GT-USC Basketball Report

Tech hoopsters will take a few days off this week as they prepare for finals. "We can use some time off (for finals) and then we'll get ready for the bulk of our schedule, " said Paul Hewitt.

While Coach Paul Hewitt was somewhat pleased with his team's performance in the lopsided 79-53 win over depleted USC, he remained focused on the need for his club to improve and for the bench to make greater contributions.

The initial questions following the game were about sophomore Iman Shumpert's medical issues, which will keep him off the court from 3-6 weeks. Hewitt was hopeful Shumpert's return would be closer to the early portion of the time line with his club entering the heart of their ACC schedule January 9th against Duke. Shumpert is recovering from arthoscopic knee surgery.

"He had an MRI after complaining of knee problems and so Thursday the doctor went in and cleaned it out," said Hewitt.

His absence meant the first start for freshman Brian Oliver who delivered a game high 18 with 4-8 three-point shooting in 23 minutes of play.

When asked what Shumpert's absence meant, Oliver and D'Andre Bell agreed that the team's depth made his absence less of an issue.

Coach Hewitt was not of the same opinion. He said , "Our bench has got to step up…bodies don't equal depth…production equals depth." He went on to say that he would cut the rotation (of players) if he didn't get more scoring from the non-starters. The bench contributed only four points to the first half team total of 40, all from Zach Peacock.

With an impressive showing with only one turnover by a starter and a total of seven, Coach said that taking better care of the ball makes the offense function much better.

"Once our passing improves…our shots and 3-pointers also improve," said Hewitt.

Southern Cal entered the contest 2-4. They are under NCAA investigation with only one new scholarship player after former Coach Tim Floyd resigned under a cloud of recruiting violation allegations. New Coach Kevin O'Neill lost seven signees with the coaching change and two returning players are scholastically ineligible.

Tech's next game is at UT-Chattanooga December 14. Top Stories