Tech takes on Utah in Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off – Men’s Basketball – Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Fort Myers, Fla. — Looking for its first 4-0 start since the 2008-09 season, Georgia Tech enters Power Conference competition this week with its appearance in the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off and an opening contest at 6 p.m. Monday night against Utah a the Pac-12 conference.

Tech is in the Beach Division of the Fort Myers Tip-Off with the states of Utes, Marquette and Mississippi. The Golden Eagles and Bulldogs meet Monday at 8:30 p.m. The Tech Utah winner meets the Marquatte-MSU winner for the championship Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. while the losers battle for third place at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday. The event will be held at the Suncoast Credit Union Arena on the Florida SouthWestern State College campus.

Tech has two dominant wins over Clayton State (93-63) and Northern Illinois (68-50) and a 59-57 last-second win at cross-town opponents Georgia State. The Yellow Jackets currently rank No. 2 in the ACC in scoring defense (56.7 points per game) while leading the conference in field goal percentage defense (33.5 percent) and three point defense percentage (18.3 percent).

Utah (3-1) won its first three games against Long Island University, Cal State-Bakersfield and Idaho State by averaging 27 points before a 65-55 decision at home to Sam Houston State on Thursday night. Like Tech, the Utes rank high in the same defensive categories in the Pac-12, first in scoring defense (53.8 ppg) and #2 in field goal percent defense (34.0 percent) and three-point defense ( 25.0 percent). .

The game will be broadcast nationally on FS1. Radio will be broadcast via Legends Sports’ Georgia Tech Sports Network and flagship station 680 the Fan (680 AM/93.7 FM) and satellite radio (SiriusXM channel 385, SXM app 975).


Georgia Tech has eight players who have put up significant playing time in this seventh season under head coach Josh Pastner in 2021-22 to replace strikes from Michael Devoe and Jordan Usher, who collectively averaged more than 32 points per game.

Among the top eight letter winners returning are two starters from the 2021-22 roster, both seniors in 6-3 point guard Kyle Sturdivant (7.6 ppg, 2.3 apg) and 6-11 center Rodney Howard (6.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg) as well as the backup point guard, 6-1 junior Devon Smith (5.7 ppg, 2.0 apg) and a rising trio of perimeter sophomores in 6-6 Dallan “Deebo” Coleman (6.2 ppg), 6-6 Miles Kelly (4.5 ppg) and 6-7 Jalon Moore (2.8 ppg). Junior 6-2 guard Tristan Maxwell and 6-8 junior forwards Jordan Meka return to provide additional depth.

Pastner and his staff bolstered the eight returns with two transfers in the 6-2 guard Lance Terry (14.3 ppg at Gardner-Webb) and 6-7 forward Yes’ from Franklin (12.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg in South Alabama) and signed two international players – 6-8 forwards – over the summer Freds Pauls Bagatskis from Latvia and 7-foot center Kirill Martynov from Canada.

Tech finished the 2021-22 season 12-20 overall, 5-15 ACC (14th in the ACC regular season standings), a year after winning the fourth conference title in program history.

The Yellow Jackets are aiming for their first 4-0 start since the 2008-09 season.


  • Utah – Georgia Tech and Utah have never faced each other in men’s basketball. The Utes will be the third Pac-12 opponent the Yellow Jackets face under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech lost to UCLA in China early in the 2017-18 season and to Southern California last December at the Jerry Colangelo Classic in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Marquette – Tech is 3-4 against Marquette after losing the last three meetings in the series, including a 72-70 decision, most recently at the 2014 Orlando Classic. The teams played in 1976 and 1977, the year the Golden Eagles won NCAA championships, games home and away, under Al McGuire. The teams met four times in preseason tournaments.
  • State of Mississippi – The teams haven’t met since 1975 and Tech leads the series 16-13. The first seven meetings took place when the teams were members of the old Southern Conference, with the Bulldogs winning five of the seven. The next 18 came when both teams were members of the Southeastern Conference, with the Yellow Jackets winning 11 of those. The Yellow Jackets have won three of the four meetings since leaving the SEC.


  • Tech is 3-0 up for the first time since the 2015-16 season and the first time in Josh Pastner’s seven seasons at The Flats. The Jackets have not started a season 4-0 since 2008-09 (that season ended 12-19).
  • Tech has started the same four-guard lineup in every game so far – Kyle Sturdivant, Deivon Smith, Lance Terry and Deebo Coleman around 6-11 center Rodney Howard.
  • Tech has used a nine-player rotation in each of his first three games. All nine scored points against Clayton State, while eight were recorded in the scoring column at Georgia State and all nine did so against Northern Illinois.
  • Tech scored a season-low nine points at the foul line against NIU after averaging 17 points in his first two games. The jackets have scored 21.3 percent of their points with the stripe, compared to 14.6 in 2021-22.
  • The Yellow Jackets currently rank No. 2 in the ACC in scoring defense (56.7 points per game) while leading the conference in field goal percentage defense (33.5 percent) and three point defense percentage (18.3 percent).
  • Tech ranks in the ACC’s top six in all rebound categories, sixth in rebound margin, first in defensive rebounds per game, and second in offensive rebounds per game.
  • Tech limited his first three enemies to 11 of 60 shots from three-point range (18.3 percent). The Jackets led the ACC and were fourth nationally before the NIU game.
  • Miles Kelly has had a three-point field goal in nine straight games dating back to Syracuse last Feb. 21. The game before that he went 0-1 in Pittsburgh. Over the course of eight games, he is 18-38 (47.4 percent).
  • Kelly has hit double digits for the sixth time in his career and in five straight games since last season’s regular season finale against Boston College. He has averaged 14.6 points in his last five games.
  • Kelly has hit 26 of 58 (44.8 percent) from three-point range in Tech’s last 16 games, dating back to Jan. 23 against Clayton State. He was 5-to-30 in the first 17 games on the Jackets last season.
  • Deivon Smith hit double digits for the second time in three games and fifth time in a Georgia Tech jersey against NIU. He finished a rebound behind his first career double-double and two behind his career best-of-11 last season against Wisconsin.
  • Smith matched his Georgia Tech high with six assists, matching the six he had against Clemson on Feb. 5.
  • Ja’von Franklin notched his first double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds) as a Yellow Jacket against NIU and the ninth of his career. He had eight last season in South Alabama.
  • Franklin leads the ACC in blocked shots (9 overall, 3.0 per game) after hitting five against NIU. That was the most blocked by a tech player since Moses Wright had a seven against Louisville on Feb. 1, 2020.

Sophomore Miles Kelly has averaged 14.6 points in his last five games. (Photo by Danny Karnik)

competition initiative

In a joint effort, Georgia Tech, the Georgia Tech Foundation, Georgia Tech Athletics and the Alexander-Tharpe Fund have joined forces to accelerate scholarship funding for students and athletes with the launch of the Competitive Drive Initiative. The initiative begins with the Accelerate GT Match Program, where every new donation to AT Fund’s Athletic Scholarship Fund made through December 31 will be matched dollar for dollar by the Georgia Tech Foundation up to $2.5 million . Should Accelerate GT reach its fundraising goal of $2.5 million, the gift would result in a $5 million impact to Georgia Tech Athletics. To learn more and contribute online, visit


The Georgia Tech men’s basketball team has completed six seasons under head coach Josh Pastner, won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 2021 and played in an NCAA tournament for the first time in 11 years. A member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, Tech has won four ACC championships (1985, 1990, 1993, 2021), played 17 times in the NCAA tournament, and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking or following their Facebook page Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram. For more information on tech basketball, visit