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Georgia Tech Basketball: Bethune Cookman Preview

Georgia Tech looks to get back on track at home against Bethune Cookman on Sunday evening

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


Georgia Tech faces off with Bethune-Cookman Sunday evening as they look to get back on track after a heartbreaking buzzer beating 3-point bank shot that handed Tech a 62-61 loss against Arkansas. The Wildcats hold a 5-2 record this season, but suffered a 35 point loss against Texas Tech, the only Power 5 opponent they have played. Head coach Ryan Riddler’s squad will come to Atlanta on a 4 game win streak and is looking to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Bethune-Cookman was picked to finish second in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference to North Carolina Central. However, the Wildcats had more first place votes and trailed North Carolina Central by 3 points (192 vs 189).

NCAA Basketball: Bethune-Cookman at Texas Tech
Bethune-Cookman Wildcats forward Cletrell Pope (10) takes a shot over Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Davide Moretti (22)
Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Key Players

Cletrell Pope
Pope anchors the paint for the Wildcats and is a double-double machine. He averaged a double-double in 2018-2019 and is averaging 13.7 points and 12.6 rebounds this season. Pope also leads Bethune-Cookman on the defensive end of the floor as he was the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2019. As for this season, the senior big was named the preseason MEAC Player of the Year.

Isaiah Bailey
Bailey is Bethune Cookman’s leading scorer at 13.9 points per game. He is a slasher that gets to the line early and often as he attempts almost 8 FTs per game. Tech will want to avoid fouling him since he shoots at a 82% clip from the FT line.

Leon Redd
Redd is a volume 3-point shooter. He attempts 4.3 3-pointers per game, but is only making 20% of them. For his career he is just a 27.4% 3-point shooter. He probably shouldn’t shoot the deep ball as much as he does, but in typical Tech fashion, expect him to be hot on Sunday night.

Joe French
French is an electric freshman guard who provides a spark to Riddler’s squad off the bench. He’s been lighting up the scoreboard despite only playing 18.7 minutes per game. French has been their best 3-point shooter, making 2.3 per game at a 48.5% clip.

NCAA Basketball: Bethune-Cookman at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Statistical Overview


  • Rebounding: 41.3 per game (46th in the country)
  • Steals: 9 per game (27th in the country)
  • 3PT% Allowed: 27.7% (55th in the country)
  • Turnovers Forced: 17.9 per game (22nd in the country)


  • 3PT%: 31.3% (242nd in the country)
  • Turnovers: 18 per game (343rd in the country)
  • Personal Fouls: 20.3 per game (321st in the country)
  • Assist to Turnover Ratio: 0.8 (257th in the country)


Given how the last two games unfolded for the Jackets, this is a must win. Coach Pastner has said before in his press conferences that he worries about games like this due to lack of focus. In recent memory, the Jackets have fallen to a non-Power 5 team around finals week: Gardner-Webb in 2018, Grambling in 2017, Wright St in 2017, and East Tennessee St in 2015. However, I believe there will be laser focus for this game to avoid a 3rd consecutive loss. If the Jackets were rolling and undefeated (something that would be reality if a couple of bounces went their way), I would be more worried. Georgia Tech’s defense should give the Wildcats fits and exacerbate their turnover problem. On the offensive end, I expect GT to play James Banks in the high post. This will get Cletrell Pope out of the paint and open up driving lanes for Michael Devoe and Bubba Parham. Overall, I’ll take the Jackets to win by 17: 70-53.

Come support your Jackets in McCamish on Sunday at 6pm!
Also available to watch on Fox Sports South and other RSN Affiliates