Georgia Tech Basketball: Seniors Look to Go Out On a High Note

Georgia Tech men’s basketball will look for win on Senior Night as James Banks III and Shembari Phillips play in their final game at McCamish Pavillion.

James Banks III and Shembari Phillips will finish out their careers at McCamish Pavillion on Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Jackets will play their final home game of the 2019-20 season on Wednesday night.

The game comes just two days after it was announced that the Yellow Jackets withdrew their appeal on NCAA sanctions and would be ineligible for the 2019-20 postseason. Following Wednesday night’s final home contest, the Jackets will just have one game remaining, on Friday against the Clemson Tigers.

But before turning their attention to the season finale on Friday, the Jackets will look to send Phillips and James Banks III out on a high note in their last game at McCamish Pavillion. For the Jackets, it will also be a revenge game.

The two teams last met on February 8 in Pittsburgh, a 73-64 Pittsburgh victory. In that game, ,the Yellow Jackets shot extremely well from the floor, shooting nearly 50% but defensively struggled to stop the Panthers which included allowing 45 second-half points. The Jackets in the game struggled to stop Pitt freshman guard Justin Champagnie who was absolutely unstoppable, scoring 30-points while bringing down nine-rebounds.

On Wednesday, the Jackets will need to a much better job of defending Champagnie. The good news for the Yellow Jackets is since his 30-point performance, the freshman hasn’t scored more than 13-points. That being said, he still has had five double-digit offensive performances in six opporunities since.

Additionally, since Pittsburgh picked that win up over the Yellow Jackets, they’ve dropped their last six games and now sit at 15-15 overall and 6-13 in ACC play. The Yellow Jackets, of course, are winners of six straight at home and four of their last five. The Jackets will have the opportunity to win their 10th conference game of the season against the Panthers as they sit at 9-9 in conference play and 15-14 overall. If the Jackets find that 10th victory, it will be their first time doing so since the 1995-96 season.

For the Yellow Jackets, the keys to victory on Wednesday are pretty much the same that they have been in the last few contests. First and foremost, they’ll need to get the most out of the dynamic duo of Jose Alvarado and Michael Devoe. Those two have been amazing to say the least over the last few weeks for the Jackets and if they both put in quality performances, it’s hard to seeing them lose.

Additionally, the Jackets will need to limit the turnovers and personal fouls. Countless times this season, the Jackets have struggled with turnovers and personal fouls and it’s cost them more than once. They’ve been lucky a few times as well but you play with fire and you’re likely to get burned. Finally, the Jackets will need to take advantage of free throws.

Overall, the consensus seems to be in favor of the Yellow Jackets for tonight’s game. ESPN’s BPI gives the Yellow Jackets a 72.6% chance of victory while Action Network’s odds have the Yellow Jackets as a 5.5-point favorite over the Panthers. 

Expect Phillips to most likely get more minutes tonight in his final game at McCamish Pavillion. The senior who transferred to Tech from Tennessee in 2017 has only averaged 5.5 minutes per game this season. While he may not have had the impact he hoped for on the Yellow Jackets, it would be shocking if Josh Pastner didn’t give Phillips more minutes on Wednesday especially with no postseason to play for.

James Banks III, on the other hand, has been a regular for the Yellow Jackets and will be hard to replace in the 2020-21 season. Entering Wednesday, he’s averaging 9.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

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Tip-off between the Yellow Jackets and Panthers are expected to tip-off on Wednesday night at 9:00 p.m.. Tech fans can watch the game via ACC Network Extra or listen to it via Wreck 91.1 FM.

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