Georgia Tech chases its first 3-0 start under coach Josh Pastner when the Yellow Jackets host Northern Illinois on Thursday in Atlanta.

Georgia Tech survived a scare on Saturday and beat in-town rival Georgia State 59-57 on a basket with 4.1 seconds left to reach 2-0. Northern Illinois (1-2) picked up its first win of the season on Monday. The Huskies blasted Purdue-Northwest 99-73.

After graduating its two top scorers from last year’s team – Michael Devoe and Jordan Usher — Georgia Tech is still charting its course. The Yellow Jackets have eight returning letter winners and pair of transfers who have contributed the first two games. No returning player averaged double digits.

In the opener it was 6-foot-11 Rodney Howard came up with a double-double. Against Georgia State, sophomores Deebo Coleman and Miles Kelly were the main producers, with Kelly scoring the game-winner at the end.

“I love our team. We’re different than what we’ve had in the past, so it’s going to be different guys night after night that could step up and contribute for us. As I’ve said from the beginning, the star of the team is the team,” Pastner said. “We don’t have one individual, it’s the team. (Coleman and Kelly) were the ones who made the big plays (against Georgia State), especially defensively down the stretch.”

Northern Illinois was picked by coaches to finish last in the Mid-American Conference this season. The Huskies are led by Keshawn Williams, who averages 18.7 points and 4.7 rebounds, and David Coit, who averages 17. Zarique Nutter scored a season-high 20 points in the win.

“The guys went out and showed who we are as a program and who they are as a team,” NIU coach Rashon Burno said. “We had a really good Sunday (practice) where we just focused on ourselves and we knew that we would have a breakthrough.”

–Field Level Media