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Georgia Tech plays rare role as visitor at Georgia State

Sportsnaut
Oct 12, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, US; Georgia Tech Coach Josh Partner during the ACC Tip Off media day in Charlotte, NC.  Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech will make a three-mile road trip on Saturday night for a rare visit to Georgia State.

The teams have played the last two seasons at Georgia Tech, with Georgia State winning in a four-overtime classic in 2020 and Georgia Tech prevailing in overtime in 2021.

Georgia Tech, who leads the series 18-3, has not played at Georgia State since 2007. This will be their first meeting in Georgia State’s new 7,300-seat Convocation Center, which just opened.

Georgia Tech (1-0) started the season with a 93-63 win over Division II Clayton State on Monday. Georgia State (1-0) began with a 76-59 win over NAIA school Coastal Georgia, marking the debut for first-year coach Jonas Hayes.

The Yellow Jackets have eight returners back from last year’s 12-20 team that graduated its two leading scorers. Returning starters include Kyle Sturdivant, who had 10 points and five assists on Monday, and 6-foot-11 Rodney Howard, who posted his fourth career double-double, going for 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Georgia Tech added two talented transfers: Lance Terry, who averaged 14.3 points last season at Gardner-Webb, and Javon Franklin, who averaged 12.2 points and 7.8 rebounds at South Alabama.

Terry scored 16 in his Georgia Tech debut, while Franklin added seven points and five rebounds off the bench.

“We’ve been scoring the ball,” Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said, “but our path to being successful is through offensive and defensive rebounding. That provides you with an umbrella when the shots aren’t falling.”

Georgia State graduated its top four scorers from last year’s team that went 18-11, won the Sun Belt Conference tournament and lost to No. 1 Gonzaga in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Hayes, who led Xavier to the NIT Championship as interim coach last spring, imported three key transfers, Dwon Odom (Xavier), Brenden Tucker (College of Charleston) and Jamaine Mann (Vanderbilt), and signed 6-foot-10 freshman Edward Nnamoko.

Sophomore Ja’Heim Hudson led the way on Monday, putting up 16 points and 10 rebounds in the opener for his second career double-double. Odom also scored 16 points, while Tucker and Evan Johnson had 11 apiece.

“I’m glad to have this thing going,” Hayes said. “As we put this program together, it has a lot of moving parts, a lot of newness. I think to get this first one out of the way in the fashion that we did bodes well for us.”

–Field Level Media