Previewing Georgia Tech

Javaris Crittenton

Georgia Tech (14-8, 3-6) is coming off a huge win against Clemson, and the Yellow Jackets have been stellar at home. Pack Pride takes a closer look at tomorrow's opponent -- tip-off is at 7:00 p.m.

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    PROJECTED STARTERS
    F- 32 Jeremis Smith (6-8, 236)
    F- 33 Thaddeus Young (6-8, 217)
    C- 04 Ra'Sean Dickey (6-10, 250)
    G- 23 Anthony Morrow (6-5, 210)
    G- 01 Javaris Crittenton (6-5, 198)

    STAR WATCH
    Javaris Crittenton - The talented freshman point guard is coming off a career-high 26-point outing against Clemson, as he helped snap Tech's four-game losing streak with the win.

    At 6-foot-5, Crittenton presents matchup problems for opposing point guards with his size and athleticism.

    KEY NOTES
    QUICK LOOK AT GEORGIA TECH
    Georgia Tech has a solid returning nucleus of veteran players, but the Yellow Jackets have started three freshmen in 16 of their 22 games this season, including forward Thaddeus Young and point guard Javaris Crittenton, who have been the Yellow Jackets' offensive leaders.

    Crittenton, a 6-5 point guard from Atlanta, is the trigger man, averaging 13.6 points (45.6 pct. FG) as well as 5.5 assists per game (third in the ACC). Crittenton has made 41.8 percent of his three-point tries overall this season, has averaged a team-high 14.8 points in Tech's ACC games, and has played an average of 34.9 minutes in those games.

    Young, a 6-8 small forward, has been around the team lead in scoring all season, currently at a team-best 14.3 points per game. The Memphis, Tenn., native has averaged 13.1 points in Tech's ACC games, and has made 49 percent of his shots from the floor in conference play.

    Tech's inside game is carried by two veterans in Ra'Sean Dickey, a 6-10 junior from Clio, S.C., and Jeremis Smith, a 6-8 junior from Fort Worth, Texas. Smith, the only Tech player to start every game this season, gives Tech some muscle inside on defense and on the boards, averaging 8.8 points and 5.7 rebounds. He leads Tech in field goal percentage (61.3 percent) and has 10 double-digit scoring efforts.

    Since returning to the starting lineup for the Centenary game on Dec. 18, Dickey has posted nine double-figure efforts and has made 65.4 percent of his field goal attempts in ACC games (58.8 percent overall). Dickey averages 8.6 points and 5.9 rebounds overall this season, 10.4 points and 5.3 rebounds vs. the ACC.

    Red-shirt freshman Mouhammad Faye, who has started eight of the last 10 games, had a career game against Virginia Tech with 17 points (7-13 FG) and nine rebounds (seven offensive). A 6-10 forward from Dakar, Senegal, Faye has averaged 5.0 points and 3.5 rebounds this season, but his biggest contributions come on defense, where his 7-foot-3 wingspan has caused havoc in Tech's press and in halfcourt defensive situations.

    Off the bench, Mario West, a 6-5 senior guard (4.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.8 steals), has been the Jackets' catalyst on defense and logged important backup minutes at point guard, but came through on the offensive end against Florida State with a career-high 18 points. Anthony Morrow, a 6-5 junior, has returned to his form of 2005-06, averaging 14.0 points (54.4 pct. FG) over Tech's last nine games. He averages 9.5 points for the season, 11.3 vs. the ACC.

    Also averaging double-digit minutes are Peacock, who started the first nine games of the season and averages 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds (50.5 pct. FG) as Tech's backup center and power forward, and 6-5 sophomore wing D'Andre Bell (0.6 ppg, 0.3 rpg).

    JACKETS SPUTTER ON OFFENSIVE END
    Prior to the Clemson game, Georgia Tech found life difficult on the offensive end, averaging just 66.5 points in its last four games in losses to North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. The Jackets responded with 82 points in the win over the Tigers, but the previous four games are a cause for concern.

    In each, the Yellow Jackets dug deep holes for themselves in the first half, falling behind by 11 at UNC, 17 at Maryland, nine to Virginia Tech and 11 to Wake Forest. Tech shot just 34.5 percent in the opening frame at North Carolina, 41.4 percent at Maryland and 31.4 percent against Virginia Tech before improving to 46.4 percent at Wake Forest. After halftime, the Jackets rallied but could get no closer than three points to either opponent.

    Tech turned the ball over 60 times in the four games combined (only nine at Wake Forest, however), and assisted on just 39 of 106 field goals. The Jackets have not gotten to the free throw line much either, and have not shot well there when they have (57.1 percent on 63 attempts).

    INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY
    The layers continue to peel off for Tech's "International Man of Mystery," red-shirt freshman forward Mouhammad Faye. The 6-10 Faye put forth his best game as a Yellow Jacket against Virginia Tech, scoring 17 points (7-of-13 FG) and nine rebounds. Many of his baskets came off his seven offensive rebounds, and he added an assist and a steal. He followed with six points at Wake Forest Wednesday.

    A native of Dakar, Senegal, Faye had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist in the summer, but returned in time to begin practice with the teams in October and was at full strength by the team's exhibition game against Morehouse. A disruptive force on defense because of his 7-foot-3 wingspan, and a skilled passer, Faye has has started eight of Tech's last 10 games and averaged 6.8 points and 4.8 rebounds over that stretch with nine assists, seven blocked shots and 11 steals.

    MORROW BACK TO FORM
    Anthony Morrow, Tech's 6-5 junior guard who missed the first three weeks of practice recovering from a stress fracture in his lower back, has worked his way back into the form which made him the ACC's leading three-point shooter in 2005-06.

    The Charlotte, N.C., native showed a little bit of a different game against Virginia Tech, working his way inside for eight of his 18 points and shooting 7-for-11 from the floor. He still went 3-for-6 from three-point range, and has hit 52.2 percent of his three-balls over Tech's last nine games.

    Although he is has started just one game this season while averaging just over 20 minutes per game, Morrow is Tech's third-leading scorer in ACC games (11.3 ppg), hitting 45.5 percent of his threes and 50 percent overall, as well as 88.9 percent from the foul line. He has scored in double figures in nine of his last 10 games (14.0 ppg, 54.4 pct. FG over that stretch).

    Morrow resumed full practice on Nov. 5 after not participating in any strength and conditioning work or individual instruction after mid-August, when his injury was diagnosed. Morrow led the team in scoring (16.0 points per game) and the ACC in three-point shooting (42.9 percent) last year.

    PHOTO GALLERY

    Javaris Crittenton, Thaddeus Young


    Jeremis Smith, Anthony Morrow


    Mario West, Ra'Sean Dickey

    (Photos courtesy AP)

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