THE FLATS – Georgia Tech finishes off a stretch of three home games in its first four to open the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule Thursday night when Clemson comes calling for a 7 p.m. regionally televised contest at McCamish Pavilion.
Tech (9-6, 1-2 ACC), in its first season under head coach Josh Pastner, got through its first three games, all against top 10 teams, defeating No. 9 North Carolina before losing to No. 8 Duke and No. 9 Louisville. The Yellow Jackets are 8-3 at McCamish Pavilion this season.
Clemson (11-4, 1-2 ACC), which under head coach Brad Brownell has traditionally been tough defensively for Tech, won its ACC opener at Wake Forest but has since lost in overtime at home to North Carolina and lost at Notre Dame.
Thursday’s game will be televised regionally on the Regional Sport Network (Fox Sports South in Atlanta), and will be streamed live online on the ACC Network, available through the WatchESPN app. 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. 145, XM ch. 193).
- Josh Okogie’s 211 points through 15 games (scored 15 vs. Louisville Saturday) are the most for a Yellow Jacket freshman since Thaddeus Young piled up 211 through his first 14 games in 2006-07, and he has 11 double-digit efforts.
- Ben Lammers and Josh Okogie combined to score 39 of Tech’s 50 points against Louisville. In three ACC games, they have accounted for 52.7 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ scoring.
- Three keys for Tech – The Jackets have won every game this season (9-0) in which they shot a better percentage from the floor, are 8-0 when scoring 70 points and 8-1 when attempting more free throws than the opponent.
- Georgia Tech is on the road for its next three games (at NC State, Virginia Tech and Virginia), its longest road stretch of the season.
- Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner went 4-4 against ACC teams while he was the head coach at Memphis, but never faced North Carolina or Duke. He was 2-2 vs. Louisville, 2-0 vs. Miami, 0-1 vs. Syracuse and 0-1 vs. Virginia.
- This is the oldest and longest-running series the Yellow Jackets have with an ACC member. The 128 all-time meetings are 33 more than Tech has played with any other ACC opponent. The series dates back to the 1912-13 season, when John Heisman coached the Tech basketball team.
- Clemson is one of two permanent home-and-away opponents on Tech’s schedule each year (Notre Dame is the other).
- Georgia Tech has won the last two meetings in the series, including an 88-85 win at the 2016 ACC Tournament. They are Tech’s first back-to-back wins in the series since the last meeting of the 2008-09 season and the first 2009-10 meeting.
- The Yellow Jackets trail 44-33 to the Tigers since joining the ACC.
- Tech has an all-time record of 41-24 against the Tigers at home, including 27-15 record at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and a 1-2 mark at McCamish Pavilion.
- Tech is 2-10 vs. Clemson under head coach Brad Brownell. In the 12 meetings with the Tigers and Brownell, the Yellow Jackets have averaged 59.4 points per game.
LAST MEETING VS. CLEMSON
Down 18 with 9:25 left, Georgia Tech stormed all the way back to force overtime and beat Clemson 88-85 in the second round of the ACC Tournament. It was the biggest ACC Tournament comeback win since North Carolina erased a 19-point deficit to beat Miami in 2011.
Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 24 of his final 28 points after halftime, and Adam Smith made four of his seven 3-point attempts to finish with 23.
Georges-Hunt was dominant as the 10th-seeded Yellow Jackets (19-13) chipped away at seventh-seeded Clemson’s lead. After just four points in the first half, Georgia Tech’s leading scorer listened to teammates when they told him to go to the basket.
With Smith’s shot keeping Clemson (17-14) honest, Georges-Hunt drove and picked up foul after foul and went 15 of 16 from the line.
The glass also hurt Clemson as Georgia Tech won the rebounding battle 46-28 and 28-17 after halftime.
Even after blowing the lead, Clemson had a chance to win it with the score tied at 80 after two free throws by Georges-Hunt with 12.2 seconds left. But Avry Holmes missed a shot from the baseline with the clock running out.
PASTNER ON FIRST THREE ACC GAMES
“We’ll bounce back at it. We’re right there. In this three-game stretch, playing three teams that could win the national championship, to come out 1-2 and besides the first five minutes of this game, to have played pretty well for the most part in terms of effort, energy and defensively, I think there’s a lot of build on, and we’ll have to just keep working and get better.”
- Georgia Tech started Heath, Lammers, Moore, Okogie and Stephens, creating the fifth different starting lineup used by the Jackets this season. Three Yellow Jackets – Ben Lammers, Josh Okogie and Quinton Stephens – have started every game this season.
- Tech trailed at the half for just the fifth time this season, matching its season low for points at halftime vs. Georgia (both games 27-18).
- Tech nearly doubled its score in the final 12 minutes of the game. Trailing 41-26 with 12:14 left, the Jackets reeled off 12 straight points, 10 of them by Ben Lammers, and extended the run to 14-5 over a five-minute stretch to get as close as three points.
- The two teams shot a combined 36.4 percent from the floor (Tech 34.0, Louisville 38.3). Tech has held six of its last seven opponents under 40 percent. It was the sixth time this season the Jackets have shot under 40 percent.
- Louisville, last in the ACC in three-point percentage entering the game, made 9-of-16 in the game, one game after Duke connected on 16 in 31 attempts. By comparison, Tech was 1-for-8 and is 6-for-25 in ACC games.
- Tech’s top two scorers, Ben Lammers and Josh Okogie, combined for 39 of the Jackets’ 50 points.
- Tech was out-rebounded for the fourth consecutive game and for the eighth time this season. Louisville had 16 offensive rebounds and 18 second-chance points.
- In a battle of the ACC’s top two shot-blocking teams, Louisville took the crown with 12 to Tech’s seven.
- Pastner meter (assists to made field goals): Tech assisted on 11 of 17 made field goals (64.7 pct.) vs. Louisville, 60 percent goal accomplished. Tech is 59.4 percent for the season
- Pastner meter (free throws made to opponents’ attempts): Tech made 15 of 20 free throws to Louisville’s 10 of 20 (goal of making more than opponent tries not accomplished). For the season, Tech has made 233 free throws, opponents have attempted 235.
- Ben Lammers scored a career-best 24 points, 13 of which came during a 14-3 second-half run that cut a 15-point Louisville lead to four points. He made 9-of-14 shots from the floor, 6-of-6 from the foul line and came up one rebound shy of his eighth double-double this year. He returned to double digits against Louisville after missing for the first time this season at Duke (9 points). He added three blocked shots to get to 50 this season, and he sat for one minute, his longest playing time of the season for a regulation game.
- Lammers has a pair of 20-point games this season, unfortunately both came in losses. His previous best was 22 vs. Ohio on Nov. 18.
- Josh Okogie scored 15 points and reached double figures for the 11th time this season. He also had three assists, all three to Lammers during that 14-3 run.
- Abdoulaye Gueye’s 18 minutes were his most since logging 18 against Alcorn State on Dec. 18.