Georgia Tech before breaking for Christmas. The Yellow Jackets are squeezing in a pair of home games against Georgia State (Tuesday) and Alabama A&M (Thursday).
- Gang rebounding – Tech has outrebounded six of its 10 opponents this season and has a plus-1.6 rebound margin collectively, the best mark for the Yellow Jackets in five-plus seasons under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has finished a season on the plus side of rebounding margin only once in that span (+0.1 in 2017-18).
- Mikey likes it – Michael Devoe remains the ACC leader in scoring average (22.4 ppg) and three-point percentage (50.9), and ranks No. 2 and 8, respectively, in the nation on those categories.
- Climbing the ladder – After beginning the season No. 36 in career points at Tech, the 6-5 guard has jumped to 24th on the Tech career points list with 1,351 points, passing such Tech luminaries as Iman Shumpert, Drew Barry, Jarrett Jack, Michael Maddox and Tico Brown. He needs 13 points to pass 23rd-place Bobby Kimmel (1.363 from 1954-57)
- Two-point (guard) conversion – Splitting the point guard duties nearly evenly so far this season, Kyle Sturdivant and Deivon Smith have combined to average 12.0 points and 4.1 assists over 10 games, while compiling a 41:31 assist/turnover ratio. Sturdivant started Tech’s first eight games, while Smith has started three. They both started and played together for much of Tech’s win over Charleston Southern in the absence of Michael Devoe.
SERIES NOTES VS. GEORGIA STATE
- Georgia Tech holds a 17-3 overall lead in the series with Georgia State in a series that began in 1970. Georgia State has won the last two meetings, although one of those was an exhibition game in November of 2017 to raise money for hurricane relief efforts that year.
- The Panthers defeated Tech at McCamish Pavilion to open the 2020-21 season, a 123-120 victory in four overtimes, the first quadruple-overtime game in Tech program history.
- Tuesday’s meeting is the second game of a three-game series agreed to by the two programs in the summer of 2020. The Yellow Jackets pay a visit to GSU’s new home arena, currently under construction, next season to complete the series.
- Last year’s meeting was the first regular season game between the two teams since December 17, 2008. The Yellow Jackets won that game, 84-64, at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, extending a winning streak over the Panthers to 14 games.
- The Panthers’ other two wins in the series occurred on March 10, 1973 season at Georgia State (77-73), and January 21, 1976 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum (69-62).
- Georgia Tech is facing Panthers head coach Rob Lanier for just the second time. Lanier was an assistant coach for Rick Barnes at Tennessee for all four of the Yellow Jackets’ recent meetings against the Volunteers.
- Tech-GSU connections: Panther assistant coaches Cliff Warren and Chris Kreider both worked at Georgia Tech for former head coach Paul Hewitt. Warren was on the Tech staff from 2000-05 before becoming the head coach at Jacksonville University. Kreider was a graduate assistant from 2007-09.
The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team won the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship in 2021 after finishing fourth in the regular season. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, winning four ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993, 2021), playing in the NCAA Tournament 17 times and playing 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 Ramblinwreck.com.