Georgia Tech-Chattanooga Preview
Georgia Tech has had more than a week to get ready for a busy stretch of four games in nine days.
The 22nd-ranked Yellow Jackets will play their first true road game of the season Monday night when they visit Chattanooga in search of their sixth straight win.
Georgia Tech (6-1) has not played since a 79-53 victory over Southern California on Dec. 5. The Yellow Jackets haven't lost since a 63-59 loss to then-No. 18 Dayton on Nov. 19 in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
This is the first of two games in three days for Georgia Tech before it hosts Florida State on Sunday in the ACC opener for both teams. The Yellow Jackets have had to split time between practice and exams the past week.
"It's actually a pretty good time of the year as you can put in some new sets, and you have some games under your belt, so you know what things you need to work on," coach Paul Hewitt said. "We'll probably put in two or three new plays between now and when we play Florida State."
Georgia Tech is still in the process of getting used to playing without assist leader Iman Shumpert. The club learned it will be without Shumpert, who is out at least three weeks after knee surgery, before the victory over USC.
"It's a big loss, but it does have a chance to be a plus in the long run," Hewitt said. "We have the chance to develop more depth and get some guys some more playing time and see which guys are capable of helping us."
Freshman Brian Oliver got the start in place of Shumpert and led Georgia Tech with 18 points against the Trojans. Oliver made four 3-pointers and has made 15 of 30 this season.
"Just finding the open man," Oliver said. "We're getting familiar with (where) everybody needs to be and understanding where we need to be in the offense."
Oliver becomes the third freshman in the starting lineup along with Derrick Favors and Mfon Udofia. Favors is second on the team in scoring with 13.4 points per game and Udofia third at 12.9.
Georgia Tech has won 11 straight meetings with Chattanooga, including an 81-74 victory in the last matchup Dec. 22, 1992.
Chattanooga (5-4) is hosting a ranked team for the first time since a 76-70 loss to then-No. 10 Tennessee on Dec. 4, 2007. The Mocs drew a sellout crowd of 11,221 fans for that contest, and are hoping for a similar turnout Monday.
"I fully expect to have a great effort and a great crowd," coach John Shulman said. "I know it is hard to get a great crowd before Christmas, but the last time I checked Tennessee was before Christmas and we had a great crowd."
The Mocs have won three of four after an 82-60 win over Mississippi Valley State 82-60 on Saturday behind Ricky Taylor's career-high 22 points.
Senior guard Ty Patterson scored 16 in his season debut. Patterson had been suspended the first eight games due to academics.