Atlanta, GA - In its final game before Christmas, Georgia Tech plays its sixth game away from home Wednesday night when the Yellow Jackets visit Siena at the Times Union Center for a 7 p.m. game.
The game will mark Tech head coach Paul Hewitt’s first visit for a game at the school and arena where he coached for three seasons (1997-2000) and built a 66-27 record. The teams met last December in Atlanta, a 74-61 Tech victory, and will meet again in Atlanta next season.
Tech (6-4) has won two straight games, getting a 67-54 win over Richmond in the Battle At Atlantis in the Bahamas last Saturday. The Yellow Jackets are looking for their first win on an opponent’s home floor, having lost games at Kennesaw State and Northwestern.
Hewitt’s team returns two starters and eight letterwinners from a team that won three games in last year’s ACC Tournament to reach the championship game, then won their first-round game in the NCAA Tournament. Tech has been picked to finish ninth in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Siena is 3-6 in its first season under head coach Mitch Buonaguro, winning its last outing, a 72-69 homecourt win over Florida Atlantic. It was the first home win for the Saints this season, where they are 1-4. Two of the three Siena wins have come on the road.
With Wednesday’s game, the Yellow Jackets will have played the majority of their 2010-11 schedule to date away from Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Tech is 0-2 on opponents’ home courts, 2-1 on neutral courts.
Following Siena, Tech returns home for a three-game homestand immediately after the Christmas break against Fordham, Mercer and Charlotte. The Yellow Jackets begin ACC play Jan. 8 at Boston College.
Hewitt is in his 11th season at Tech, the third-longest tenure of any ACC head coach behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (30th season) and Maryland’s Gary Williams (22nd season), and has a record of 183-148.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-4, 0-0 ACC) vs. Siena Saints (3-6, 0-0 MAAC)
Date: Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Eastern time
Site: Times Union Center (capacity 8,876), Albany, N.Y.
Television: Time Warner Cable Network (New York state only)
Radio: Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, live on flagship station WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY-FM (106.7) - Wes Durham, play-by-play; Randy Waters, color.
Satellite Radio: XM Ch. 194
On the web: www.Ramblinwreck.com; www.twitter/com/gtathletics; www.facebook.com/gtathletics
Tech Record Breakdown: 4-1 at home, 0-2 on the road, 2-1 neutral
Series History: tied 1-1
At Times Union Center: 0-1
Series History - Tech vs. Siena
Georgia Tech and Siena have met twice previously, each team winning once. The Yellow Jackets took a 74-61 win over the Saints last Dec. 2 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. In the teams’ only other meeting, Siena downed the Jackets, 76-68, in a first-round NIT game at Knickerbocker Arena (now Times Union Center) in Albany in 1994.
The teams have one common opponent this season - UAlbany. Tech defeated the Saints’ crosstown rival, 78-51, on Nov. 17 in Atlanta, while Siena came up on the short end of an 88-82 overtime win at the Times Union Center on Dec. 4.
Tech has met another Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference team as well this season, registering a 77-51 win over Niagara on Nov. 19 in Atlanta.
Tech Finds Paradise in Win Over Richmond
The Yellow Jackets got balanced scoring and shot 60.9 percent in the second half, building on a 1-point lead at the intermission for a 67-54 victory over Richmond in the inaugural Battle At Atlantis on Paradise island, Bahamas.
Seven different players scored in the second half for Tech, which earned its second straight victory, making up for the limited availability of leading scorer Iman Shumpert, who played just seven minutes after intermission due to leg cramps. The 6-5 junior scored 18 of his game-high 21 points in the first half.
Moe Miller added 11 points for the Jackets, nine in the second half, and Glen Rice, Jr., scored all nine of his points after intermission to lead the Jackets.
Tech also shined defensively, holding the Spiders to 39.2 percent from the floor for the game. Richmond, which was receiving votes in both the AP and coaches polls, came in as the nation’s 7th-best shooting team (51.2 percent).
After falling behind briefly at 36-34 with 14:15 remaining in the game, Tech scored on six of its next seven possessions to take control, and put it away at the free throw line, where the Jackets were 14-of-18 in the second half.
Shoring Up Two Problem Areas
Georgia Tech’s two biggest problem areas of the recent past - turnovers and free throw percentage - have improved dramatically this season.
Tech has averaged 12,8 turnovers per game this season, which is down 3.6 per game from a year ago. That figure ranks 70th in the nation this week, which doesn’t sound so impressive until you compare it with the last two years (314th in 2008-09 and 318th in 2009-10).
Tech’s turnover margin has improved from 246th nationally to 19th.
On the free throw front, Tech is up more than 6 percent from a year ago (from 65.7 percent to 71.9 percent this year). The last two years, the Jackets have ranked 309th and 265th, respectively. This year, they are 76th.