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January 23, 2008Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt and North Carolina State coach Sidney Lowe both know what each other is going through.
Lowe is breaking in new point guards Marques Johnson, a sophomore, and Javier Gonzalez, a freshman. Hewitt starts freshman Maurice Miller, but has senior transfer Matt Causey ready to go in reserve.
Solid play at point guard could be the difference tonight with Georgia Tech playing at North Carolina State at 7 p.m. at the RBC Center.
Inconsistent point guard play has helped both teams struggle at times. However, both coaches saw improvement in their last games.
Causey came off the bench to score 30 points thanks to 7 of 12 shooting from 3-point range to help Georgia Tech post its first ACC win over Virginia Tech last Saturday.
Gonzalez also came off the bench and guided the Wolfpack to a 79-77 victory against Miami on Saturday. Causey's 30 points in one game isn't that far off from Gonzalez and Johnson's points total for the season - 41.
Gonzalez's floor game is what impressed Lowe, though he did score six points, grab three rebounds and add three assists in 27 minutes, which tied his season high.
"He was certainly more comfortable here at this game," Lowe said. "Being at home and in front of our crowd that definitely helped him. He played with great poise. He knew when to push it and when to pull it back. He executed the plays down the stretch to perfection. He was just real, real poised. I think that will continue to happen and he'll get better."
Lowe admits starting as a point guard in the ACC as a freshman is a tough situation for Gonzalez to be in. He is encouraged by the steady progress he is making.
"I think he's making the adjustment," Lowe said. "In high school, he scored. He didn't handle the ball all of the time. He was coming off screens. A lot of times he was off the ball. I think he's doing a nice job for us."
Georgia Tech preview
NC State 2007-2008 roster
Georgia Tech roster
Georgia Tech schedule/results
ACC - Georgia Tech (8-9, 1-3 ACC) at North Carolina State (12-5, 1-2 ACC)
Game time: Wednesday, Jan. 23, 7 p.m. - RBC Center, Raleigh, N.C.
PG - 13 Marques Johnson (6-5, Soph., 1.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.6 apg)
SG - 4 Courtney Fells (6-5, Jr., 10.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.2 apg)
SF - 11 Gavin Grant (6-8, Sr., 13.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.0 apg)
PF - 33 Brandon Costner (6-9, Soph., 10.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.4 apg)
C - 1 J.J. Hickson (6-9, Fr., 15.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.6 bpg)
PG - 3 Maurice Miller (6-1, Fr., 6.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 3.0 apg) or 2 Matt Causey (6-0, Sr., 6.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 3.6 apg)
SG - 13 D'Andre Bell (6-5, Jr., 5.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.9 apg)
SF - 23 Anthony Morrow (6-5, Sr., 15.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.1 apg)
PF - 32 Jeremis Smith (6-8, Sr. 10.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.2 apg)
C - 31 Gani Lawal (6-8, Fr., 7.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.7 bpg)
Scouting Georgia Tech
Location: Atlanta, Ga.
Nickname: Yellow Jackets
2006-2007 record: 20-12 overall, 8-8 ACC
2007 postseason: Lost 67-63 to UNLV in the first round of the NCAA Tournament
Coach: Paul Hewitt, 135-94 in seven years at Georgia Tech, and 201-131 in 10 years overall.
The all-time series with NC State: NC State leads 48-33
Last meeting: Georgia Tech won 74-65 on Feb. 6, 2007, at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta.
Georgia Tech: Lawal and Hickson both played in the McDonald's All-American game and Roundball Classic last spring. The two Atlanta area products text each other occasionally. Hickson was ranked higher, but Lawal won the coveted Mr. Basketball award and led Norcross High to a state title ... Junior power forward Alade Aminu is the older brother of high school senior star Al Farouq Aminu, who signed with Wake Forest and is one of the top 15 players in the country. Al Farouq picked the Demon Deacons over Georgia Tech and North Carolina ... Since 1979, 38 Georgia Tech players have been drafted by the NBA, with 24 playing one season or more. The Yellow Jackets lost Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young to the draft last year following their freshman seasons.
NC State: The Wolfpack holds a 27-8 advantage against the Yellow Jackets in games played in Raleigh, including winning the last 10. The last time NC State lost at home to Georgia Tech was Jan. 24, 1996 ... Fells is shooting 46.7 percent from 3-point range (10 of 21) in ACC play. The Wolfpack's 11 three-pointers against Miami were the most ever under Lowe ... NC State is 11-0 when outshooting its opponent this year, and rank fourth in the ACC in field-goal percentage defense (39.3 percent).
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